Khan's Into Darkness Appearance change finally explained

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies: Kelvin Universe' started by BlueMetroid, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    Eh, if all you're looking for is to cast the Character of Khan as non-white, then yea Del Toro would be fine.

    However, Del Toro is as different from Montalbon as Cumberbatch is. Montalban, although of Mexican Geographical Ethnicity, is far more a European Spaniard genetically or aesthetically, than Mexican, is he not? He doesn't have the look of South American Indians mixed in. He's got the Sharper European Features mixed in (That comparative of Cumberbatch and Montalban shows they do indeed share many of the same "type" of features).

    Going with the "cast a Mexican" thing, seriously, India and Britain have a long relationship. you are far more likely to find a White British Dude in India, then you are a Mexican.

    Again, if all you care about, is a person of Color, then I can't dispute deliberately hiring a Mexican (Or even a Black Man). But, your typical Mexican actor is not closer to Montalbon, IMHO. I do agree, that it would've been great to actually hire an Indian for the role, but, I don't think aiming directly at a Mexican for the role gets you any closer to Canon.

    In Fact, if you cast a Black Man, (depending upon his Features), I'd find him more likely to be from the region, than a Mexican with South American Indian Features
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  2. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No.
     
  3. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    Hmmm....I personally think you're a fool, if you try using a Cannon, inside, in any way other than out the window
    .
    .
    .
    .
    ....Oh
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ...wait :alienblush:

    Never
    mind

    ;)
     
  4. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm seeing an increasing reliance on this kind of strategy in SW discussions elsewhere on the interwebz. "But what you fail to understand is that these characters are fictional." No, I get that, and it's pretty much the worst strawman in the universe.
     
  5. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, pretty much.
     
  6. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    I was referring specifically to the Khan character. As such, I still don't care.

    "Totally fictional" means what it says. No basis in reality. There are NO "real-life" examples of people like Khan. None. Hence "race bending" is overblown in this particular case. (of course, feel free to point out test tube experiments in advanced genetic engineering with Khan's physical strength, heightened senses, etc.--if you can, I'll withdraw my comments)

    Casting Cumberbatch as Nehru in a biopic--unacceptable. Casting him as a fictional high-ranking officer in present-day India's army--unacceptable. Casting him as anyone from the Middle East--unacceptable. Or is it? Circassians (significant numbers found across the Middle East in former Ottoman territories) often look a great deal like Cumberbatch. And even some (though admittedly few) South Asians would not stand out in Cumberbatch's family photos. Casting Cumberbatch as a genetically engineered science experiment? Perfectly acceptable.

    If a character being non-white is essential to that character, then of course a white actor should not be cast in the role. And when ethnicity is irrelevant to the character, I consider it a non-issue (as in Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White in Man of Steel or Denzel Washington as a reporter in a movie with Julia Roberts about 15 years ago--seem to recall the character in the novel was white--can't remember the name of the book or movie but I believe it was a John Grisham novel). Same goes for sex (had no problems with Starbuck being a woman in the new BSG). But that works both ways. Khan is NOT a character whose ethnicity is essential to his character and that ethnicity, when noted at all, was rather vague.


    Whole disguise thing works for me, if I need a reason.

    Wasn't talking about reviewers. Was talking about the general audience. Good many of them didn't know. Moreover, while Montalban may have suggested "exotic", nothing about his portrayal in TWOK suggested "South Asian". "Latin American" was a strong vibe, though (again, to anyone who came to the character first in TWOK).

    Are you the only person who has voiced an objection? Are you really suggesting that no one has been "up in arms" about Cumberbatch as Khan because of ethnicity? And yes, in this specific case, people ARE being overly sensitive. And no, I don't care if that offends you (or anyone else). It actually makes my point.

    It only has to satisfy me, so it's plenty effective. I understand the concept behind some people's frustrations about "race bending". I continue to find it rather baseless in the specific case of Khan as a Trek character. You insisting otherwise is, well, ineffective.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2014
  7. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    Oh, BTW, speaking of Race-bending, I think the thing that pissed me most, of any movie, is Uncle Iroh not being a clean shaven Fat Asian man. Skinny/Scrawny White Dude with stubble, totally took me out of those scenes :(
     
  8. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    [EDIT: I have doubts about the fairness of this latest reply to Ovation, so I'm going to look over this post with fresh eyes tomorrow and rework it if necessary]
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  9. Hound of UIster

    Hound of UIster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Watching that movie was your first mistake.
     
  10. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    You make a good point, but I think that article's too invested in the mythical notion of Roddenberry fighting NBC:

    ...and is also dismissive of something that seems rather obvious to me and was, if I remember correctly, discussed in the press as part of the film's attempt to reach an international audience:

    Granted, I see the irony of trying to appeal to international audiences with a white British guy.

    Lastly, that article also doesn't mention that Montalban was essentially in brown face when he played Khan in "Space Seed," which seems like an important observation (the brown-face, hardly the most racist make-up Montalban ever put on to get by in an industry that didn't have a lot of leading roles for Mexican actors, was wisely dropped when he reprised the role in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan).

