When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.
We’ve known for a while that Benedict Cumberbatch (terrific in the BBC’s Sherlock) would be playing the as-yet-unnamed villain. Now we have a trailer to see him in action:
The only problem is, who is he? From the trailer he’s not recognizably any one character from the Star Trek universe we now. We know that he is “back” and that he wants “vengeance,” but what more? He seems to be wearing a Starfleet uniform at one point, but that could simply be a red herring.
- Gary Mitchell: A favored Internet theory, it seems. Mitchell appeared in a single episode of the old Trek as one of Kirk’s good friends accidentally imbued with ultimate power…and consequently corrupted ultimately. In many ways a “normal” man in the midst of a complicated transformation and emotional struggle. Cumberbatch as Mitchell would fit this well. Even so, he doesn’t exactly appear omnipotent here…
- Charlie X: A young man from an episode of the Original Series also imbued with semi-omnipotent powers. The Mitchell problem applies.
- Khan: That’s right, Khan. KHAAAAAANNNN!!! Shatner’s great nemesis from the 1960s episode “Space Seed” and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. If that is Cumberbatch making that superhuman jump in the trailer, he could well be the kind of genetically engineered villain that fits Khan’s mold. But he doesn’t look that bulky. And Khan is Ricardo Montalban, isn’t he?
- Garth of Izar: Possibly a longshot, but one that I’ve seen tossed around. Garth was a Starfleet Admiral who went insane and was locked away. His insanity or perceived need for vengeance could be what motivates the character in this film.
- Nero reborn: Though the first movie’s villain falls into a black hole at the end of Star Trek, this is, after all, the same franchise that famously brought Spock back from the dead. How Eric Bana turned into Benedict Cumberbatch? Well now, that’s anybody’s guess.
- Someone New: It is quite possible that Abrams and company have simply decided to create a new character rather than pay undue homage to the past. If they do so compellingly, I’m all for it. I simply hope, however, that they do not feel the need to always have a similar villain in every Trek film they make. Star Trek is not always about such standoffs (remember Star Trek IV?), and the filmmakers would be wise to remember this.
So, fellow Trekkies, who is this Benedict Cumberbatch antagonist? Someone I’ve mentioned, or another character from the series’ pantheon? I await your thoughts.