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Old June 12 2013, 05:27 PM   #136
Christopher
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Re: Into Darkness and the novelverse [SPOILERS]

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
Except that how do we know that the Prime universe doesn't vanish from the memory of the multiverse immediately after the Narada and the Jellyfish are swallowed by the red matter singularity?
Mainly because nobody wants it to. This is fiction, the rules of time travel are whatever we want them to be, and there's no reason why anyone would desire that to happen.

If you want in-story evidence, for one thing, we've seen several time travelers from the future who apparently consider the Prime universe to be part of their own history, such as the Vorgons and Captain Braxton. For another, as I said, the fact that Spock Prime is making no effort to "restore" his own history strongly suggests that he doesn't consider it to be in danger. Non-canonically, the Countdown comic showed the TNG crew continuing to exist after Spock and Nero fell through the black hole, and Star Trek Online shows the Prime universe continuing into 2409 and beyond.

Per the temporal model I constructed in Watching the Clock, a timeline created by time travel can only overwrite the original if the exchange of matter, energy, or information between them is two-way. For instance, the Guardian allowed people and information to travel both ways through it, as did the transporter time warp in DS9: "Past Tense." But since Spock and Nero fell through a black hole, we can assume the exchange of information was only one-way; thus the conditions for reconvergence do not exist.

Although sometimes two-way exchanges can potentially be stable too, as in the "Yesteryear" case, which I touched on in Forgotten History. Again, by all rights a stable coexistence should be the default outcome, so it shouldn't need a special explanation. Convergence should be the more exceptional outcome. It's just that we've been conditioned to expect it to be more common because fiction is biased toward situations of greater danger and greater exceptionality. (For instance, one assumes that holodecks rarely malfunction, otherwise they'd never keep them in service; but the times they work normally aren't as dramatic, so the storytelling is biased to emphasize the times when they go wrong. But that doesn't mean it's necessary to explain an instance where a holodeck doesn't malfunction.)
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Old June 12 2013, 06:55 PM   #137
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Re: Into Darkness and the novelverse [SPOILERS]

And there is also the possibility of non-destructive convergence, i.e., what happens when an altered timeline is "patched," and the actions of those "patching" it are incorporated back into the unaltered path (postulated, as I recall, at the end of Assignment: Earth, either in the actual script or in Blish's adaptation).

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Old June 12 2013, 07:32 PM   #138
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Re: Into Darkness and the novelverse [SPOILERS]

Christopher wrote: View Post
I had to concoct some imaginary physics as a fudge factor to justify it happening in the Trek universe.
Which is something you do exceedingly well, I have to say.
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Old June 12 2013, 09:58 PM   #139
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Re: Into Darkness and the novelverse [SPOILERS]

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
And there is also the possibility of non-destructive convergence, i.e., what happens when an altered timeline is "patched," and the actions of those "patching" it are incorporated back into the unaltered path (postulated, as I recall, at the end of Assignment: Earth, either in the actual script or in Blish's adaptation).
The idea in A:E was that, as Spock said, "It appears we did not interfere. The Enterprise was part of what was supposed to happen on this day in 1968." I.e. it was a self-consistent time loop, the time travel being necessary to cause the events that led to the travellers' established history in the first place. As with Spock's kahs-wan, if they hadn't gone back in time, that would've altered history. (Albeit only slightly, since Gary would then have been able to carry out his mission with no interference and the missile would've just blown up at higher altitude.)

