Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies XI+' started by Cara007, Nov 1, 2013.
Last time I checked Marla wasn't a writer or a real person. The blame is on the writers and producers who ignored the advice of the research company who pointed out the mistakes. Marla was not written as someone who isn't "right in the head".
I would say she was written stereotypically: the overly romantic, slightly addle brained, woman who swoons of the big, muscular, dominating, hunk of a man whose like something out of romance story. It was pulp-romance / soap-opera writing.
Whatever Marla's faults, I'm sure we're supposed to believe her when she says Khan is a Sikh. Clearly the writers are at fault.
I did think that Khan was charismatic enough that I found Marla falling under his spell believable.
In-universe, Marla is the expert, who either fell in love with the object of her study, or studied that which she found attractive, or a bit of both. I think we are supposed to believe that everything she tells us about Khan's background is true, in-universe. That those things are bogus is on the writers.
Like I said, this is a distraction -- although it's worth pointing out that people who don't believe there are ethnic, non-practising Sikhs who don't wear turbans are 100% wrong and what this tells me is that they don't know any real-life Sikhs. It really doesn't matter one single whit if his costume was not technically accurately Sikh, nor whether the actor was white or not, none of that is the point. The point is that the character was sold, and played, as not only a genetic superhuman but as an exotic prince out of his time. That was the core of the original character's charisma and distinctiveness.
I'm sure my co-worker who sits across a conveyer belt five feet away from me every day would be surprised to learn that he is not a "real-life Sikh."
You're right that there are non-practicing Sikhs (in much the same way that I possess Christian beliefs but haven't been to church in years), but there are no such thing as "ethnic" Sikhs. The ethnic identity tied to the Sikh religion would be Punjabi; there is no Sikh ethnicity. Though, as I've said, not all Punjabi persons are Sikh, and there are non-Punjabi Sikhs as well since the religion does accept converts even from non-Punjabi persons.
AFAIK the phrase "ethnic Sikh" would mean someone who was born into a Sikh family but not necessarily practising themselves. It is in fact a common term not unlike "ethnic Jew." (There are to be sure practising members of both religions and more besides who would tell you "there's no such thing as an ethnic [Jew or Sikh or what have you].")
It still doesn't explain how McGivers recognizes him on sight as an ethnic Sikh.
Different timeline, different way of being introduced and different experiences prior to meeting Kirk and Company. Awake for a year and being under Marcus thumb likely had him knowing playing royalty wasn't going to work.
^ Yeah, and I'm not saying it's not valid for there to be differences between the two versions of the character. I'm just saying it's fallacious to pretend the differences aren't there.
McGivers does not, incidentally, identify him with a confidence as a Sikh on first sight in "Space Seed". She makes an educated and uncertain guess based on factors she doesn't disclose.
Would one of these non-practising Sikhs who shave and don't wear a turban be recognizable as a Sikh on-sight as Khan was? Not in a million years. THAT is my point. Not that he isn't a "prince out of time" or whatever. Was Khan Indian? That was the intention - although it was forgotten by Wrath of Khan, when the skin-darkening makeup was absent from Montalban and his followers turned into Aryan youths.
For what it's worth, here is relevant memo.
Is Khan ever identified as Sikh, ethnic or otherwise, outside of McGivers guesstimate?
I'm not sure there are too many people who are saying the differences aren't there. Just that they enjoy the job Cumberbatch did.
As I just pointed out, Khan wasn't in fact identified with confidence as a Sikh on sight. McGivers makes a guess, nothing more. The way the episode plays, I have the impression the conceit is supposed to be either that he looks vaguely Punjabi, or (more likely) that he looks vigorous and warrior-like to her and she's familiar with the Sikhs as having historically been great warriors.
(A shame they didn't listen to de Forest Research though, that episode would have been far better if they had!)
You know... I don't know, come to think of it. I'm thinking maybe not.
We keep arguing the Sikh thing and we're not even sure if he was ever positively identified as one. I love being a Trekkie!
EDIT: Looking at the transcripts from Chrissie's site, the word Sikh is only listed once and it's McGiver's line from "Space Seed".
Heh, amen to that.
(Although, they did give him the Singh surname. So I think they probably did intend him to be Sikh in some form.)
Outside of McGiver's guesstimate, there is never a nationality attributed to Khan in any appearance. So everyone's argument hinges on the how competent McGiver's is.
^ It's really why I think the whole tangent about Sikh-or-not-Sikh is ultimately a blind alley.
Rewatching Space Seed right now. Christ, McGivers is a doormat.
The problem with the Khan character in STID has little to do with race or being a Sikh or not. The problem is that, other than the name and the genetic engineering aspect, there is nothing recognizable about Khan in Benedict Cumberbatch's performance - or the way he was written.
Montalban played a handsome character who put on a charming performance as Khan, even if he was a dangerous psychopath. Cumberbatch's Khan is just a dangerous psychopath. With all due respect, he's not nearly as handsome and he's nearly not charming.
It's like he was cast as some different character altogether, then, right before shooting began, somebody handed him a new script that had Khan in it and he didn't have the time or inclination to actually change his performance to suit that character.
Of course, one can say that the character was changed in this reality beyond recognition. And if you're good with that, so be it. But for me, it makes it difficult to suspend my disbelief whatsoever.
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