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Old June 11 2013, 03:57 AM   #111
Paper Moon
Re: Into Darkness and the novelverse [SPOILERS]

[I wrote this before Christopher replied but didn't finish the rest of the post until much later, so I didn't incorporate what he said. Not trying to intentionally ignore.]

Regarding Khan's ethnicity, I'm sorry, but I'm not feeling any of the vitriol over the so-called "whitewashing" of Khan. (That is actually precisely what a fan said during the Q&A with LeVar Burton and Marina Sirtis yesterday at the convention in Boston.)

There is nothing, I repeat, nothing about Khan's character that has anything to do with India, Sikhism, Asia (or Latin America) EXCEPT that his origins are "exotic". His character is "ethnic" for some of the worst reasons that Hollywood had during the late 60's: gasp! an exotic-looking non-white man! he must be quite fearsome!

I'm sorry, but where exactly is the value in that aspect of the character? And furthermore, do we really need another non-Mongoloid Asian movie villain who blows up buildings and crashes flying objects into other buildings? Really?

Khan Noonien Singh was given his name so that Roddenberry would have a small chance at being reunited with an old friend of his from WWII (Kim Noonien Singh). The original script for "Space Seed" called for a Nordic superman, named Ragnar Thorwald (who, coincidentally, originally introduced himself as "John Ericssen"; wink wink, nudge nudge). Sounds like someone along the line (probably not Roddenberry, probably some high network muckamuck) thought that "ethnic" would read better than "Nordic", and Roddenberry said, "Well shit, this is gonna be kinda offensive, lemme at least try to maybe get something good out of this for me."

Cumberbatch got the role because he was the best actor for the story they wanted to tell. Frankly, if they had cast a Latino in the role, that would've perpetuated the destructive notion that all non-white ethnicities are somehow interchangeable. And if they had cast a South Asian? Honestly, that would've been really problematic for current, real-world sociopolitical reasons, perpetuating the deeply destructive notion that all "Muslims" (because, remember, a large segment of the the moviegoing public simply reads any non-Mongoloid Asian, or more generally, any non-Hispanic white person with darker complexion as "Muslim") are terrorists.

I stand 100% with those who feel that people of color should have a greater profile in Hollywood and American media in general. You will get zero argument from me on that point.

But, really, is Khan such a desirable role that it's worth bemoaning the "loss" of a character for whom the only important thing about his ethnicity was that it made him Other?

Christopher wrote: View Post
King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
Something else I remembered - Admiral Marcus tells Kirk that since first contact with the Klingons, they've conquered two planets that they know of. Those could be recent happenings, but it's possible one or both occurred prior to the timeline divergence, which may be relevant to the Rise of the Federation novels.
Doubtful. The Romulan War novels established that the Klingons drew inward to deal with their internal crises (mainly the rise of the QuchHa' and the resultant racial strife), entering a period of consolidation rather than expansion. This is a handy way to reconcile ENT continuity with what TOS and TUC established about Federation-Klingon conflict only really dating back to the 2220s, about 70 years before TUC. Presumably they began a new expansionist phase around then and began clashing with the UFP.

Although conquering only two planets in the subsequent three-plus decades seems rather unambitious. That line of Marcus's struck me as rather odd -- particularly since it implied that the Klingons had only been recently contacted, even though the presence of models of the NX-Alpha and NX-01 on Marcus's desk in that very scene reinforced that ENT is part of the film's continuity. So I'm disinclined to take Marcus's line too literally.
That line is interesting, though, particularly given how close the Neutral Zone (which the Enterprise always stayed in during the Kronos segments of the film) was to Kronos. Almost like it was at Oort cloud distance. (Obviously there were much closer, but that might have been the intention.)

Indeed, intersteller space seems to play very little role in the post-Nero universe. I'm wondering if the superadvanced warp drive has changed the notion of what an intersteller state is. In pre-'09 Trek, the Federation, the Klingon Empire, the Cardassian Union, etc. were more or less treated like large land-based empires, with intersteller space being treated a bit like loosely patrolled frontier land; nominally under the control of the government, but if you tried really hard, you could sneak through undetected. Lots of open space that was nonetheless considered to be part of the nation.

In nuTrek, though, the Federation and Klingon Empire are treated more like nations of islands. The planets (the islands) are extremely important, but the space between them (the open sea) are really only important as transportation routes, not as land to hold.

They seem to be going for smaller intersteller states, more intimate, less sprawling. An interesting reinterpretation.

Regarding that superadvanced warp drive (and sorry Christopher, but I'm pretty sure this counts as a story idea, or at least a key potential plot point):

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