That said, I did postulate in WTC that if a timeline were changed only slightly, just a minor perturbation that had no lasting impact on events -- like, say, O'Brien and Bashir being chewed out by Kirk after the bar fight on Station K-7 rather than the two other guys who were originally standing there -- then the resultant altered timeline spontaneously merges back with the main one, because the differences are too trivial to cause a divergence.
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Old June 13 2013, 12:28 PM   #140
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Re: Into Darkness and the novelverse [SPOILERS]

EliyahuQeoni wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
I had to concoct some imaginary physics as a fudge factor to justify it happening in the Trek universe.
Which is something you do exceedingly well, I have to say.
That's a matter of opinion.
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Old June 13 2013, 12:43 PM   #141
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Re: Into Darkness and the novelverse [SPOILERS]

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
Except that how do we know that the Prime universe doesn't vanish from the memory of the multiverse immediately after the Narada and the Jellyfish are swallowed by the red matter singularity?
Orci & Kurtzman showed us that the 24th century Prime Universe remains undisturbed before "Star Trek" (2009) was even released. In IDW's "Countdown" #4, Captain Data, Ambassador Picard and an injured Worf are seen conversing long after Spock's and Nero's vessels have entered the singularity.

And, in interviews, Orci repeated said, "Think Parallels".
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Old June 16 2013, 09:05 PM   #142
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Re: Into Darkness and the novelverse [SPOILERS]

Christopher wrote: View Post

He [Khan] was given a false identity, and as a major historical figure he had a recognizable face. It stands to reason his Caucasian appearance is the result of cosmetic surgery
That's exactly how I rationalised him looking like Benedict, instead of Ricardo. I never had a problem with it. It was one of those things that was so obvious it never had to be spelled out.
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Old June 30 2013, 03:42 PM   #143
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Re: Into Darkness and the novelverse [SPOILERS]

Christopher,

I didn't want to take my silence to your last reply to my post as acceptance of your points because I didn't agree with many of your conclusions.

First off I want to tell you that it was not my intention to imply you were being dishonest with me. I didn't care for your 'dismissal' but I can understand if you think I was implying deceit on your part. What I did feel then, and still do, is that you were sidestepping the question about Uhura being defined by Spock.

Uhura:

I can agree that she has seemed to taken McCoy's spot as the third pillar but I would argue that it is an issue of style and image more than substance. McCoy played a key role in helping frame the intellectual and/or moral issues affecting the crew, vis a vis his debates with Spock and his advice with Kirk. NuUhura, while starting out as a gadfly of Kirk's during the Academy scenes, has now been relegated to having her conversations with Kirk revolve around her relationship with Spock. She provides no opposition or different point of view. She added nothing to the political discussion in Into Darkness. Unless it's about Spock and how he feels about her, them, or himself, she doesn't have much to add at all. Her character is very limited. I'm not saying that isn't a step up from what Nichelle Nichols had to work with, but I'm not singing hosannas about it either.

Granted Zoe probably is the biggest star of that cast but that doesn't automatically equate to them finding something to do with her if her relationship with Spock ended. With TNG, LeVar Burton was the best known actor to US audiences at the start of the show but that billing wasn't commensurate with the development and screen time his character got. So it remains to be seen if they do break up Spock and Uhura and what would happen to Uhura afterwards. As it stands for me, Zoe being a black Latina and a woman helps sell this new version of Trek as something different and her relationship with Spock also does that, but underneath it is still largely a story dominated by white males, as was the case with Into Darkness (Kirk, Spock-white Vulcan male, nuKhan, and Marcus). Zoe is not quite very pretty brown wall paper, like Halle was in the X-Men films, but she isn't that far removed from it. Better than Nichelle's Uhura-let me repeat-but the level of empowerment is going to continue to be a subject of debate.

Khan:

While you are right that both actors were of European ancestry (which is a real world thing; and why do you get to use the real world and I don't? ), Khan Noonien Singh, as envisioned by Gene Roddenberry was likely not. As you pointed out, they even darkened Montalban's skin in "Space Seed" to highlight that he wasn't a white guy. And if we are to believe that the alternate universe timeline was largely unaffected until Nero's incursion Khan should still look like the Khan of "Space Seed". Even the fairer skinned Khan of TWOK had more tint to his skin than Cumberbatch's did. I'm guessing-hoping-that the upcoming Harrison comic book will explain he was surgically altered, which would make sense within the context of this story, though I wish they had just cast an actor of color.

