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Damon Lindelof cops to Star Trek Into Darkness' Khan blunder

11.30.2015

Apologizing for the mistakes of STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS apparently is in vogue lately. First J.J. Abrams admitted that he may have used a few too many WRATH OF KHAN nods in crafting his sequel. Now Damon Lindelof is getting in on the action, copping to one of the problems fans always seem to take issue with - the Khan reveal itself.

In an interview with Variety, Lindelof explains that they should have been upfront with the fandom as to who Benedict Cumberbatch was going to be playing rather than trying to keep it hidden in the mystery box.

When we did STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS for example, we decided that we weren’t going to tell people that Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Khan. And that was a mistake, because the audience was like, ‘We know he’s playing Khan.’ That was why it was a mistake. But J.J. [Abrams] is telling us nothing about the new Star Wars movie and we love it. I’ve not come across a single person who’s like, ‘I wish I knew a little bit more.’ We are like, ‘Thank God he’s protecting us from all the things that will be revealed in the movie theater.’

The Khan secret was such a weird situation for Abrams to mishandle that badly for a number of reasons. First off, everyone had pretty much pegged Cumberbatch as the character, and yet Abrams (and eevryone else associated with the film) continued to deny, lying to the fan base for really no reason whatsoever. When you take a look at the film, it's not as if that Khan revelation means much. For longtime fans of the series, it's a nice nod that they might squeal about for a second before moving on with the rest of the movie since they kind of knew already - this was simply their confirmation. And for new fans of Abrams' version of STAR TREK, the Khan name didn't really mean much. There was no weight put into Cumberbatch to make that identity feel important at all, so Khan was simply another name, not someone with a lot of history behind him in STAR TREK canon.

Secondly, it was, as Lindelof said, mystery for mystery's sake. It was a secret that existed solely for the purpose of having a secret. Khan being revealed has as much bearing on how INTO DARKNESS plays out as it would have if we knew Cumberbatch's true nature the entire film.

As this all relates back to STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, there's a difference between shielding audiences from knowing too much in advance when they know nothing as it is going in and trying to maintain some manufactured mystery with no real point to it. Hollywood has taken to giving way a lot away in advance of people seeing the finished product as a paying customer, and it's refreshing when someone like Abrams or Nolan try to keep some of the magic intact that comes with seeing a film unfold on the screen in front of you. If only we got more of that when it was actually warranted... and not these attempted swerves just to swerve.

Lindelof also comments on the superb season of THE LEFTOVERS that's going on right now, and what he learned about crafting such mysteries from his experiences with LOST and also INTO DARKNESS. Lindelof is an easy target for some of his past shortcomings, but it's nice to see that some can learn from their mistakes to make something excellent that doesn't hit similar pitfalls.

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Source: Variety

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9:42AM on 12/02/2015
Go fuck yourself, everyone who had anything to do with producing these shit-stain movies.
Go fuck yourself, everyone who had anything to do with producing these shit-stain movies.
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9:38AM on 12/01/2015
I found the problem with the reveal/secret is that Abrams was not a fan of Star Trek growing up. He had a passing familiarity with the movies. So his only knowledge of the character came from The Wrath of Khan, which on it's own doesn't capture the significance of the character. But it's the one Star Trek movie that everyone says is their favourite. So it seems like he tried to adapt that character/plot as lip service to fans, but just bungled it since he had no intricate knowledge of why
I found the problem with the reveal/secret is that Abrams was not a fan of Star Trek growing up. He had a passing familiarity with the movies. So his only knowledge of the character came from The Wrath of Khan, which on it's own doesn't capture the significance of the character. But it's the one Star Trek movie that everyone says is their favourite. So it seems like he tried to adapt that character/plot as lip service to fans, but just bungled it since he had no intricate knowledge of why the character was so important.

