JJ Abrams on hiding Benedict Cumberbatch's Star Trek role

News Simon Brew
3 Dec 2013 - 06:38

JJ Abrams looks back at attempts to keep Star Trek Into Darkness spoilers under wraps, and his slight regret at doing so...

The story contains spoilers for Star Trek Into Darkness.

By the time Benedict Cumberbatch's character, John Harrison, finally revealed himself to be Khan in last summer's Star Trek Into Darkness, a pretty constant war had been raging for months to keep the spoiler under wraps. Director JJ Abrams was one of a few who had been relatively adamant that Cumberbatch wouldn't be playing Khan in the film. And in a new interview with MTV, he's chatted about why - even when strong rumours started to circulate - they continued to protect the identity of Cumberbatch's role.

"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", Abrams said. That didn't stop Paramount ruining the surprise to an extent by listing Cumberbatch as Khan on the back of the DVD and Blu-ray packaging for Star Trek Into Darkness though.

"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", he admitted. "The truth is that I think it probably would have been smarter just to say up front '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".

In truth, it's hard to say it's a bad thing that the team behind a film worked so hard to keep a spoiler under wraps. The other thing we'd note is that at the screenings of Star Trek Into Darkness we went to, nobody seemed in the slightest bit surprised when the reveal came. But then, were they all onto a loser from the start in trying to protect their secret?

It matters not now, of course. But we'd be quite happy if Abrams continued to try and protect plot and character spoilers for his films.

As for a director for the next Star Trek film, Abrams didn't shoot down the rumour that Attack The Block's Joe Cornish was the man in the frame. "I don't know if Joe Cornish is the guy. My guess is that's up in the air. I adore him and love him and can't wait to see what he does next", Abrams said.

More on the next Star Trek film as we hear it...


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