SFX Magazine (UK) has posted a new interview with writer Mike Johnson, who is writing the “Star Trek: Khan” comics for IDW. These issues will provide an origin story for Khan that tie directly into the events of “Star Trek Into Darkness.”
Johnson talks about the issues and, in particular, how he tried to bring some of both Ricardo Montalban and Benedict Cumberbatch to the character:
When you wrote it, did you see Ricardo Montalban or Benedict Cumberbatch?
Both. Yeah, I see them as both. Trying to capture what Montalban brought to the character which is kind of a charm, like he’s very sort of manipulative and charming in the original episode. But then in Into Darkness especially, he’s so angry, he’s like a bullet firing from a gun in that movie. And you’re gonna see why he is like that, because the scope of the mini-series will be the Eugenics wars, up and through the opening of Into Darkness. We’re going to see him get woken up. We’re going to see Admiral Marcus, and we’re going to see how John Harrison came to be. And a lot of that has to do with, not only why he looks different, but why he’s so angry.
There’s an unusual aspect to this in that you know what Khan will eventually become in the other timeline. Did The Wrath Of Khan version of the character inform this take on the character?
Yeah, definitely. I think there’s definitely a tendency with villains now to sort of excuse their behaviour. Like something bad happened to them when they were kids, their puppy died, or they didn’t get the Christmas present they wanted and that’s why they’re evil. I kind of like evil for evil’s sake, like some people are just bad dudes. And I think Khan, you know, you can sympathise with the fact that in Into Darkness at least he was woken up and his 72 brothers and sisters were being held hostage. In Wrath Of Khan, you can sympathise because he was left on the planet to die and he felt betrayed by Kirk. So you can sort of sympathise, but at the end of the day, he’s a megalomaniac who wants to take over the world. Or the galaxy. And I love that sort of straight, simple, direct some guys are just bad.
He must be a great character to write because he has strength, he has intelligence and he’s a brilliant villain.
Yeah, and I’m not as clever as he is. The challenge for any writer is trying to show how clever he can be, and it’s just keeping that in mind that he’s manipulative, and clever, and for all his strengths as an augment, all his physical strength, he’s mentally tougher too. He’s just mentally more accomplished than anybody he meets.
“Star Trek: Khan” launches Wednesday, October 16 and you can get issues at your local shop or via Comixology.