They should have done 1 of 2 things: (1) Introduced Cumberbatch as Khan from the get-go. And let the mystery as to his past and motives reveal themselves over the course of the movie, or (2) In acts 1 and 2 of the movie, build up Khan as this myth floating around the federation. John Harrison seems interested in getting his hands on the project/research that created Khan and Kirk & co. are trying to stop him. But in act 3 it's revealed that he actually is Khan and he's trying to get the rest of his people freed from the federation.
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+1
7:12AM on 12/01/2015

I don't really care...

Has anyone else noticed that, more often than not, when a filmmaker denies a rumor it ends up being true? They don't seem to take the time to deny a bunch of the false rumors... "It looks like Kirk may die?" Well, you'll have to wait and see. "Is it true William Shatner will cameo in this one?" I wouldn't want to spoil that if he did, would I. "Is Benedict playing Khan?" What!?! No! Are people thinking that? We need to put together a press release denying this, right now!
Has anyone else noticed that, more often than not, when a filmmaker denies a rumor it ends up being true? They don't seem to take the time to deny a bunch of the false rumors... "It looks like Kirk may die?" Well, you'll have to wait and see. "Is it true William Shatner will cameo in this one?" I wouldn't want to spoil that if he did, would I. "Is Benedict playing Khan?" What!?! No! Are people thinking that? We need to put together a press release denying this, right now!
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10:24PM on 11/30/2015
The problem wasn't so much the secret, but the very idea of using Khan again. It makes Into Darkness feel like a semi-reboot of wrath of khan, instead of it's own film. I still think Into Darkness is a good film, but I think a more original idea would have been better than trying to do a twist on a classic.
The problem wasn't so much the secret, but the very idea of using Khan again. It makes Into Darkness feel like a semi-reboot of wrath of khan, instead of it's own film. I still think Into Darkness is a good film, but I think a more original idea would have been better than trying to do a twist on a classic.
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9:44PM on 11/30/2015

It was obvious

but I enjoyed the movie. I am pulling for Idris Elba to kick ass like he is being hyped
but I enjoyed the movie. I am pulling for Idris Elba to kick ass like he is being hyped
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9:06PM on 11/30/2015
I didn't mind the twist or the speculation of it leading to the film's release, but I can understand why some people (more of the Star Trek die hard fans) felt pissed over it.
I didn't mind the twist or the speculation of it leading to the film's release, but I can understand why some people (more of the Star Trek die hard fans) felt pissed over it.
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8:55PM on 11/30/2015
I would have preferred that he wasn't named Khan. The story didn't seem to justify why they need this guy to be called Khan besides to try and shoehorn a reversed version of an iconic scene. There's also the fact that Cumberbatch (nor Ricardo Montalban, for that matter) look nothing like a man of Indian descent.
I would have preferred that he wasn't named Khan. The story didn't seem to justify why they need this guy to be called Khan besides to try and shoehorn a reversed version of an iconic scene. There's also the fact that Cumberbatch (nor Ricardo Montalban, for that matter) look nothing like a man of Indian descent.
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6:36PM on 11/30/2015

Kinda sick of filmmakers trying to save face to 90% of certain pissy fans by "admitting" they "screwed up".

Dude, man the fuck up & have faith in what you achieved.

True, not 100% of fans are going to enjoy what product you & your team may introduce (esp. in a sequel...esp in a TREK sequel)...but current creative circumstances gave the filmmakers the best knowledge, cast, etc to work w/ @ the time. Quit pussing out & stand by your fucking creation. 'So what' if the majority didn't "feel" surprised @ the twist or compelled to share critical acclaim as they did w/ the 2009 previous entry.
Dude, man the fuck up & have faith in what you achieved.

True, not 100% of fans are going to enjoy what product you & your team may introduce (esp. in a sequel...esp in a TREK sequel)...but current creative circumstances gave the filmmakers the best knowledge, cast, etc to work w/ @ the time. Quit pussing out & stand by your fucking creation. 'So what' if the majority didn't "feel" surprised @ the twist or compelled to share critical acclaim as they did w/ the 2009 previous entry.

