Benedict Cumberbatch Claims He’s Not Playing Khan in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

     December 13, 2012


When it comes to Star Trek Into Darkness, the policy is to avoid the truth about the plot.  When asked about the plot, play coy.  If playing coy doesn’t work, obfuscate.  And if obfuscation doesn’t work, then I imagine outright lying is on the table.  We saw it before when Marion Cotillard said she wasn’t playing a bad guy in The Dark Knight Rises.  I understand filmmakers want to preserve a sense of mystery in the spoiler-heavy world of online movie news, but it’s difficult to believe that Benedict Cumberbatch is just playing a guy named “John Harrison” and not Khan.  But that’s what Cumberbatch said in a recent interview, commenting: “I play a character called John and not that other name.  It’s interesting. Speculation is speculation and that’s all fun.”

Hey, it’s the engine that runs news on blockbuster movies.  Hit the jump for more.  Star Trek Into Darkness opens in 3D on May 17, 2013.

Speaking to Access Hollywood, Cumberbatch had this to say about his character:

“I play John Harrison who’s a terrorist and an extraordinary character in his own right,” the Brit said. “He’s somebody who is not your two-dimensional cookie cutter villain. He’s got an extraordinary purpose, and I hope that at one point or other in the film you might even sympathize with the reasons he’s doing what he’s doing — not necessarily the means and the destruction he causes. But it was a great ride, not just because he’s the bad guy and the antagonist but also because he has a purpose and it’s hard not to see his point of view at certain points.”

So it’s the sympathetic villain that actors are always eager to play.  Then again, Nero was supposed to be a “sympathetic villain” (his planet was destroyed!), but no one cared.  But the first Star Trek was more about establishing the crew of the Enterprise than the villain.  Now that the crew is set up, the antagonist will likely get more screen time.


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  • Matt

    the villain was one of the disappointing parts of the first film but cumberbatch is excellent so looking forward to whatever character he is.

    • Aix

      It was like yeah, our villain sucks in the first one?! Fine! Here is Benedict Cumberbatch!

  • Dante

    There’s no way this isn’t Khan

    • the inferno

      unless it’s gary mitchell

  • EternalFootman

    Looking at the photo that was published yesterday, I was wondering why Khan would be in a Star Fleet uniform… I mean, I can think of several reasons that you could come up with in the script, but it doesn’t make sense story-wise. Maybe the villain really ISN’T Khan…?

    I also saw an interview with Chris Pine where he stated that these movies are about the crew of the enterprise growing up, and learning to be the full adults that we saw in the original series. IF (and it’s a big “if”) Abrams wants to be true to that, then Wrath of Kahn isn’t even close to happening yet… And yet the introduction of certain characters that were in Khan leads me to think otherwise!

    Either way, it’s genius marketing!

    • schoolfigures

      At this point I’m not sure what to believe but Khan is in a Starfleet uniform in SPACE SEED for a few scenes during that episode AND is still wearing one when he is thrown into lockdown by Kirk.

    • brNdon

      There are a million possibilities as to why Khan would be wearing a starfleet uniform. Did you watch the Skyfall trailer and say to yourself, “Javier Bardem can’t be the villain, he has a policeman’s uniform on?”

      • EternalFootman

        I understand your point, and agree… Except that there never was any debate about Javier’s character in Skyfall, was there? No major history of the character to debate, no legacy to worry about… And no alternate universe to play with.

        Here, I just find it interesting that we see a lot of shots of our mysterious bad guy in a SF uniform. It’s more about what they want to release, what they WANT us to see.

        But knowing Abrams, he’s showing us these shots just to get us all riled up, which is why it’s genius, no matter what or who the bad guy is.

        I mean, if he put the guy in a deep red fancy jumpsuit, and a nice pony tail, there wouldn’t be any fun in it, would there?

    • Lexavi80

      Finally someone with sense!

      The villain is NOT Khan! Is impossible for him to be Khan!

      Khan is not a Star Fleet cadet nor he’s white!

      • EternalFootman

        The racial issue is another one I had thought of when I first heard that there was even the possibility of the bad guy being Khan. I mean, I love B.C. and I have confidence he’ll knock it out of the park, no matter what, but that does worry me a bit.

    • Shaun

      I’ve said this before… Go back and watch “Space Seed.” Khan wears a Starfleet uniform for awhile on board the Enterprise.

      That doesn’t mean it’s Khan in the movie, just that the whole “Why would Khan be in a Starfleet uniform question” is meaningless.

      Besides, we don’t know what the plot is yet. There may be a perfectly good reason for it, whether he’s Khan or not.

  • tarek

    I did an exhaustive research and I found out that this man couldn’t be Cumberbatch, ’cause we don’t see his veins pattern through the glass.

  • Masshuu il Thulcandra

    I still don’t understand why so-called fans want repeat villains, it makes no sense. Been there done that. If it turns out to be a rehash, Khan or Gary Mitchell I won’t bother to see it as it would be a waste of time no matter how good it is otherwise. Fickle fans.

    • Steve

      Precisely. But then, I don’t understand why every Star Trek movie needs a super villain at all. The TV series managed to tell great stories without the need for an arch nemesis of the week. You were more likely to see alien races as the adversaries, than a megalomaniac. A good example of this was the TNG episode The Chase, which would have made an exciting movie. I realize that a movie must function differently than a TV series, but my complaint about many of the TNG movies was that they felt more like TV episodes than epic films. And they tried using a super villain in each one too with the exception perhaps of First Contact, which at least tried to utilize the Borg race at least as much as it did its central villain The Queen.

  • Janeails22x

    You’re assuming he is talking about Khan. He did not say “i am not playing Khan.”. He said “I am playing a character called John Harrison, and not that other name.”

    Could ‘the other name ‘ be referring to Gary Mitchell?? It’s possible, and therefore may not be lying.

  • Jamesy

    He’s playing Sherlock Holmes, in a Trek/Holmes crossover…

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  • wacko3205

    Can’t wait for this….so psyched with Cumberbitch that I cud scream.

    He’s a hellacious actor & has a bright future ahead of him.

  • Alan

    I have no idea what Goldberg’s problem is: why shouldn’t the filmmakers hide as much material as they can until the film hits theaters. Don’t you want to be surprised?

  • Javelina

    The costume references and the thematic references of the tralier are too much for this not to be related to Khan in some way. But I haven’t heard anybody consider that Cumberbatch could be one of Khan’s crewmates. Everybody on the Botany Bay was an enhanced human and could therefore be a threat to Earth if rediscovered. When the Enterprise discovers the Botany Bay, some of the hibernating crew members don’t survive. So… in an alternate timeline, Khan dies in his hibernation, and one of his followers takes over, infiltrates Starfleet, and leads the crew to seek revenge on earth.

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  • Jason

    What if he’s Q or Trelane?