May 24 2024


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Khan’s Origin Story

3 min read


The Star Trek: Khan comic debuts this week, and writer Mike Johnson explained what fans can expect in the six-issue story of the genetic superman.

Writing a comic book story about Khan was a way to show more about the character. “…in terms of the comic, Bob Orci has always talked about the comics being an opportunity to expand the world and show things we didn’t have time to show in the movie,” said Johnson. “And it sort of became a natural idea that we would eventually do the Khan origin in a comic, so over the last year, we kind of knew it was coming.”

The two main Star Trek canon sources regarding Khan were used to get ideas for the story. “Canon is what you see on film, either on TV or in movies, so we’re taking Space Seed, the original episode, and The Wrath Of Khan, and mining whatever facts about Khan’s origin that we can,” said Johnson. “So things like we know millions of peopled died in the Eugenics Wars. We know that in Space Seed they talk about Khan being the best of tyrants, that he ruled with…how do I put this? He wasn’t a cruel ruler. There’s this famous line where in the episode they say he didn’t start wars until he was attacked. So it’s that sort of taking little things and extrapolating, ‘Well, what does that mean?’, like someone else attacked him first and then the war started? CBS and Paramount have given us a lot of freedom in terms of how that’s going to work out, and what’s great is that it’s the first time we’re going to see this visually. There have been novels and things that have explored Khan’s back-story but this is the first time we’ll actually see it visualized in the comic, which is pretty cool.”

The dates in the comic story may or may not match the 1990s dates given in canon Star Trek. “I can’t tell you what we’re doing with the dates until the comic comes out, because I don’t want to spoil it – it’s actually a really big part of the story,” said Johnson. “But we are putting fixed dates on things, like month and day in the opening pages – I can’t tell you how with that, but I can tell you 20th century. It’s a great question because it is an ongoing debate about when Star Trek breaks off and becomes a different timeline. Because we’re getting close to World War III, which is different than the Eugenics wars. In the Trek timeline, World War III happens not too long from now.”

Readers can look forward to Admiral Marcus and other familiar Trek characters. “Kirk and Spock show up,” said Johnson. “There will be an explanation for something that we saw on Qo’noS, that I can’t really explain or reveal. The first half of it is the past before the Botany Bay, and the second half is really all the scenes that were happening alongside what we saw in the movie. So, leading up to him going to the hospital and telling the guy that he can save his daughter. So we’re going to show all those things; we’re going to see more of the inner workings of Section 31; we’re going to see the Botany Bay; we’re going to see how they found it; we’re going to see why he was woken up; and why they decided to give him the name John Harrison. It’s gonna fill in some nice…I don’t want to call them holes. It’s just you only have so much you can do in two hours. And just for fans of the movie, it’ll give them more, hopefully.”

Star Trek: Khan will debut on October 16.

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32 thoughts on “Khan’s Origin Story

  1. They probably will. I’m willing to bet that Khan was surgically altered so that he wouldn’t arouse suspicion.

  2. Kahn. The absolute evidence that JJ-Trek is not in fact some spin-off of the real Star Trek timeline, but a badly made re-boot existing in it’s own bubble. es, I know Lenard Nemoy is in these films, but so what? The man can play a Spock that isn’t THE Spock as it turns out. I’d say character and story (or lack of) trump his appearance. It still hurts my head how JJ fans can argue any other way on this one. It just doesn’t add up guys!

  3. Yeah, I decided pretty much the same thing after Trek ’09. The real Spock, who at that point in his life knows of at least half a dozen different methods of traveling through time — who not only SUGGESTED time travel as the way to save Earth from the Whale Probe, but did the computations for it IN HIS FREAKIN’ HEAD — would never have just sat around in a timeline in which his home planet was pulverized down to the last grain of sand, shrugged his shoulders and said “well, that’s the way it goes”.

    The old guy we see in the JJverse movies is clearly a Spock from some neighboring parallel universe, and “Khan” very obviously is. There’s canon precedent for such a theory (TNG’s “Parallels”) and no on-screen evidence to disprove it in this case, and the sheer carelessness of JJ and Co. in adhering to their own “rules” about what this alternate universe is supposed to be — they clearly don’t give a shit — only serves to reinforce it.

  4. Nimoy is a class act, remember – he turned down a large paycheck for Generations because he felt the Spock character was ill-served in that movie. He wouldn’t just appear as Spock for the money as he clearly has artistic integrity.

    “When someone comes along like he has done and picks it up and elevates it, we should be grateful. So when J.J. calls me, I take the call.” – Leonard Nimoy

  5. Read Greg Cox’s excellent trilogy on the Eugenics Wars for a story that fits canon and history pretty well. All I can say is, I hope they’ve read it before embarking on this story.

  6. I dunno, perhaps an explanation? Just saying “security protocols” explains as little as just saying “national security” today.

  7. ..would explain a lot of things. We do know that Enterprise is in the history of the JJverse… and hopefully not in that of the prime continuity. The timeline’s been already bent almost beyond recognition by that point so why the hell not?
    Why are we all doing the lazy-assed writers’ jobs for them? Two or three lines could save so much shouting.

