In a move I find personally quite gratifying, director JJ Abrams has admitted that his decision to…well, LIE about Benedict Cumberbatch‘s identity as Star Trek villain Khan Noonien-Singh (and to instruct the screenwriters and performers to do the same) was, perhaps, in error.
The Star Trek: Into Darkness director spoke to MTV saying (in part) that it:
probably would have been smarter just to say upfront
Read the full quote and watch a clip of the interview after the jump.
Originally, Abrams defended his decision by basically explaining that the audience should learn the identity of the film’s villain at the same time the other characters–and I guess there’s some logic there.
This is how he sees the matter after a few months of reflection:
The truth is I think it probably would have been smarter just to say upfront ‘This is who it is.’ 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. The truth is because it was so important to the studio that we not angle this thing for existing fans. 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,” he said. “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.
MY issue was they didn’t simply keep the identity of Cumberbatch’s character secret–I would have had no issue with that.
No, they told us he was someone else altogether, and went to absurd lengths to protect this bald-faced lie.
I have to be honest, I made something of a fool of myself in a discussion on Tumblr right after Into Darkness was released–because I trusted Abrams, and thus defended the position that Cumberbatch was NOT Khan…
I found out the truth in a rather publicly embarrassing manner (well, as public as Tumblr is). So I appreciate Abrams’ apology, even if it wasn’t directed at me 🙂