July 21 2024


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Orci: Why This Certain Villain

2 min read

Star Trek into Darkness Co-writer Roberto Orci explained why a certain villain was included in the film.

According to Orci, the villain was a result of wanting to relate to Star Trek history. Spoilers behind the cut for those who haven’t yet seen the film.

“[Damon Lindelof] argued for Khan from the beginning and I argued against it,” said Orci. “The compromise that we came to was, let us devise a story that is not reliant on any history of Star Trek. So, what’s the story? Well, we have a story where our crew is who they are and they’re coming together as a family. Then, suddenly, this villain arrives and his motivations are based on what happens in the movie. They’re not based on history. They’re not based on Star Trek. They’re not based on anything that came before. They’re based on his used by a corrupted system of power that held the things he held dear against him and tried to manipulate him. That story stands alone with or without Star Trek history. That’s how we approached it, and God bless Damon for going down that road.”

However, Lindelof was persistent when it came to wanting Khan. “So, once we had that, that’s when Damon came back and reared his ugly head and said, ‘OK, now that we have that, is there any reason why we cannot bring Star Trek history into this?’ And he was right,” said Orci. “So we ended up sort of reverse engineering it. We started with, ‘What’s a good movie? What’s a good villain? What’s a good motivation? We cannot rely on what’s happened before. Now that we have that, can we tailor this villain into something that relates to Star Trek history?’ And that’s what we did. So, step one was ‘Don’t rely on Star Trek.’ Then, step two was ‘Rely on Star Trek.'”

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35 thoughts on “Orci: Why This Certain Villain

  1. Personally, I thought it could have worked just fine without Khan, but now I understand that Lindelof had to get Khan out of his system.

  2. let us devise a story that is not reliant on any history of Star Trek

    not Reliant. heh.

  3. This just confirms to me that Lindelof is little more than a hack, and the sooner he gets out of Trek the better.

  4. Ah.
    I believe this franchise needs a Lindehofectomy.
    Note that the entire Lindehof need not be removed; the head alone will suffice. The rest will simply slough away.

  5. Well, that does explain a few things in terms of choices, but they weren’t successful in their first goal. Wrath of Khan had earned Spock’s death more within itself than this entire reboot earned Kirk’s death… or even a fake one… which is why, once they decided to go with a Khan that had no motivation (other than some dodgey bit with Section 31 that doesn’t hold up under scrutiny), they realized the only way to actually try to infuse it with any emotion whatsoever was to bring in Spock Prime and follow that up with cribbed dialogue from TWOK itself… but in a Shyamalanesque, “what a twist!”, they give everything to Kirk instead of Spock… oooooh… mind blowing. Or not.

    John (not McCain) and I were talking in another article about Generations going wrong from the start because they deemed it necessary to pass the torch, as it were (seven seasons redefining first run syndication not being enough), and I think this film went wrong from the moment they decided they had to use Khan… They followed that up with horrid choice after horrid choice… but it was built on a foundation that was never going to hold…

    But I’ll ask again, why did any of them feel compelled to use Khan in the first place, when the expressed purpose of this “alternate” is to free them? Freed from quality storytelling, writing, and drama perhaps.

    Imagine what a Star Trek movie made by people that actually like Star Trek would be like with a budget like this…………….. Now snap back to reality… That sort of thinking is a Nexus in itself.

  6. While I agree that it could have worked without him being Kahn (just a different one of the augments instead), I think he did a great job portraying the character.

  7. Using Kahn has now presented the greatest point that why Orci’s claims that this version is an alternat timeline AFTER Nero is crap, unless Nero was powerful enough to change Kahn’s race? Just admit it has been an alternate universe all along and let’s move on!

  8. They should have kept Khan on ice and used a different augment, it still would have worked for their plot; Harrison trying to save his father figure. It would also add a layer of greater menace…if Khan’s henchman could cause such chaos, imagine if the Devil himself awoke.

  9. I’m fine with Khan. I like Cumberbatch. But I’m not ok with the casting of a white man in this role.

  10. Yeah! Doesn’t everyone know it’s racist to have a white guy portraying an Indian? Sheesh… We should be more culturally respectful. If anyone should play Khan it should be another Mexican………….

  11. See, I think that actually would’ve worked better. Not only could it have functioned in every way as currently, but it could set up a future story with Khan… There’s nothing to say they should’ve won in this movie and his augment friend gotten away with Khan and co. Or not, but not having it directly be Khan would’ve been better… Oh… and not having the blood be some stupid miracle device… But they went fluff and spectacle and, yeah, total fanwank.

