Paramount Pictures has announced that the next Star Trek movie will come out June 29, 2012 (more than three years after the previous film came out; in the original movie series, the only comparable gaps were the slightly-less-than-three-years between ST6:TUC and ST:G and the four years between ST:I and ST:N; all of the other movies came out at intervals of two or two-and-a-half years).
John Cho, who plays Sulu in the rebooted movies, recently added his name to the rather long list of those who think the next Star Trek movie should bring back Khan Noonian Singh, claiming that Khan would be "badass". And I think this would be a bad, bad idea.
Incidentally, it does not seem that all that many actual Trekkies want Khan to come back in the next movie. It appears that Khan is simply so well-known among the population at large that it is just generally assumed that the next movie HAS to have Khan for its villain, the same way it was generally assumed that, e.g., the follow-up to Batman Begins just HAD to have the Joker for its primary villain. (Of course, no one has stopped to ask whether the next Star Trek movie even needs a villain, period. The biggest box-office hit of the original series, ST4:TVH, didn't have a villain.) So, if the new Star Trek movies are being made with an eye towards non-Trekkies, the fact that Trekkies DON'T want Khan to come back may be neither here nor there as far as the filmmakers' plans are concerned.
Anyway. Here's one reason why bringing back Khan would be a bad idea: The new movies are taking place on an alternate timeline that branches off from shortly before the birth of James T. Kirk. And when Khan was first introduced in the original series, he was in suspended animation and had been so for over two centuries. So that means Khan, in this new timeline, is currently in suspended animation RIGHT NOW, and Kirk-Pine would have to find Khan in pretty much the exact same condition that Kirk-Shatner found him in. Among other things, this means that Khan will NOT be the vengeful Captain Ahab that he was in ST2:TWOK; he simply doesn't have any of that history yet, i.e. the history of being resuscitated by Kirk, seducing one of Kirk's crewmembers, trying to take over the Enterprise, being left on Ceti Alpha V by Kirk, witnessing the death of his wife and many other followers when Ceti Alpha VI explodes, and nursing his hatred of Kirk for years afterwards. The Khan of the original series was a rather different character, who may have been somewhat "badass" on some level or other, but he wasn't what most people think of now when they think of "KHAAAAAAAN!"
Here's another reason: Spock-Nimoy actually DIED because of Khan. (And then he was resurrected by the Genesis Wave.) Spock-Nimoy has now come back in time and knows where all these future threats lie (and not just Khan, but V'Ger, the Whale Probe, etc., etc., etc.). If Spock-Nimoy DOESN'T warn Starfleet or Spock-Quinto about all these various threats, then that, in a nutshell, would be lame. Very, very lame. At any rate, there is no reason why anybody should be "surprised" when they come across Khan on this new timeline, the way they were when they came across him on the original timeline.
Here's another reason: The whole point of Khan, originally, was that he came from the 20th century. I repeat: He came from the 20th century. Not the 21st century, which is where we are now, but the 20th century. Back in the 1960s, when the character was invented, it was established that Khan had been a genetically-engineered super-human who ruled a vast swath of the Earth's population for several years in the 1990s ... and then, when he and his followers were deposed, they fled our planet in one of those large "sleeper" ships that we use to get from planet to planet within our solar system. ...Oh, wait, what's that? We DIDN'T use sleeper ships in the 1990s, and we didn't use them in the 2000s either, and now that we're in the 2010s we STILL don't have any plans to use them in the immediate future? Oops. Now, of course, no one expected the Star Trek franchise to last this long, and to keep on churning out new stories nearly 50 years after the series first began. And back in the 1960s, the 1990s must have sounded pretty futuristic (but without being TOO futuristic; like I say, the whole point of Khan, originally, was that he came from the 20th century, i.e. OUR century). So I don't hold any of this against the original episode. But details like these HAVE created anomalies that the other Star Trek shows have had to steer around (e.g., when the cast of Star Trek: Voyager was sent back in time to North America in 1996, they never mentioned that Khan is supposed to be ruling a huge section of Asia at that time). Do the makers of the new movie actually want to open this can of worms, either by acknowledging the continuity problems OR by ignoring the existing continuity altogether?
Here's another reason: Does the new movie series want to be its own thing, or is it forever going to be aping the original series? Granted, this is a problem that has plagued other branches of this franchise; when Star Trek: The Next Generation made the jump to the big screen, its first two movies were tied to the original series and used time-travel to make this connection (ST:G featured Kirk, Scotty and Chekov, as played by the original actors; while ST:FC featured Zefram Cochrane, as played by a brand-new actor), but its next two movies were NOT connected to the original series, and they are generally regarded as two of the weakest and least successful Star Trek movies ever made. So keeping the new movies tethered to the original series makes a certain sense, on that level; it keeps things within a certain "safety zone". But then, if all Abrams and company are doing is a sort of karaoke version of the original series, can we really say the series is boldly going anywhere any more?
Anyway. There are probably other reasons I could mention, but these are the first that come to mind. Anyone else have any others? Or, conversely, does anyone have any reasons why adding Khan to the mix would be a GOOD thing?
Edited by Peter T Chattaway, 05 December 2012 - 08:05 PM.