Tomorrow, IDW publish the first issue of a three-part Star Trek Into Darkness comic book series. The book is co-written by Bob Orci, one of the writers on the film, and it will set up some fun bits of backstory for us.
Including, it seems, the identity of the chief bad guy. His true identity.
Benedict Cumberbatch is playing this villain in the film, a character that has been officially called John Harrison. That name alone set fire to one previous theory as to what’s going on – a good theory, I think, not least because it allowed for the inclusion of Khan.
But not many have been satisfied by the Harrison name. It’s largely down to a comment Bob Orci made a good few months back now that the film’s villain wasn’t an original creation, but somebody from the recesses of Trek lore.
Well, I think the character may turn up at the end of the first issue of the IDW comic. And I think he may introduce himself. By name. And it isn’t John Harrison.
Here’s part of the last page, a big splash. After this, I’ll explain how on Earth this might be the Cumberbatch character, and why I’m increasingly convinced that it is.
Robert April first appeared in an episode of the animated Trek series called The Counter-Clock Incident. I’m told that animated Trek isn’t canon, but nonetheless, April’s name then popped up in various other places that were.
In tie-in novels, he was even revealed to be British – like Cumberbatch, and as far as we can tell, his character in the film.
One big clue is the weapon we see Cumberbatch using in the trailer. It’s a bloody big gun – and while it might not be a smoking one, it certainly adds some firepower to the evidence.
During his visit to the Bad Robot offices, Hit Fix‘s Drew McWeeny saw this same gun in a big book of production art. It was labelled April’s Gatling Gun. Not because they had a gun for every month of the year, but because it belonged to April.
But if Benedict Cumberbatch really is playing Robert April, why doesn’t the Robert April in the comic look like Benedict Cumberbatch?
First of all, bear in mind that David Messina’s art is interpretive, not photo realistic. His Kirk doesn’t look exactly like Chris Pine, either.
And then, if we go back to April’s original appearance in the animated show, there’s more. It’s complicated, but in essence, the story features characters ageing backwards. Could that mechanic be part of his story here too? Is he going to get younger in time for the movie?
If so, and if he has somehow gotten a degree of control over this de-ageing, then I can see why he’s of use to the parents of the young dying girl in the Into Darkness opening scenes. If she’s got something degenerative, he can likely reverse it.
It’s also worth noting that April was a Starfleet Commander and the first captain of the Enterprise. This matches both the costume and behaviour of Cumberbatch in the trailer.
April lost the seat of the Enterprise to Captain Pike, so I can see that they might have some powerful scenes together. Also, the rumours about Pike being liberated from his wheelchair might play into their relationship, with April using his de-ageing technique, whatever it is, to get Pike back on his feet.
Also see the promo image at the head of the post, putting Cumberbatch and Pine opposite each other, like reflections of one another, dark and light. The captain that came before Pike, the one that came after…
Now, we don’t know any of this for sure – only that the first Into Darkness comic ends on a humdinger of a tease. I do have a little suspicion that we’re being played and whatever we learn in the next issue will drive a truck right through the middle of this theory, but for now… for now it feels good.