(***some spoiler photos lie ahead, and even more spoilers abound if you scan the Internet, including one that may show the outcome of the above scene that is not shown or discussed below)
Will this be the year of Benedict Cumberbatch? The star of the BBC’s successful TV series Sherlock also was tapped to play the villain in The Hobbit, and not soon afterward was tapped to be the villain in the next Star Trek movie. This week the Web was bombarded with the first released set photos from the 12th entry in the Star Trek film franchise. But still no word yet from the studio on the nature of Cumberbatch’s character. But that won’t stop some spirited speculation from the fan base.
Early on rumors surfaced that J.J. Abrams might be thinking of a reprise of Ricardo Montalban’s Khan from the original series and the second Trek movie. Javier Bardem was supposedly signed up for the role as an unspecified villain, but then backed away. Is it possible much younger Cumberbatch was selected for the same villain role? It would seem unlikely Abrams would risk a Khan remake. We know from Star Trek 2009 that Abrams did take steps to cast at least similar looking actors for roles played by other actors previously in the franchise, such as Spock’s father Sarek. Cumberbatch may be a similar villain, but seems like an unlikely choice as Khan.
But the new photos definitely show both strength–withstanding a Vulcan nerve pinch–and a certain level of… derangement?
Is it possible that Cumberbatch will reprise an original series character like the imbalanced Commodore Matt Decker? The official Star Trek magazine’s most recent issue featured a history of Starfleet characters who went a little mad. Is that a coincidence, or something to prepare us all for our next favorite Trek villain?
Arguing against that line of thought is Cumberbatch’s outfit. He appears to be wearing standard slacks and a black Starfleet shirt similar to James T. Kirk’s in Star Trek 2009, before Kirk was promoted as second-in-command of the Enterprise. Yet this same shirt appears to be standard dress under all male Starfleet officers’ uniforms… so maybe he just removed his color-identifying tunic and that doesn’t help sleuth out much here.
Will Abrams address the cornerstone of the new movie series–fixing the timeline? If so, could we see a visit from Captain Braxton, the timecop from Star Trek Voyager?
Note the Starfleet emblem on Cumberbatch's chest
Better yet, has Abrams decided to break away into his own new stories and leave all original secondary characters behind? If so, this may just be a new disenfranchised Starfleet crewmen who is just a little tired of Spock’s logic. Speaking of logic, does anyone else think it odd that the master of controlling his emotions is yet again seen a bit out of control?
We also can see the new production will be saving money on uniforms, choosing to keep the same costumes and props from the last film instead of mixing it up a bit. This was a common money-saving move of prior Trek films.
Confirmation that Zoe Saldana will return as Uhura
There’s really just one thing this fan is hoping for: Klingons. Isn’t it time to face the #1 nemesis of the original crew? And how about a visit from Nurse Chapel and Yeoman Rand? And some more outworld aliens like we saw in the Riverside, Iowa bar scene, like Lieutenant Arex from the animated series–who can finally realistically be depicted in a live action film?
Ultimately we won’t know until the movie premieres in 2013, and hopefully the studio won’t leak too many more images before then. It’s like eating a cake before it has been baked. More often than not studios tend to show you the entire movie in the previews, and who wants that?