This is still one of the main problems w/ fans that pisses me off. All those whiners who still like to talk shit about the ending of Lindelof's "LOST" simply because it didn't solve every mystery. If the mysteries were the ONLY reason you were watching the show...them I'm sorry dickspash but you *REEEALLY* missed out.

"Into Darkness" , in my opinion, was an awesome flick. (I *DO* understand where people are coming from when they say it isn't...I just don't agree) I also love all 3 Star Wars Prequels. Batman & Robin is a guilty pleasure...& LOST IN SPACE is in my top 10.

There...I fucking said it. I'm an equal opportunity fanboy & a personification of JoBlo's Unpopular Opinion feature.
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11:39PM on 11/30/2015
In general I agree with you. This instance may be about making peace with a fanbase (Trek and Abrams, and possibly even Lindelof fanbases if he has one) than it is about backpedaling on past mistakes. But the trend in general is a bit annoying and counterproductive, I think.
In general I agree with you. This instance may be about making peace with a fanbase (Trek and Abrams, and possibly even Lindelof fanbases if he has one) than it is about backpedaling on past mistakes. But the trend in general is a bit annoying and counterproductive, I think.
6:29PM on 11/30/2015

Get over it....

Are we still talking about this? Why didn't JJ tell us? Who cares??! Watch the goddamn movie and judge the FILM not the promotion of it. If you didn't like it because JJ withheld an obvious twist then you're a butt hurt fanboy. If you didn't like it for legitimate criticisms, that's another story.
Are we still talking about this? Why didn't JJ tell us? Who cares??! Watch the goddamn movie and judge the FILM not the promotion of it. If you didn't like it because JJ withheld an obvious twist then you're a butt hurt fanboy. If you didn't like it for legitimate criticisms, that's another story.
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8:47PM on 11/30/2015
They hid it because it was a "twist", which makes sense. I think the real problem was that they made it a twist, or considered a twist to begin with. A character's name shouldn't be a twist when that name doesn't mean anything to the current universe or protagonists. That's basically the same as hiding the identities of Spock or Kirk.
They hid it because it was a "twist", which makes sense. I think the real problem was that they made it a twist, or considered a twist to begin with. A character's name shouldn't be a twist when that name doesn't mean anything to the current universe or protagonists. That's basically the same as hiding the identities of Spock or Kirk.
6:06PM on 11/30/2015

The Khan twist was just one of many issues

Into Darkness suffered from too many homages to Wrath of Khan and a lack of excitement.
Into Darkness suffered from too many homages to Wrath of Khan and a lack of excitement.
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5:59PM on 11/30/2015

Stop apologizing

I admire them for at least trying to keep secrets in their films. Almost every film is spoiled by trailers these days, so I applaud them for the attempt, even if the execution may have been off.
Star Wars has been handled perfectly thus far.
I admire them for at least trying to keep secrets in their films. Almost every film is spoiled by trailers these days, so I applaud them for the attempt, even if the execution may have been off.
Star Wars has been handled perfectly thus far.
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+1
5:31PM on 11/30/2015

Spoilers for a 007 movie...

Agreed. Anyone else feel the same way about Blofield in Spectre?
Agreed. Anyone else feel the same way about Blofield in Spectre?
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5:44PM on 11/30/2015
C'mon with the spoiler complaints, it has been out for weeks. The "Austin Powers twist" has been mentioned for months.
C'mon with the spoiler complaints, it has been out for weeks. The "Austin Powers twist" has been mentioned for months.
8:40PM on 11/30/2015
@Nivekian, I wasn't complaining. I was simply warning that my comment contained spoilers.
@Nivekian, I wasn't complaining. I was simply warning that my comment contained spoilers.
6:48AM on 12/01/2015
I appreciate the spoiler warning... I haven't seen Spectre yet, but I was pretty certain that was the case.
I appreciate the spoiler warning... I haven't seen Spectre yet, but I was pretty certain that was the case.
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