Colorblind casting:

Regarding Into Darkness I don't know how exhausting the casting search was. I only read about Del Toro, which I said was a good thing previously. I don't know if they did even look at South Asian actors. It would've been great if they had even corrected Roddenberry's faux pas with Khan initially, but they didn't. They took a character of color and hired a white guy to play him. That's whitewashing.

I disagree with your description that 'plenty' of films have gone the route of casting blacks or other nonwhites into 'white' roles. I don't think there is an equivalence between whitewashing and nonwhites being cast in some white roles, and especially when you factor in the entire history of Hollywood.

There have been some and some very prominent casting choices. Part of the reason for that I feel is a continuing lack of support for films with nonwhite subject matter or films centering on specifically nonwhite characters. Further I think the idea of whites as default human beings have in a way made many white characters indistinct enough to be played by anyone. There remain a dearth of roles for people of color and characters of color so when one as iconic as Khan goes to a white guy that's one less opportunity gone and that affects both actors and fans.

For some of your examples, Samuel L. Jackson played the Ultimate Nick Fury. While regular Marvel Universe Nick Fury is white, the re-imagined Ultimate Fury was based on Samuel L. Jackson. So he's playing a character that is based on him.

Regarding Kristin Kreuk as Lana. Kreuk is half-white and I wouldn't have known she was half-Asian unless someone told me. She could easily pass for white so I don't think that's as much of an issue here. Sam Jones as Pete Ross would be a better example for Smallville. Though I do think it's good that her Asian heritage is being acknowledged.
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Old June 30 2013, 05:01 PM   #144
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Re: Into Darkness and the novelverse [SPOILERS]

DarKush wrote: View Post
I disagree with your description that 'plenty' of films have gone the route of casting blacks or other nonwhites into 'white' roles. I don't think there is an equivalence between whitewashing and nonwhites being cast in some white roles, and especially when you factor in the entire history of Hollywood.
In no way would I EVER, EVER claim there was an exact equivalence there. That's an argument I despise. Any fair and honest person will acknowledge that there is a long history of inequality in casting that needs to be corrected, and it will be a long time before that balance is corrected enough for there to be any kind of equivalence. What I meant to say is that things do seem to be getting better than they were, that there is enough casting of nonwhite actors in traditionally white roles to give us hope that the imbalance is on its way to being corrected. I'm not saying it's proof that the problem is solved; I'm saying it's an example that needs to be emulated and encouraged if we're going to solve the problem.

However, recent developments have made me less forgiving about the casting of Cumberbatch as Khan. In isolation, it could be defended or at least forgiven, but looking at the big picture, it feels like part of an unfortunate pattern in the industry. First we had the leads in The Last Airbender. Then we had Khan. Coming up, we've got the Lone Ranger remake with Johnny Depp as the first live-action screen Tonto in history who hasn't been played by a genuine Native American/First Nations actor (Depp's claims of partial native heritage are unconfirmed). And now I've heard that Michael Bay, who has a history of questionable racial portrayals in his films, has cast the decidedly non-Japanese William Fichtner to play the Shredder in his upcoming Ninja Turtles movie, which is just incomprehensible. At this point it's starting to become a disturbing trend, and it's most unfortunate that a Star Trek movie of all things is a contributor to that trend, even unintentionally. I don't want to accuse STID's filmmakers of deliberately contributing to the exclusion of nonwhite actors; I don't believe that was their intent. But it doesn't seem they tried hard enough to buck the trend.
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Old June 30 2013, 05:18 PM   #145
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Re: Into Darkness and the novelverse [SPOILERS]

Christopher,

To a large extent I agree with what you said about the trend as well as Star Trek's current creators.

