Illustration for article titled Damon Lindelof Admits Keeping Khans Identity a Secret In iInto Darkness/i Was a Bad Idea

Star Trek Into Darkness had plenty of unfortunate flaws, but if there’s one thing that it’s still mocked for, it’s how the production team approached keeping the identity of Benedict Cumberbatch’s villain away from moviegoers. Two years after the film came out, they’re finally starting to admit that was a mistake.


Speaking to Variety about his current show, the HBO series The Leftovers, Damon Lindelof—who helped write Into Darkness’ script—admitted that the team’s steadfast refusal to acknowledge that Cumberbatch was playing the iconic villain Khan Noonien Singh (they instead billed him as “John Harrison”) fell flat:

When we did Star Trek Into Darkness for example, we decided that we weren’t going to tell people that Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Khan. And that was a mistake, because the audience was like, ‘We know he’s playing Khan.’ That was why it was a mistake.


Mainly because a) Everyone guessed that Cumberbatch was Khan from pretty much the moment he was cast in the film, b) It was obvious from the moment Into Darkness started re-hashing the plot of The Wrath of Khan who he was, and c) because even the movie itself didn’t treat the Khan reveal as a huge moment that could be ruined by a “spoiler”—it acknowledged it and swiftly moved on.

While it was obvious from the get-go that it was a bad idea—and the mocking that goes on even today kind of proves that—it’s still refreshing to see the creative team behind the film actually acknowledge some of the film’s problems, between this and JJ Abram’s recent admittance that the film leaned a little to hard into its homage to Wrath of Khan.

Hopefully this means the team behind Star Trek Beyond is eager to avoid similar pitfalls in the future of the movie franchise. Just be extra vigilant for anyone credited on the cast list as “Harrison!”

[Via The Mary Sue]


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