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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies XI+

Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old January 10 2013, 06:37 PM   #1
Franklin
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Maybe the Villian Was Originally Khan?

In the Bryan Burk interview covered on trekmovie.com (link, below), Burk says, "[Cumberbatch] kind of made Harrison his own. Particularly when we cast him -- the writers went back and specifically tailored it for Benedict."

So, maybe the character wasn't Harrison to begin with. Maybe it was Khan.

As has been pointed out many times, four actors said to be considered for the villain before Cumberbatch, Benicio del Toro, Edgar Ramirez, Jordi Rolla, and Demian Bichir were at least reminiscent of Montalban's Khan. Three were also the right age for a thawed Khan (mid-forties).

It's been said Cumberbatch was auditioned as more or less an inspiration, and he knocked their socks off. At the same time, they realized he probably couldn't be Khan with any sense of believability (that's been debated here, but I've always wondered why the net was originally cast so small ethnically, as if looks did matter for the part, then it turns out they end up with the least Khan-looking actor of the lot).

So as Burk says, they tailored the character to Cumberbatch, (speculation begins here ==>) and made him, "John Harrison." They gave him his own backstory that gave him basically the same motives and goals as what had been written for Khan (can't change too much). It could be that Khan’s presence looms in this movie thematically even if the character doesn't appear.

Here's the link to the story about the interview:

http://trekmovie.com/2013/01/08/burk...berrys-vision/
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Old January 10 2013, 06:56 PM   #2
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Re: Maybe the Villian Was Originally Khan?

I also think that this is a likely possibility, and it explains the change in casting preference and some of the additional time it took during preproduction.
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Old January 10 2013, 07:15 PM   #3
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Re: Maybe the Villian Was Originally Khan?

From Lindelof's interview it sounds like they just changed the dialog for Cumberbatch's character.

http://collider.com/damon-lindelof-s...view/220137/2/

How did the script change, if at all, when Benedict Cumberbatch signed on?

Lindelof: Well, it changed in terms of anytime you cast any actor, even though you think that Kirk is a fixed thing and you’re not going to change him at all, when we cast Chris we rewrote the part to basically match up with what we viewed Chris was doing. Because these parts are not off the rack suits where you put them on and they fit like a glove. You make the suit and then the actor puts it on and then you say, “I’ve got to now tailor this thing so it fits them perfectly.” So Benedict was no different. The kind of actor that he is-

Which is spectacular.

Lindelof: Which is spectacular, necessitated a certain shift in just the way that the character was going to sound, you know? Our own inner ear for that character we were like, “O.K. we wrote this character John Harrison and this is what he said and this is what he did, but now we’ve got Benedict Cumberbatch playing him so let’s rewrite the movie with that in mind.” And that didn’t mean that John Harrison did anything differently, or it didn’t change the story in anyway, but it did change the words coming out of his mouth.
And the character was always John Harrison even before Cumberbatch was cast. Of course Harrison may not be his true name but a pseudonym for another well known character. I don't think the Bad Robot guys care about getting the ethnicity all that right if JH is really Khan. They're more into the best actor for the role kind of thing. The could drop in a line about his appearance being altered to hide his true ID.
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Old January 10 2013, 07:35 PM   #4
Franklin
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Re: Maybe the Villian Was Originally Khan?

Enterprise is Great wrote: View Post
From Lindelof's interview it sounds like they just changed the dialog for Cumberbatch's character.

http://collider.com/damon-lindelof-s...view/220137/2/

How did the script change, if at all, when Benedict Cumberbatch signed on?

Lindelof: Well, it changed in terms of anytime you cast any actor, even though you think that Kirk is a fixed thing and you’re not going to change him at all, when we cast Chris we rewrote the part to basically match up with what we viewed Chris was doing. Because these parts are not off the rack suits where you put them on and they fit like a glove. You make the suit and then the actor puts it on and then you say, “I’ve got to now tailor this thing so it fits them perfectly.” So Benedict was no different. The kind of actor that he is-

Which is spectacular.

Lindelof: Which is spectacular, necessitated a certain shift in just the way that the character was going to sound, you know? Our own inner ear for that character we were like, “O.K. we wrote this character John Harrison and this is what he said and this is what he did, but now we’ve got Benedict Cumberbatch playing him so let’s rewrite the movie with that in mind.” And that didn’t mean that John Harrison did anything differently, or it didn’t change the story in anyway, but it did change the words coming out of his mouth.
And the character was always John Harrison even before Cumberbatch was cast. Of course Harrison may not be his true name but a pseudonym for another well known character. I don't think the Bad Robot guys care about getting the ethnicity all that right if JH is really Khan. They're more into the best actor for the role kind of thing. The could drop in a line about his appearance being altered to hide his true ID.
The only problem I had (and I don't want to reopen the ethnicity discussion, here) was at first, it did seem ethnicity mattered (the first four reported choices deep), then along comes Cumberbatch.