    I just don’t know what would’ve been wrong with making a post TNG movie.

  12. Because in a world where every other away team gets there appearances changed, facial surgery to cover up the identity of a historical war criminal is totally out of place…

  13. Well, at least Ricardo Montalban had the skin tone…well, no, he looked kind of white too…in the movie. Oh well.

  14. A post TNG movie would have flopped; Nemesis was the nail in that coffin.

  15. lol, I’m not always a world dominating megalomaniac… but when I am………

    Nah, your above idea about a different augment was probably the way to go if they wanted to include Khan at all.

  16. Well, this is what I thought it would be after all those hints in the trailers…especially showing cryotubes…dead giveaway. Was a good action movie, even if they had the U.S.S. Fanwank in the film…with it’s ultra-super-mega-terra-gigaguns; The Big E got royally pounded by that…wait a minute…dual phallus gun? Wth JJ.

  17. I call BS. I didn’t say a TNG based post-TNG movie… I mean literally post TNG. The idea that you simply cannot tell stories in the ST universe beyond 2383 or something like that is preposterous. If JJ Abrams and company actually wanted to tell fresh, unfettered stories, as they claim, they would’ve started from there or gone forward even farther… it was not to return to TOS.

  18. I tried to avoid most of the trailers as trailers have been more and more spoilery the last decade or so…

    I thought it might be Khan, just based on what Karl Urban said (btw, any news on how pissed they were with him over leaking Khan 9 months early?).

  19. Well, to that I say, if it were something that would bring in money, they would have done that instead of doing an TOS reboot. I’d love to see what happens next too, but CBS calls the shots…we just have to be patient. This will open reopen doors for the franchise for sure..

  20. Heh, I’m sure JJ blew a gasket…seeing as he is strict about controlling all outgoing info on his movies.

  21. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on the omniscience of studio’s proper handling of their franchises, CBS/Paramount, in particular here. Interesting to note, CBS was actually not on board the JJ train, it was revealed recently. He wanted to do Trek tv within, presumably, his retconned universe, and they weren’t interested. Paramount has the film rights, CBS has the tv rights after their split into two entities. Unfortunately, I think the movie wing saw what had happened, both in terms of the movies and Enterprise and concluded they needed a break.

    But I believe they made a fundamental misreading of what was going on therein… The Star Trek fans are fine seeing great Star Trek every week on tv and every year on the big screen in one form or another for the rest of our lives. What we aren’t content with is lackluster Star Trek, and that’s what Nemesis and the tv property had become because of the tired people running the show. The people putting out great Trek in 1992 were putting out trash by 2002. It wasn’t Trek fans being uninterested, it was the producers botching it all and then handing over the last movie to a guy, just like JJ Abrams, that had no interest in the Star Trek that had come before… again, by his own admission. If only we could get people doing Star Trek that actually like Star Trek, think of the possibilities…. But they went with Abrams after Baird…

    I think the only reason they went with a TOS reboot is because that was what the team they wanted wanted… And the only reason JJ Abrams really wanted a reboot was because, by his own admission, he didn’t like Star Trek. So, he saw his opportunity to do what he thought he’d never get a chance to do… a Star Wars movie, even to the point of turning James Kirk into an anti-hero of sorts, rather than the straight up hero he was.

    But if that same team had said, look, we want to take Star Trek another 75 year jump down the road and see what we come up with and then launch a tv property off of it, I bet they would’ve had better success with CBS… But, there again, I think CBS thinks there will be a time when they can launch a ST show on network tv and draw 10 million people… and that’s delusional. But if they were to take one of their shithole cable properties, like Spike, and relaunch it around a Star Trek series, they’d probably draw 5 to 8 million people, which would be gangbusters for basic cable… Instead, they’ll probably relaunch, it’ll get those ratings, and they’ll cancel it…

    My faith in Star Trek is eternal, my faith in the people that control Star Trek is eternally shaky.

  22. Except for the fact that in the JJverse, Khan apparently isn’t all that historically famous. When Khan is revealed in Space Seed, they immediately recognize that it’s fricken Khan Noonien Singh, genetically engineered warlord of the 20th Century’s Eugenics Wars… Spock has to call Nimoy’s Spock and ask if he’s ever even heard of the guy… Quite a change from Khan’s original introduction to things.

