Star Trek: Into Darkness Is Being Particularly Coy About Their Next Villain — Who Is John Harrison?

J. J. Abrams and the other fine folk associated with Star Trek: Into Darkness are playing their cards preeeetty close to their chests as far as this sequel goes. They’ve already released a promo trailer, screenshots, and press releases, but we still don’t know which Star Trek villain Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing alongside Zachary Quinto‘s Spock andChris Pine’s Kirk.

As someone who only watched the TV show growing up, and has a vague and variant knowledge of the movies up until 2009, I am the lowest sort of Trekkie. I would honestly be ashamed to even use the term to describe myself, but I had a true connection with the characters from Next Generation, so I’m clinging to it. So I’m the bottom of the totem pole of ‘people this would be interesting to’, and it’s still interesting to me. So just imagine how tantalizing this is to the true fans out there. J.J., you are playing a coy, dangerous game and I love it.

Partly based on the above screenshot, there are two main predictions for who the villain is for this film. The first prediction is that he’s Gary Mitchell. Gary appeared in the third episode of the first season of the original series, and he was a friend of Kirk’s. However, when the ship passes through a strange barrier, Gary is imbued with powers of telepathy and telekinesis, which make him aggressive toward the rest of the crew. He believes himself to be a god, and becomes impossible to reason with, forcing Kirk to maroon him on a planet, and ultimately kill him. Because the two are friends, it stands to reason that they could have a touching personal moment through a pane of glass.

OR. This villain could be Khan. Annnnd I’m pretty sure it is, as he’s a legit enough villain to warrant this level of secrecy. It matches up because the screen shot mirrors one from the 1982 film The Wrath of Khan, in which Spock exposes himself to a lethal dose of radiation to save the ship from its imminent demise. Imminent…demise. Doesn’t that sound like a better movie than a movie about Kirk’s friend who we met, gave ESP, and killed in the same episode? I think so. And even though the lateRicardo Montalban was epic as Khan back in 1982, it’s been thirty years — it could definitely be time for a respectful reboot. Oh and just to prove it’s someone badass, the following caption was released as a companion to the picture at the top of this page:

(Left to right) Zachary Quinto is Spock, Benedict Cumberbatch is John Harrison and Chris Pine is Kirk in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions.

‘John Harrison’ is not a name from Star Trek, and it doesn’t make sense for the studio to mess around with a new villain when you have a fan base as rabid as the Trekkies…so if we’re making up names, shit is real. Shit. Is. Real. They have no reason to make up a fake name for Gary Mitchell, since hardly anyone knows who that is, unless they’re huge fans of the series. And finally, just in case you needed any more hints that it’s Khan, Cumberbatch called his character both ‘iconic’ and ‘memorable’.

Yup. I’m saying it’s him. I could be wrong, but if I am, I won’t be KHHHHAAAAAAAAAN-ed again! Yeah, you like that? I’ll be here all week.

(Images: Screen Rant)

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    • SuperNerdSTFUper

      I say all Star Trek super nerds should stfu and accept the new name, Kahn’s character in the original never had a name. You can say all the want that, Kahn is his real name, but I’m sure it was his bad guy or clan name. So a Reboot series normally has Rebooted info that does not need to stay true to the original… otherwise it would be called an A-B remake…. He will probably still adopt the name Kahn if that is what this movie is about.. But just cause its the second movie, does not mean it has to be the same as the second 80′s movie.

      • http://www.facebook.com/johnsob20 Brandon Johnson

        Except Khan Noonien Singh was a Sikh from Northern India in the 20th century involved in the Eugenics Wars. Yes, Khan is his real name. And even with the rebooted timeline, what happened in the Eugenics Wars was not affected, so if Khan was coming back, he’d still be the same exact Khan. This character is NOT Khan, and that is blatantly clear.

      • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.bagnall.7 Matthew Bagnall

        Indeed… in fact the way they are playing this, it has to be either;

        Gary Mitchell
        Spock’s brother Sybok
        Kirk’s brother

        It has to be a family member or someone close to them both, especially given that Spock is there, meaning that whatever the reason for the bad guy being here relates to Spock and Kirk.

      • http://www.ryanstake.net RyansTake

        Or Spock could be there because he’s, you know.. Kirk’s first officer. Just saying.

        I thought it was Gary Mitchell for the longest time, but I don’t get why the name would be changed and it’s still Gary Mitchell…

        I’m starting to think either it’s a completely new character, or the people who have picked up on the “John Harrison” who Khan killed in the Episode Space seed are right, and he was a guy in Khan’s group who… in this version of the time line… becomes the leader of that group.

        The ads from the show depict Cumberbatch making almost super-powered jumps and carrying giant weapons in one hand, but I suppose it’s possible that a broad vision was taken with what the ‘enhanced genetics’ of Khan’s people were capable of doing.

