If Star Trek Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams had one regret with his film, it would be the way arch-nemesis Khan was introduced to the audience.
Speaking to MTV News, Abrams says that he would have liked to have introduced the character in the film differently but Paramount Pictures wanted to keep the secret to attract a larger audience.
The truth is I think it probably would have been smarter just to say upfront ‘This is who it is.’ It was only trying to preserve the fun of it, and it might have given more time to acclimate and accept that’s what the thing was. The truth is because it was so important to the studio that we not angle this thing for existing fans. If we said it was Khan, it would feel like you’ve really got to know what ‘Star Trek’ is about to see this movie,” he said. “That would have been limiting. I can understand their argument to try to keep that quiet, but I do wonder if it would have seemed a little bit less like an attempt at deception if we had just come out with it.
The clip from the interview can be seen below:
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I don’t have a problem with how they tried to fool the audience into thinking Khan was John Harrison. I do have a problem with it having been the worst kept secret in Hollywood this past Spring. Everyone in Trekdom knew that Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Khan despite the weak denials to the contrary.
It wasn’t that they tried to keep the secret; it’s that the keeping of this secret was done so poorly. If they were going to keep the secret, they should have really locked it down–like they’ve done with every other Trek film (including J.J.’s first Trek). That, or they should have just made John Harrison a stand-alone character and built the story that way. I think that would have been more compelling, honestly.