  8. I’ll put it more plainly: why would 31 be suicidal enough as an organization to let Khan Singh run around wearing his own original face and physique, if they got their paws on him first and deemed him useful?

  9. There! That’s a simple explanation that would have been all of what, one, maybe two lines of dialogue. You’re one up on the writers now.

  10. If he’s such a class act, why did he do these films? “Class Act,” Please! I’d have agreed before JJ-Trek.

  11. Nemoy did an amazing job with the Spock character, and I have nothing but respect for what he did from 1966 to 1991 with that character. But I can’t see much of the Spock he himself established in these JJ Abrams films. He doesn’t really act like Spock. I keep passing it off as Nemoy is getting senile mostly because I don’t want to loose respect for him. But man, I’m really at a loss here so far as he fits into the JJ-verse.

  12. Nimoy did the films because he rightly (in some people’s opinion) believed that JJ Abrams is a good film maker. In Leonard Nimoy’s opinion, JJ has elevated the franchise – this is borne out by the generally favourable reviews and high box office takings.

    Now it’s fine to dislike the Abrams films, just as it’s my right to rate the TNG movies as the worst Trek films in the franchise. To state as you do that he’s senile is a bit much though, to question his mental state based on the fact that you disliked a film he was in is bonkers. If we take that logic and run with it then Adam Sandler must be brain dead! (because I dislike his output).

    Mr Abrams is a creative director/producer. Lost, Fringe, Trek – all this is a proof that he knows what he is doing and can create box office and ratings success. You didnt like the movie – fine. But at least give credit to Mr Abrams and his team for ressurecting the Trek franchise after Nemesis and Enterprise buried it.

  13. It belatedly occurs to me that they could have actually used that to enhance his backstory, and present him as even more dangerous. Capsule history, possibly a photo resembling his original appearance (but NOT Ricardo), and pointing out that he was so notorious that if he were recognized, the Federation council would start with hanging the lot and then proceed on to harsher punishments. Doing so would have also negated the need for a LIFELINE CALL TO OL’ SPOCK, which was a dickslap in the face of the entire new cast.

  14. Nimoy did the films because he wanted to maintain good relations with JJ because of his recurring role on Fringe.

  15. To be fair, it’s most only us that even think about continuity. The creators are of course aware, but explaining something like that is low on the priority list.

  16. To each his own, but I don’t feel Abrams is as good a film makers as you are making him out to be. I had that opinion long before he crapped on Star Trek. The difference with JJ-Trek and Enterprise and Nemesis was the later was at least *Star Trek*. Did they have their issues? Sure, but at least they were Star Trek. Plus, Enterprise was starting to finally get good. I have no faith that that will ever be the case with JJ-Trek.

  17. And probably so that he alone from the original group of actors had the final “say” on Star Trek. You want to know why Shatner and the rest have not been in these films, because it turns out Nimoy had the biggest ego the whole time!

  18. That would sure explain why none of Kirk’s crew in Star Trek: Into Darkness really seemed to have heard of him, or at least had a very muted reaction if they had.

  19. “JJ is a terrific director, and he gives you a great ride,” Shatner declared. “He knows how to make the movie large with the special effects and everything. And that’s going to be wonderful.”

    He continued: “It’s going to be wonderful for both franchises. He certainly has enlivened Star Trek. I’m looking forward to seeing what he’s going to do because he’s going to do something different, that’s for sure.”

    – William Shatner.

    That’s Nimoy and Shatner who clearly respect JJ as a film-maker. They dont think he ‘crapped’ on Star Trek – neither do Paramount – who have made a ton of money and most importantly, neither do the majority of the audience- who have rated the film highly.

    I agree with you that Enterprise was getting better, but it was too little – too late. And that finale – ughh.

  20. “Mr Abrams is a creative director/producer.”

    More like uncreative director/producer. He’s a good businessman, though (knowing how to sell his product, even if it’s junk) and a skilful magician (creating the appearance of something having quality despite the complete opposite – lens flares & special effects come to mind, which, in Abrams’ case, play a crucial role in camouflaging all the deficiencies of a movie and distracting the audience). I have to give him credit for that.

  21. “He knows how to make the movie large with the special effects and everything.”

    Yeah, I’m sure that’s pretty much the only thing he knows.

    Star Trek, however, is not an action franchise, it’s primarily a science-fiction franchise.

  22. “A second of me alone in that movie is infinitely more preferable than an hour of me with someone else from Trek cast”, was probably what Nimoy was thinking. And voila, before you know it, he took the deal. But, as Oswald also mentioned, you also have to take the Fringe factor into the account.

  23. If he’s so uncreative, why did the powers that be reward him with resurrecting Star Trek (mission accomplished by the way). Mission Impossible (again – mission accomplished) and Star Wars.

    I’ll tell you why. It’s because the man makes a product that appeals to vast numbers of people and is – in general – critically lauded and commercially successful.

    You might not like him, you may disagree with his decisions – but the fact is that Abrams is a critical and commerical success story whose output will likely define the cinematic and televisual SF output for at least the next decade with Star Wars and Star Trek.

  24. Having read all of the above, I am still not interested in this comic book series. I’ll wait for the next Star Trek Khan sequel coming in 2015, read the spoilers and skip the movie.

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