I too have had issues with Tonto and when I heard about Shredder. As for Trek one of the things regarding Khan which made me scratch my head was that up to this point Abrams-relatively speaking-has been okay with me with the casting of nonwhites in many of his films and TV shows. To be honest my expectations for Hollywood aren't that high when it comes to the development of nonwhite characters, main or supporting, but there are times when Abrams has exceeded my expectations.

Many of the black characters on Alias, for example, were more than one-note and I will always have a soft spot for Undercovers. And he has arguably elevated Uhura to third pillar status, even if I don't care for how he did it, in the Trek films. And he has given Sulu some badass moments-though not enough. It doesn't mean that Abrams is perfect or beyond criticism or could not do better, but I do think he gets it a lot more than some of his Hollywood contemporaries.
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Old June 30 2013, 05:27 PM   #146
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Re: Into Darkness and the novelverse [SPOILERS]

^As I've said, I really, really do not think their motive in casting Cumberbatch was to favor white actors over nonwhite ones. In fact, Orci has pretty much confirmed that they were trying to avoid the racial stereotype of the dark-skinned terrorist. So I think that in trying to avoid racial discrimination in that sense, they accidentally stepped into a different kind of discrimination quagmire. Good intentions leading to an unfortunate result.

I think part of the problem is that they're hamstrung in casting a lot of roles due to the conceit of this being an alternate timeline rather than a pure continuity reboot. Comic-book movies are free to change characters' ethnicity and correct the white dominance of the past (or replace Jimmy Olsen with Jenny as Man of Steel did), but these guys are stuck when casting roles like Christopher Pike, Carol Marcus and her father, and the like, because the alternate-timeline premise demands that they bear a resemblance to the originals. If that weren't the case, then maybe the casting of a white Khan/Harrison could've been offset by casting the Marcuses differently, or casting Pike differently in both movies. Heck, with a wholesale reboot we maybe could've had, say, a black McCoy, a female Sulu or Chekov, maybe an Indian Scotty (there are lots of people of South Asian ancestry in the UK). But as it is, they're kind of stuck with the racial and gender biases of the original series' casting, and thus can't be as progressive as Bad Robot has been in several of its other productions.
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Old June 30 2013, 07:38 PM   #147
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Re: Into Darkness and the novelverse [SPOILERS]

^^ Just my two cents on the Khan/Cumberbatch issue....

I'm less inclined to view the original casting of Khan as much of a progressive victory. To me, watching "Space Seed," Montalban's Khan, with his artificially darkened skin and noticeable Mexican accent (in spite of the character being from the Indian subcontinent), embodies (whether intentionally or not) a lot of paranoid white stereotypes about Latinos -- that they are "exotic," that their sexuality is more pronounced and overpowering, that they are a temptation to white women and sexual rivals to white men. Khan's seduction of Marlina is perfectly in line with these stereotypes. He is the threatening Other with dark skin who wants to steal "our" women and take over "our" land.

Meanwhile, one of the STID filmmakers' goals was to use the familiar character of Khan to explore the role of a rogue terrorist, as understood in our modern society, and to explore the question of how society should react to the threat of terrorism. This necessarily involves using some of the iconography of terrorism from our modern society, up to and including vessels crashing into sky scrapers and destroying them. Had Khan been depicted as a person of color, this would have played into more modern stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims -- the scary brown man come to kill our military and blow up our buildings.

So while I completely understand being upset at a white actor playing a character who is supposed to be a person of color, I'm also a bit more forgiving of it in this particular instance. This version of Khan having white skin lets the filmmakers use the character without playing into some very vile, racist tropes against Latinos and Arabs.

I absolutely don't support the whitewashing of characters of color that, as Christopher notes, has become so prevalent. (Casting a white man to play Tonto is particularly offensive, as Tonto is a good guy, so why can't a Native American play a hero in a major motion picture?) But in this particular instance, I can forgive it.
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Old June 30 2013, 07:50 PM   #148
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Re: Into Darkness and the novelverse [SPOILERS]

Christopher wrote: View Post
^As I've said, I really, really do not think their motive in casting Cumberbatch was to favor white actors over nonwhite ones. In fact, Orci has pretty much confirmed that they were trying to avoid the racial stereotype of the dark-skinned terrorist. So I think that in trying to avoid racial discrimination in that sense, they accidentally stepped into a different kind of discrimination quagmire. Good intentions leading to an unfortunate result.

