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Secrecy Of Khan's 'Into Darkness' Role A Misstep?

UPDATED: Cumberbatch responds to J.J. Abrams' thoughts on the mystery behind the film's notorious villain

"Star Trek: Into Darkness" director J.J. Abrams is expressing doubts about the necessity for the veil of secrecy that surrounded Khan’s presence in the sequel.

Played by Benedict Cumberbatch, Khan became the subject of relentless speculation before the film’s release. Paramount Pictures chose to stoke that mystery, fearful of alienating audience members unfamiliar with Star Trek lore, according to Abrams.

"The truth is I think it probably would have been smarter just to say upfront, 'This is who it is,'" Abrams recently told MTV News. “It was only trying to preserve the fun of it, and it might have given more time to acclimate and accept that's what the thing was."

Khan Noonien Singh originally appeared in the 1967 episode "Space Seed," which aired during "Star Trek's" first season. The villain, played by Ricardo Montalban, famously returned in 1982's "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan."

"The truth is because it was so important to the studio that we not angle this thing for existing fans," Abrams explained. "If we said it was Khan, it would feel like you've really got to know what 'Star Trek' is about to see this movie. That would have been limiting.

"I can understand their argument to try to keep that quiet, but I do wonder if it would have seemed a little bit less like an attempt at deception if we had just come out with it."

During an interview earlier this week, Cumberbatch responded to Abrams’ thoughts on Khan's secrecy.

“I don’t know if it was a bad or a good thing ... the intention was to have a reveal in the audience that was going to be thrilling," Cumberbatch told IGN. "That worked to an extent.

“Not everybody knew what they were in for when they went into the theater ... for those people, I would say it was a good thing. ... There was a verbal and physical reaction to it ... so it kind of works.”

Abrams, who is taking on directing duties for "Star Wars: Episode VII," also touched on the recent rumor that Joe Cornish will helm "Star Trek 3."

"I don't know if Joe Cornish is the guy,” said Abrams, who will remain aboard the sequel as a producer. “My guess is that's up in the air. I adore him and love him and can't wait to see what he does next. Hopefully it will be 'Star Trek.' Whatever it is, he's brilliant. 'Attack the Block' was one of my favorite movies of the year when it came out."

Meanwhile, Simon Pegg, who plays Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, is indicating a filming location for the third movie could already be set.

“There's a lot of big productions in the U.K. next year -- 'Star Wars,' 'The Avengers,' 'Mission,'" Pegg told BBC America. “I think maybe even 'Star Trek 3'; there's talk of it shooting here.”

"Star Trek: Into Darkness" grossed more than $467 million worldwide following its debut May 16, and it became the highest-grossing film of the Star Trek franchise.

Based on a screenplay by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof, the film follows the crew of the USS Enterprise as they confront an unstoppable force of terror from within Starfleet. It stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Cumberbatch, Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Peter Weller, Alice Eve, Bruce Greenwood.

About the Author
Bryant L. Griffin is managing editor for 1701News and Airlock Alpha. He works at a major-metro newspaper and served as a journalist in the U.S. Army. In 2002, he joined Nexus Media Group Inc., contributing to many early design concepts before shifting his focus back to writing. Bryant hails from Tampa, Fla. Email author