Locutus of Bored wrote:
Not to mention the fallout from emphasizing that the perpetrator is a Sikh given the amount of harassment and attacks Sikhs have had to endure post-9/11 by ignorant assholes who think they're Muslims (not that it would be right to harass or attack Muslims either). People would be (rightfully) upset about it, and the outrage would far exceed any of this nonsense about whitewashing a character that was already played by a white man of European descent once before. It's a no-win situation.
Did I mention I hate PC ? We basically have to stick to white villains, now.
Yes, you've mentioned that, and no, we don't "have to" stick to white villains (there are plenty of brown-skinned terrorists, criminals, and villains depicted in TV, books, games, and movies). But why do you have to stick with a brown-skinned terrorist 300 years in the future when it's a completely different context from present day Middle Eastern terrorism? Why do you have to stick with a brown-skinned villain when Khan has already been played by a white man of European descent and was shown with his natural white skin (sans skin darkening makeup) in TWoK
? Why do you have to stick with a brown-skinned terrorist when no actual historical terrorist incident is being depicted?
PC would be turning the actual 9/11 hijackers into white neo-Nazis in a made-for TV movie or something. Making a fictional terrorist in a fictional bombing in a fictional future universe a white guy instead of a brown-skinned man is not PC, or at least not anything worth being bothered by. The technical term for a lot of the stuff that gets criticized as political correctness is "not being an asshole." There's no important justification to make the terrorist a brown-skinned man in this case or evoking images of Sikhs being involved in terrorism when they've already suffered from being falsely accused of it in recent years. I'm perfectly fine with Star Trek
not going out of its way to offend people needlessly.
Khan never really struck me as a terrorist anyways. I find this characterization of him somewhat odd. That they put him in such a role and don't think about the consequences of that doesn't really strike me as a no-win situation. The answer is simple: don't use Khan, or don't turn him into a terrorist.
Well, it depends. The vague comments about him being a loveable tyrant in Space Seed
didn't specifically paint him as a terrorist (nor do they rule it out), though to gain control over so much territory in such a short time he might have resorted to those tactics.
In Greg Cox's Eugenics Wars
books, Khan's allies used nerve gas to target a rival leader in a terrorist attack and Khan attempted to use biological warfare to get revenge on the people of Earth. The writers of the film have said that they're fans of and are inspired by the tie-in fiction on multiple occasions.
People kept saying before the movie, and somehow keep insisting that Khan is a big deal to reps and hooking audiences, but he's supposed to be a secret! He's not even marketed as Khan. Maybe if they spent the time playing up that this was Khan more instead of playing the whole secrecy angle (which really was nothing more than fan service), then there'd be a point to the whole marketability thing.
It was only a "secret" in that they didn't openly promote it, but it was pretty obvious among fan circles who the villain was and would be spread by spoiler reviews and word of mouth to the general public once the movie premiered.