I think part of the problem is that they're hamstrung in casting a lot of roles due to the conceit of this being an alternate timeline rather than a pure continuity reboot. Comic-book movies are free to change characters' ethnicity and correct the white dominance of the past (or replace Jimmy Olsen with Jenny as Man of Steel did), but these guys are stuck when casting roles like Christopher Pike, Carol Marcus and her father, and the like, because the alternate-timeline premise demands that they bear a resemblance to the originals. If that weren't the case, then maybe the casting of a white Khan/Harrison could've been offset by casting the Marcuses differently, or casting Pike differently in both movies. Heck, with a wholesale reboot we maybe could've had, say, a black McCoy, a female Sulu or Chekov, maybe an Indian Scotty (there are lots of people of South Asian ancestry in the UK). But as it is, they're kind of stuck with the racial and gender biases of the original series' casting, and thus can't be as progressive as Bad Robot has been in several of its other productions.
Well it's not as if they HAD to make the character Khan, which I think is actually part of the disappointing aspect. The story itself could've worked with it being some different augment, given that the importance of it being a super soldier genocidaire from the distant past was...just about zero.
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Old June 30 2013, 07:57 PM   #149
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Re: Into Darkness and the novelverse [SPOILERS]

Sci,

Part of some of the anxieties felt at the making of Khan as the main villain of Into Darkness are self-inflicted. I agree with Nob that the villain didn't have to be Khan. Harrison worked just fine, or heck, he could've been one of the other crew of the Botany Bay (McPherson perhaps?) and cast Cumberbatch easily, no problem. But since they went the Khan route I think they should've cast a nonwhite actor. I think Khan is popular enough name/brand/character, if not his actual story, that it trumps him being a run of the mill brown skinned terrorist.

Plus Khan being a villain with some positive traits might have also undermined the dehumanized stereotype. Perhaps having a person of color back as Khan might dredge up those kind of vile feelings, but it might also present an intelligent, formidable brown skinned person that fans can possibly admire and understand. That might have changed perceptions in a way of turning Khan into a white guy, which avoids the issue, have not done. Taking on and confronting thorny issues is something Trek has a reputation for. Granted it is a reputation not always deserved, or as laudable as many of us wish it to be, but there's still a tradition there. Into Darkness did address some contemporary issues but dropped the ball in the casting of Khan.

I can understand your concerns about the casting of Khan back in the day. The skin darkening thing reminded me a bit too much of blackface and I have to wonder if Nicholas Meyer and/or Ricardo Montalban, etc. didn't think skin darkening would fly so easily by the 1980s as it did in the '60s.

I don't mind the idea of Khan being a challenge to white male dominance. I would rather that than for him to be a doormat or wall paper. And I think the idea of him being a kind of dangerous Other threat is somewhat offset by his intelligence, charm, charisma, concern for his crew, and enlightened despotism that even some of the Enterprise crew can sort of admire. As for McGivers it isn't a situation where he forces himself on her, he seduces her in part because she wants to be seduced. And his love for her and grief drive help drive him to madness in TWOK. So she was more than a plaything for him.
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Old June 30 2013, 08:00 PM   #150
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Re: Into Darkness and the novelverse [SPOILERS]

I think the problem with Khan as the villain in <i>Into Darkness</i> is actually the opposite of the humanizing, though. The casting issue is one, but I actually thought making the character into Khan turned 'Harrison' from "man victimized while being the victimizer" into "monster from earth's history" and detracted from the ambiguity of his role.

And that the significance of the name would only apply to people who knew the character's background (and him being an evil dictator superman from the past)
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