    This is not to dismiss the criticisms you've made about Cumberbatch being cast in the role, but I think there's a much more nuanced argument to be made -- and that article doesn't make it.
     
  11. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    It most certainly does not make a nuanced argument. And it's certainly not shy about feeling entitled to know everything the film makers are doing BEFORE the film is released. "Oh no, a director wants to keep a plot twist secret--it must be to hide his racism." Bollocks. And on the rare occasion where it might be true (no evidence in the case of Khan), still doesn't matter.

    Want to protest the final product? Totally fine. Want to protest info that leaked into the public domain? Also totally fine. Demanding to be allowed access like some sort of watchdog organization over whether casting choices and plot points should be kept secret in order to ensure a film (or any artistic production) conforms to The Way Things Ought to Be (TM)? No.

    No one has the right to be free from being offended. And giving offence IS a right. Audiences are free to dislike what an artist puts out for public consumption. They have ZERO rights to be satisfied a priori.
     
  12. Ryan8bit

    Ryan8bit Commodore Commodore

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    But was Khan really a plot twist? His reveal wasn't even relevant to the plot or much of anything. It was basically there as a fan service type thing, and didn't really change much. His character could have been swapped out for Joachim and it wouldn't have made that much difference plot-wise.

    Not that this makes it obligatory for the studio to let people know, but I think part of that secrecy wasn't just the plot, but rather that there was polarized fan reaction on Khan as it was. Maybe fan reaction doesn't matter, but they did seem to be paying an awful lot of attention to it. I'm not sure it had to do with race, although it was suspicious that they gave him the whitest cover name possible.
     
  13. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Joachim was a complete wuss. Had Harrison been him, I doubt he'd have had the courage to do much of anything. VERY different movie.
     
  14. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    I happened to run across another article which refers to and quotes from the Racebending piece you linked. It's not long, but may be of interest. His conclusion caught my eye:

     
  15. JD5000

    JD5000 Captain Captain

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    I think it's perfectly acceptable to consider that in the future, human beings are much less racially diverse than today. The trend has been turning towards people not necessarily finding mates and making babies within their own race, as was the trend for a long time - I assume mostly because it was easier to do that without cars, trains, airplanes - the internet.

    The idea of a white/latino/what-ever genetically engineered human with the last name of a Mongolian warlord, centuries into humanity's fictional future, doesn't faze me in the slightest.
     
  16. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    I would say it was not a successfully executed plot twist (as much as I enjoy the film, I'll admit that shortcoming without difficulty) but it is certainly intended, by the story structure, to be some kind of secret meant to be revealed at that moment and not earlier in the story.

    Again, I have no issue with people being disappointed in the casting or organizing protests over it. I have very serious objections to the idea that self-appointed guardians of The Way Things Ought to Be (TM) should have ANY say whatsoever on the making of an artistic creation (film, book, painting, music, etc.). Should be entirely left to the artist. Once the finished product is available for consumption, it's fair game. But any complaints voiced about said artistic creation is also fair game in terms of disagreements. I understand the concern about "race bending" as a general concept and there are certainly instances where I would be quite vocal about voicing my disapproval (I've listed examples elsewhere). But I don't think Khan qualifies as a problem case and, frankly, implications that I'm seeking to excuse racism because I find the Khan example unpersuasive are insulting (not being made by you), though far less biting for being made in a largely anonymous forum.
     
  17. Ryan8bit

    Ryan8bit Commodore Commodore

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    That was just an example, but certainly they could have changed his character as much as they changed Khan. I think their shoehorn was big enough.

    But who's doing that? I think I see you saying this more often than I see anybody saying such things. There wasn't really anything like that in the article that I could see.
     
  18. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    I've heard some students where I teach make the complaint (and more forcefully than most in here). I've also come across complaints about gender/sex diversity among non-main cast characters (at TrekBBS and elsewhere) that raise similar objections about how "things ought to be". And the article most certainly laments the fact that those interested in monitoring are not being given "access" during the filmmaking process.

    from the article at racebending.com referenced above

    bolding is mine


    Pretty clear that at least one advocacy group wants "in" DURING the creative process (and I cannot believe it is alone). To which I say: HELL NO and TOUGH SHIT. The advocacy group has the right to protest the finished product and raise a stink about it. I have zero problems with that. But to expect/demand/feel entitled to be included in the process of creation. Nope. Nada. Non. I find that expectation repugnant. I don't believe for one second that an artistic creation should be free of criticism. But I have ZERO sympathy for the notion that artists should be scrutinized by anyone, let alone "media watchdogs" and "advocacy groups" during the process of creation.
     
  19. Ryan8bit

    Ryan8bit Commodore Commodore

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    I didn't read that as an expectation, demand, or entitlement.
     
  20. klh

    klh Ensign Red Shirt

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    Spice!