  23. For me this movie wasn’t that bad – it’s just not ‘real’ Star Trek anymore.

    Unfortunately the approach to the movie (step 1, step 2…) was a lame one:

    Put several items from previous Star Trek movies and TV Series into the blender with this ‘non-Star Trek History’ plot and there you go. I mean, c’mon:
    – “They gave her back to me.” Pike to Kirk – ring any bells? Kirk to Scotty in TMP anyone…?

    – Starfleet Admiral wants to take control of it all – DS9 ‘Homefront’, ‘Paradise Lost’?
    – Starfleet Admiral and others want to start a war with the Klingons – ST:VI?
    – Section 31 – ENT, DS9
    – Scotty sabotaging the ‘bigger and better ship’ – ummm, ST:III, USS Excelsior?
    …throw in the Star Trek ingredients later and see what happens. I mean, Earth, Space, the Ships, the Klingons (now a mix of traditional Klingons and SG-1 Jaffa) – it just no longer feels like ‘Trek’ at all. And yes, IF it was an alternate universe, it started LONG before Nero…!
    Star Trek has lost it’s heritage – now it’s just a nice Sci-Fi Movie. Shame…

  24. Well, one thing JJ accomplished, and it is something that was sorely needed, he got youth to go watch Trek. You may just get the more cerebral Trek you like as that crowds tastes mature. One thing is certain, Trek is part of pop culture, it will never truly go away. So we older Trekkies will have it till the day we pass on.

  25. Wouldn’t it be DS?

    But, whew…. I was worried about you for a few days there… I’m glad to see you’re back in true form and at full idiot capacity.

    Care to discuss Star Trek while you’re here? No? Okay, didn’t think so, but worth a shot.

  26. Want to do a little irony cha-cha?
    George Lucas lobbied Paramount hard to let him make a Star Trek movie, because he is a Star Trek fan. But they didn’t, and so he went off and made Star Wars.
    Now, we have JJ Abrams who wanted to do Star Wars in the first place, couldn’t at the time, and is NOT a fan of Star Trek, and the studio comes to -him- to make a Star Trek movie.
    Pardon me. Is that your beer? Mind if I cry in it? Thanks ever so much.

  27. Until this travesty actually came out, I was happy… I thought JJ Abrams could make a good Star Wars movie, and that making SW would get him away from Star Trek… And while I do believe the latter to still be true, the simple fact is, this movie has given me grave reservations about his capacity to do a SW movie, even though he actually likes it… Can we possibly expect anything other than the most puerile fanwank imaginable? Abrams may force us, pun intended, to look back on the Prequel Trilogy with fondness… I really hope that’s not the case, but STD (into is a preposition that can be dropped, and after reflection, this acronym more accurately describes how I feel after seeing Star Trek Into Darkness…), has given me no hope… I guess it’s good I still have a new one…

  28. See, that’s the problem right there, Trek has lasted so long and has so much material that every possible plot has been done. That is the albatross that any director or writer has to deal with when taking it on. Even the series took plot points from previous series and sprinkled them around in other episodes. In many respects, Trek is its own worst enemy. Now literally using lines from the other movies was just plain lazy writing imho, but that is present in other movies too.

    Losing it’s heritage? It will evolve as is needed to be relevant to the targeted demographic, and this time it seems like it’s the young crowd, that’s why it’s Star Wars with Trek characters. I hope the next guy to take the helm finds a good balance between the old preachy cerebral Trek and the new action packed frantic Trek.

  29. I thought that penultimate word was fanfic… and that I agreed with.

    But after that list, which didn’t even go into the Wrath of Khan butchery that took place in STD, you’re going to pretend it’s just like any other episode or piece of Star Trek that pays homage to another? The Naked Now was a direct ripoff of The Naked Time and had less cribbed from it. The episode where Pulaski gets old and they even reference TOS wasn’t as derivative… The whole point of referencing those other pieces is to then do something different or unexpected. STD did exactly what TWOK did, but did it not even half as well.

    But here’s the real kicker: It would be fine to reference previous Trek, even having similar patterns, motifs, settings… all fine… What’s not fine is to claim you’re forced to reboot Star Trek because of the weight of the thing, and then, intentionally turn around and make Star Trek 2 a movie where Khan forces one of the two main characters to sacrifice himself in order that the ship go on… Either the weight is too great, thus any reboot and references would be incidental, not intentional… but these were clearly intentional. Basically, they want their cake and they want to eat it too. When it serves them, they’ll take and shit on anything that’s come before them, while simultaneously trashing it and suggesting their Trek is the only real Star Trek for people… When it doesn’t, they revert to the notion that everything is in Trek, and that’s why they needed to reboot it. There’s a logical disconnect.

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