The best theory I’ve heard as to what’s going on with the mysterious “villain” situation in Star Trek Into Darkness is a real corker. I first picked up the threads in the forums of this very site then had some real world conversations with Trek buffs who were able to flesh it out a little.
Thinking about it for the last few days, I’ve convinced myself there’s a good chance it’s at least close to the truth. Even if it isn’t, it’s a lot of fun.
Okay, here were the jigsaw pieces we had to play with and wanted to fit together.
- Early trade reports said that Khan was the villain in the film
- Benedict Cumberbatch doesn’t much look like Khan as we know him
- Cumberbatch has been officially named as John Harrison
- There are still some big name cast members in roles we know nothing about
- This new timeline is diverging from the old Trek timeline – it will be the same in some respects, but can branch off in new directions
This theory pulls all of these bits and bobs together into something that at least seems coherent.
So let’s assume Cumberbatch is playing John Harrison and it isn’t an alias of some kind. This could very well be the character Harrison from the show – he was never given a first name, but we did see him an awful lot.
Amongst several other story lines, Harrison did appear in the episode Space Seed, the first appearance of Khan. They were in the same room at this point, I’ve been told.
So what if they came into contact? What if Khan recruited Harrison at this point?
In the original series, Khan was a genetically engineered augment with better physical faculties and greater than normal intelligence. It would seem, from the trailer, that Cumberbatch’s character meets this description. Is it possible that he has, somehow after the effect, been improved or modified by Khan? That Khan has rewritten his DNA to make him tougher and smarter and faster?
This would make John Harrison into something like a Star Trek version of Jonathan, the Buffy background character who came into the spotlight after getting his abilities hugely boosted.
The best evidence for a kind of modification or genetic improvement element to the story comes in the nine minute IMAX prologue that will play with some screenings of The Hobbit from tomorrow. At the very beginning we see the parents of a sick child in a hospital. They are approached by Cumberbatch’s character who says he can help.
How? Well, how about some kind of gene therapy? The very kind that has enhanced him, under Khan’s administration?
This could make Harrison into a most interesting character. He’d be wanting to save and help and affect the lives of many by carrying out this gene therapy… but it would also come with the side effects that have made him lose his grip on morality a little.
Peter Weller is in this film somewhere, said to be playing a CEO. Why isn’t he in the marketing material? Because he looks like Khan, maybe? And that would be, perhaps, because he is Khan.
Khan masquerading as a CEO maybe. The CEO of some kind genetic enhancement or medical company. Or maybe the story that he’s playing a CEO was a mistake or misinformation?
There’s an apparent flaw to this theory in that it requires the storyline of Space Seed to have happened already before this film has started.
Well, maybe it has. Maybe they would be so bold as to do that.
And maybe – just maybe – one reason it doesn’t need to play out on screen is that the Botany Bay and its cargo, Khan and all, weren’t discovered by The Enterprise. Not in this timeline. Maybe another Federation ship went there instead… maybe Space Seed happened to a different set of characters while our lot were, one beat of a butterfly’s wings away, on an adventure of their own.
You can fill in the gaps for yourself, I’m sure.
It’s just a theory, but it seems to tie a lot of the elements together. It certainly explains why we haven’t been seeing Peter Weller in the marketing material.
Even if it doesn’t all pan out like this, I’m thinking there’s a very good chance that John Harrison is the same character as the original series’ Harrison and also that Weller is Khan.
It might be some time until we find out for sure, though…