Well, That Explains Some Things


Anyone who has seen Star Trek Into Darkness by now knows that about half way through there is a reveal, which I personally don't consider a spoiler, but which I will put after the jump for those that might, and if you haven't seen the film, maybe you should stop reading this now. And that reveal, for many people is a major issue of complaint against the film (it certainly was for me). Kurtzman and Orci, two of the films three writers, did an interview for Yahoo, and said some things that I think help to explain why the film wasn't as good as it might have been.

Hit the jump for their comments, which contains spoilers for Into Darkness.

In my review of the film, I said that if Benedict Cumberbatch had never been revealed as Khan, but had remained John Harrison all the way through, the structure of the character's arc wouldn't have changed at all, and possibly might have made the film better because of it (it certainly would have made all the ripping off of Wrath of Khan in the third act unnecessary). At least it would have meant that we got an original villain rather then a rehash.

So, in the interview with Yahoo, after confusing the names of the Vulcan and Klingon home worlds (one of which they destroyed last time around), Orci said this (emphasis mine):
"Once we had that standalone story, we wondered: are there details from Khan's history that fit? We returned to our Easter eggs at the back of the fridge: there were those seventy-two torpedoes that happened to house his crew. If we can use the details of Khan's backstory given our structure to make the movie more specific and more relevant, then that works."

Kurtzman followed that up with:
"Only when we decided that Khan really does fit here - and the fans know that Khan is to the series what The Joker is to "Batman" - that's when we decided we earned it"
To me this explains why Harrison's story seemed complete, and the addition of Khan seemed tacked on: because it was. That they had the story in place, and shunted Khan in afterwards, under the misunderstanding that fans wanted Khan (caving to fan demands never works), makes sense. Using Khan to fill in the gaps, and then use that as an excuse to phone in the final third of the script, is lazy and disappointing, but at least it means they didn't come at the script with the intention of using Khan and raping the best of the Trek films for all it's best material from the start. They did begin by writing an original piece, then they let hubris and avarice corrupt it into it's final form, using the fan as their excuse.

What really illustrates the film's flaws for me is the second quote: the fundamental misunderstanding of the character, and the relationship he has with the franchise. And they once again try to blame the fans. I think fans know that Khan isn't the Joker of the Trek universe. I think fans know that if anyone is the Joker its the Borg, in their endless returning from certain doom, constant dogging of the franchise, being diminished in effectiveness with every specific detail that is revealed about them, and never left alone long enough for their absence to be felt. Fans understand that Khan appearing in only a single episode and a single film, with very specific goals and motivations both times, does not make him the mortal enemy to the entire universe. Fans understand that Trek doesn't need that kind of enemy, and has never needed that kind of enemy. If it did, why have there never been recurring Klingon generals to plague Kirk? DS9 had their own recurring baddies, but DS9 was structured differently then anything that had come before or since. Fans don't expect Khan to be in every film, because they understand his effectiveness was his uniqueness and his economy. This isn't the fans mistake, this is theirs, and that they seem intent on shifting that blame onto us is yet another reason they shouldn't be invited back.

That, and Lindelof's suggestion of bringing Khan back for yet another film. That would be a terrible decision.

Via The Mary Sue.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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