      • asawolf

        If you had watch the episode space seed you’d know that Khan had a name, and was in the history books. He controlled most Earth during the eugenics War. so your whole argument is totally bogus. And in this new timeline young Kirk has NEVER met Khan so how can he have revenge? In ST2 there was already a history between Khan and Kirk that can’t excist in this new movie. NOw if one really listens to the clues you’ll realize that this new villain must be Gary Mitchell. Now let’s leave Khan in the past where he belongs..

    • Billy Bob Bubba

      @SuperNerdSTFUper …..glad we got THAT cleared up.

      He has the powers of Mitchell but the agenda of Khan. Either they’re a merging, or its a retooling of Gary. Khan was super strong but never had supernatural powers and was never involved in Starfleet (thus wouldn’t be wearing a uniform)….Gary was involved in starfleet AND had super mental powers. Plus Gary’s girlfriend has nearly the same hair style as the girl depicted in the trailer giving Kirk goo goo eyes. So a retooling of Gary is more likely than Khan.

    • rstanley

      please don’t let it be khan…..i love you benedict, but…..no. making ben’s character khan is wrong on so many levels and just screws them over with the trekkie fanbase. I mean seriously, it’s a REALLY bad move to make the second movie a Khan movie again. and…i’m pretty sure that Khan isn’t a bad guy you sympathize with. he’s not a good bad guy. Khan’s just plain BAD.

    • Jessica Napier

      Also, that second pick is clearly of Benedict Cumberbatch and Spock, not Kirk. Kirk is wearing command gold, Spock is in blue. Even if it is Gary Mitchel, that pic is not of him having a moment with Kirk.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Bulvyf Danny Bennett

      It’s not Khan or Gary Mitchell. It’s Data. They are giving plenty of hints. He carries a large weapon so he’s obviously strong. Gary Mitchell didn’t need a weapon since he had brain superpowers. He’s wearing a Starfleet uniform. A blue uniform. The texture on his uniform also appears more futuristic. Just saying. He’s either Dr. Soong himself or he is Data. Or, it may be that both will be played by Cumberbatch. Remember that Dr. Soong had several identities in Next Generation. Also, Abrams mentions identifying with the characters of Next Generation. With Dr. Soong/Data you get a “good” bad guy.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Bulvyf Danny Bennett

        The story is probably that he came to this timeline when it diverged from the “real” timeline because of the portal that destroyed the Kelvin. Data was probably intercepted en route or went haywire. He could also have been reprogrammed. Kirk and Spock are probably trying to figure out what and who he is. You have to admit that the new Star Trek could really use both a Data and a Spock.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Bulvyf Danny Bennett

        The story is probably that he came to this timeline when it diverged from the “real” timeline because of the portal that destroyed the Kelvin. Data was probably intercepted en route or went haywire. He could also have been reprogrammed. Kirk and Spock are probably trying to figure out what and who he is. You have to admit that the new Star Trek could really use both a Data and a Spock.

      • Pappy

        It’s not Data – there’s a photo showing Spock doing a nerve pinch take-down on John Harrison (that’s a non-starter with an android). My best guess: It’s a variation of Gary Mitchell — the blonde is Carol Marcus, the “cute little lab technician” he aimed at Kirk and whom Kirk almost married. Not sure if she will carry some of the Sally Kellerman (Dr. Elizabeth Daner) weight on this re-boot, and whether she will end up carrying Kirk’s child into the alternate timeline – what if this time it’s a girl isntead of a boy?!? Lots of possibilities here…

    • http://www.facebook.com/Bulvyf Danny Bennett

      It’s not Khan or Gary Mitchell. It’s Data. They are giving plenty of hints. He carries a large weapon so he’s obviously strong. Gary Mitchell didn’t need a weapon since he had brain superpowers. He’s wearing a Starfleet uniform. A blue uniform. The texture on his uniform also appears more futuristic. Just saying. He’s either Dr. Soong himself or he is Data. Or, it may be that both will be played by Cumberbatch. Remember that Dr. Soong had several identities in Next Generation. Also, Abrams mentions identifying with the characters of Next Generation. With Dr. Soong/Data you get a “good” bad guy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jasonkorenthal Jason Korenthal

      Trekker, not trekkie. It’s the difference between Pole and Polach. Super offensive!

      • Anonymous

        It’s not “supper offensive” because trekkers or trekkies have not been the subject of racism or discrimination. Thanks for playing!

      • http://www.ryanstake.net RyansTake

        I get that you were making a ‘serious’ point off of someone’s (pretty obvious to me) humor…. but you should think a little more broadly.

        Racism? Certainly not. You’re right about that, thank goodness.

        Discrimination? That’s a much different story. Plenty a nerd and geek has been picked on, some severely so, up to and including even to the point of suicide.

        When bullying isn’t a serious issue, you can go back to making your very serious points and be right on the merits.

