I will admit it: I was scared of J.J. Abrams doing Star Trek. I was afraid he would distort it in his attempt to modernize it, neuter it in his attempt to revitalize it, and lobotomize it in his attempt to add more action. While it still may be argued whether or not he did these things, I can now say I mostly like what he’s done with the franchise.
My reticence to accept Abrams’ reiteration carried over when speculation about the sequel began. As people clamored for “Wrath of Khan” to be remade, I staunchly resisted such thoughts. How can Ricardo Montalban’s masterful portrayal be out done? Then I realized something…
This new Star Trek universe, an alternate reality if you will, is essentially one big game of “What If”. What if Kirk and Spock were rivals, instead of friends? What if the planet Vulcan were destroyed? What if Uhura finally got to have some Vulcan green-blooded goodness? More importantly, what if ,despite everything being different, certain meetings were a temporal absolute no matter the circumstances?
Of course, I am referring to the ongoing John Harrison/Khan debate. For the longest time I was sure John Harrison was some form of Gary Mitchell, the psychic menace who challenged Kirk in the second pilot episode. As big a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch as I am (yay Sherlock!), he’s not Sikh superman material. But, what if?
What if he were?
While we have yet to discover who John Harrison really is, and everyone is denying the hell out of him being Khan, I am reminded by another denial which was relevant to the plot of a film. Marion Cotillard also refused to admit her character’s true identity (which I had guessed) in “The Dark Knight Rises”. This obfuscation was meant to preserve some element of surprise pertaining to a plot twist, but I wasn’t convinced and I enjoyed the revelation all the same.
Knowing that, are we really to believe in the attempts to misdirect us? Are we being carefully veered away from something in order intensify a surprising turn of plot? Unlike with “The Dark Knight Rises”, my conviction on this case is admittedly lacking. There is, however, some evidence that is striking in its implications:
John Harrison was a crewmember aboard the Enterprise in the Original Series, and he was involved with the Khan debacle in the episode “Space Seed”. It is also noted during the episode that of the 84 in suspended-animation aboard Khan’s ship the Botany Bay, only 72 survived.
I’m not saying he is Khan, but I am tired of fighting against that theory. John Harrison is clearly related somehow. No matter how much the magnificent Benedict Cumberbatch (cumbersome name to type) is not the menacing Ricardo Montalban, I will be interested to see how the “What If” scenarios unravel in Star Trek Into Darkness.
72… Remember that and watch.