One of the worst kept secrets in recent Hollywood memory was that Benedict Cumberbatch had been cast as Khan in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek Into Darkness." Not only was Cumberbatch listed as Khan on the film's IMDb page before "Star Trek Into Darkness" was even released, but the notion that Khan was the "Star Trek" villain pre-dated the actor's involvement: Both Vulture and Latino Review reported that the famed "Star Trek" baddie was the sequel's antagonist back in December of 2011, a full 17 months before "Star Trek Into Darkness" opened in theaters.
Despite all of that existing information, Abrams and Paramount, the studio behind the film's release, hid Cumberbatch's identity. Speaking to MTV's Josh Horowitz in a recent interview, Abrams admitted that may have been an error.
"The truth is I think it probably would have been smarter just to say upfront '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," Abrams said. "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. That would have been limiting. 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."
Abrams admission contradicts at least one report about the "Star Trek Into Darkness" marketing campaign. Back in May, before the "Into Darkness" release, Badass Digest's Devin Faraci wrote that "there was a move to reveal [Khan] during March Madness, but that never happened." How close that was to being a reality, however, is unclear: Faraci made no mention of the scrapped Khan campaign in writing about Abrams' recent comments to MTV.
For more on Abrams, including his thoughts on who should direct "Star Trek 3," head to MTV.