    • http://www.facebook.com/caleb.a.horn Caleb Andrew Horn

      “an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization… a one man weapon of mass destruction.”- from the IMDb summary. I’m thinking it’s an original character but one who receives the same treatment/abilities as Mitchell.

    • Doug

      Except that John Harrison IS a character from Star Trek. He was one of the background characters that Khan asphyxiated on the bridge.

      I think Abrams is trying to show that, in his alternate timeline, background characters we never heard about in TOS can suddenly become the focus of the plot…that your average “red shirt” is only ever one twist of fate away from becoming an action figure and a Comic-con costume contest winner.

      • Pappy

        Could it be the guy from the Eugenics Wars, Colonel Green? Or perhaps John Harrison (the guy asphyxiated on the bridge in “Space Seed”) was one of Colonel Green’s acolytes who got himself souped up by some eugenics formula to become an ‘optimal’ super soldier? Very intriguing – it will be interesting to learn who it is.

      • Asawolf

        One problem that happened years after Kirk and Khan met. this young KIrk has never met Khan, and knows nothing about the Botany Bay that is still drifting through space with her crew in suspended annimation. this John Harrison would be just a child in this time frame, and years from being asphyxiated by Khan. so explain to me how he could get his revenge?????

    • G-raff

      It’s obvious that the villain is Sherlock Holmes!

    • smallsoapdish

      I think the biggest clue that we’re dealing with a genetic engineering plot and fallout from the Eugenics Wars is in the nine-minute trailer. Cumberbatch’s character offers to help a critically ill child, and we can assume that his help involves illegal genetic engineering. During the Enterprise series, all genetic engineering was banned on Earth, even genetic research used to cure critical illnesses. Archer, in the scene where he’s talking to Dr. Arik Soong , says he hopes that research into genetic engineering will be resumed in future in order to cure life-threatening diseases. Hence the set-up in Into Darkness with the critically ill child, and Cumberbatch offering his help to the desperate parent, which is pretty obviously going to involve currently illegal genetic engineering.

      Whether or not this means that Cumberbatch’s character is Khan, though, I’m not sure. I think when Benicio del Toro turned down the role, they may have rewritten the movie from one centered around a Khan villain to something slightly different, with a villain Cumberbatch could convincingly play.

      So who is Cumberbatch’s character? Crackpot theory time! Perhaps he’s another in the long line of Soongs, a descendant of Dr. Arik Soong, who has inherited Arik’s research work, which we know was kept for the future and not destroyed (as stated in Enterprise). This next generation Dr. Soong is illegally continuing Arik Soong’s work in genetic engineering, and one of the things he’s done in his work is enhanced his own strength and mental abilities (and megalomania). Or maybe the Soongs have started their cybernetic research and he has cybernetic implants that make him super strong. He could choose to go by John Harrison because of the notoriety of his family name.

      Now, the question is why would this Dr. Soong become a supervillain in the new timeline, instead of just quietly working on genetic engineering and/or cybernetics illegally and undiscovered? What could have changed? Well, as suggested, Botany Bay could have been discovered earlier in the new timeline. But what I can’t work out is a way that having Khan and company show up, or all be killed by the Federation, could influence Dr. Soong so strongly that he decides to destroy the Federation. Unless he needed their augmented DNA to fulfill his plans for genetic engineering? Still, doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to go ballistic on the Federation. Then again, considering the stuff that happened in the first JJ Abrams movie…well, we probably shouldn’t assume the plot has to make a lot of sense.

      Alternately, Cumberbatch’s character may be one of the other genetic augments from the Botany Bay, if not Khan himself. Or he could be a descendant of Khan or one of the other augments who escaped detection/capture on Earth somehow, and who snaps when the Botany Bay is found and the Federation is somehow responsible for their deaths.

      So many possibilities! Anybody want to help me out here with my half-formed ideas?

      In the end, though, I don’t believe it will be quite as simple as “Cumberbatch is playing Khan”. Something to do with him being a genetic augment, and genetic engineering, and the Botany Bay and her occupants, and people/embryos left over from the Eugenics Wars, yes.

      • Asawolf

        One big flaw. Khan would never help a sick child. He had no compassion in him. Now Gary Mitchell would.
        .

    • mark

      Is EVERYBODY colored blind? The hands on glass would be harrison and spock, if colors matter. There may actually be some moment of redemption for our villian, who knows. Hope there is some twist that allows us to find out it is a character we know but events were different this time around (maybe alternate spock gave them info. that caused someone to take drastic measures to prevent an event from happening, but indirectly makes it almost worse).
      It will be fun to find out.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000602991810 Avi Russell

      There is a suggestion that I find interesting, John Harrison is android and thinks Harry Mudd is his Father.

    • Loki Laufeyson

      Why does everyone assume that the hands thru the glass scene is two main characters? Especially, considering its JJ Abrams. Couldn’t it as likely be our villain (who is seen wearing a blue uniform) and his creator or mentor (assuming he’s an augment) after he kills him?

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