But what you say makes sense. There could've been a "the hell with it, he's great, and he's our Khan," attitude, and the lines may have only been rewritten to better fit the actor, not change the character.

Maybe it's also just coincidence that John Harrison is such a properly English name. I mean, you don't have to be English to have the surname, after all.
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Old January 10 2013, 07:42 PM   #5
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Re: Maybe the Villian Was Originally Khan?

I know Benecio Del Toro is fact, but, do we actually know the rest of the names floated were in fact considered, or might they have been the rumor mill scratching around digging up and throwing out names of actors who could fit Khan, since the rumor mill was so convinced Khan was the villian?
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Old January 11 2013, 01:08 AM   #6
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Re: Maybe the Villian Was Originally Khan?

IIRC the other actors were all just rumors.
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Old January 11 2013, 01:20 AM   #7
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Re: Maybe the Villian Was Originally Khan?

I would have been more inclined to believe it was Khan if the names floating around weren't Hispanic or Spanish actors.
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Old January 12 2013, 04:42 PM   #8
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Re: Maybe the Villian Was Originally Khan?

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
I would have been more inclined to believe it was Khan if the names floating around weren't Hispanic or Spanish actors.
Names like "Ricardo" and "Montalban"?
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Old January 13 2013, 01:50 AM   #9
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Re: Maybe the Villian Was Originally Khan?

YARN wrote: View Post
Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
I would have been more inclined to believe it was Khan if the names floating around weren't Hispanic or Spanish actors.
Names like "Ricardo" and "Montalban"?
Well the character's name is Khan Noonien Singh. So why would he have to be played by a Hispanic or Spanish actor? Would they only look for Jewish actors to play Kirk or Spock?
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Old January 13 2013, 03:15 PM   #10
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Re: Maybe the Villian Was Originally Khan?

You know, I've complained so many times about how much I dislike the Khan character, and how I would hate him to be the villain...now, I don't care. Whoever Cumberbatch's villain turns out to be, he's going to be awesome, because Cumberbatch rules.

Also, they did not make him speak with an American accent. That makes me happy.
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Old January 15 2013, 03:39 PM   #11
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Re: Maybe the Villian Was Originally Khan?

CommanderRaytas wrote: View Post
...because Cumberbatch rules.

Also, they did not make him speak with an American accent. That makes me happy.
Yes. I would rather hear Cumberbatch's normal British accent -- but I think his character is going to be French.
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Old January 15 2013, 03:46 PM   #12
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Re: Maybe the Villian Was Originally Khan?

I thought the villain was originally Gary Mitchell.
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Old January 15 2013, 05:18 PM   #13
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Re: Maybe the Villian Was Originally Khan?

Yes, we haven't heard that name now for a while.
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Old January 17 2013, 10:10 PM   #14
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Re: Maybe the Villian Was Originally Khan?

Am I wrong, or did they say from the start that the villain was going to be a known one from existing Trek lore?

If that's the case, I don't know of any Trek villain named "Harrison".

Do any of you?

This means either:

1) my memory is playing tricks,
2) they've changed their intention, or
3) Harrison actually IS someone else, whose name will become known before the end of the film.

(If not, and they wait for a later film to reveal who he really is, that's sort of strange since it will leave the "return" of a villain from TOS up in the air...it'll be hollow if we still don't know who he is.)
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Old January 17 2013, 11:01 PM   #15
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Re: Maybe the Villian Was Originally Khan?

gastrof wrote: View Post
Am I wrong, or did they say from the start that the villain was going to be a known one from existing Trek lore?
<snip>
Not from the moment the casting was announced, but it's from July 2012, so it ought to suffice:
TrekMovie interview w/Roberto Orci wrote:
TrekMovie.com: OK, I want to try and get something out of you that is actually new about the movie. Kind of like you did on the radio show but I will name a guest actor in the sequel and you will say if they are playing a new character you created or one from the original Star Trek canon.

Roberto Orci: OK, I’ll play.

TrekMovie.com: OK let’s start with Alice Eve. Canon or new?

Roberto Orci: Canon

TrekMovie.com: Noel Clarke?

Roberto Orci: New

TrekMovie.com: I assume that also goes for Nanzeen Contractor, who plays his wife?

Roberto Orci: Yes, new.

TrekMovie.com: Peter Weller

Roberto Orci: New.

TrekMovie.com: Joseph Gatt

Roberto Orci: New.

TrekMovie.com: OK and the big one, Benedict Cumberbatch.

Roberto Orci: Canon.
There you go - all ready to be printed out and stapled to something near at hand. (You'll note, however, that the words are "new character you created or one from the original Star Trek canon" - not "canon villain".)
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