Yep, and he has a perfect motivation for being vengeful without coming off as a copy of the previous film. He was a hero, and from no fault of his own he was injured, healed by the Antosians and as a result gained powers but lost his mind. So we kind of feel for the guy since it isn't his fault, and Starfleet just wrote him off as a nut and committed him to Elba II. Totally gives us the grey area between good and evil that was talked about while still allowing him to be pretty badass.
To me, it seems the perfect choice...why take a character that was already shown to be a credible villain and try to recapture that? Why not instead take a character that was a major missed opportunity and finally give him the story line he deserved?