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In the build up to the release of Star Trek Into Darkness, there was a steady drumbeat that the villain was Khan, and that the film was a semi-remake of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. But even when names like Benicio Del Toro and Edgar Ramirez were rumored for the part that eventually went to Benedict Cumberbatch, J.J. Abrams and company would deny it. Now that everyone knows the villain is Khan, Abrams is suggesting that maybe they didn’t handle it for the best.

Talking to MTV, Abrams said this:

“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…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.”

Which you can watch him talk about here:

Now, let’s get into this. Into Darkness did okay (it made $467 Million worldwide), but even with the benefit of boosted 3D sales it underperformed domestically with $228 Million, earning less than the first film (which made $257 Million). So this isn’t a situation where Abrams needs to blame someone to keep his next job (which is Star Wars: Episode 7), but the film was a disappointment. And here Abrams mentions one of Star Trek fans’ biggest problems with the movie, that they were lied to, which he suggests came from up on high in an attempt to keep the film more appealing to non-fans.

It’s good to see that Abrams knows that this might have been a mistake, but the film plays that moment for the fans, as if the unmasking is a big “ta-da” moment, so it’s hard to believe what he’s saying. Perhaps if the villain’s identity wasn’t as scrutinized, it might have worked, but for many that moment is a mistake because it was so obvious. And though the Khan thing was a misstep, it was hardly that film’s biggest one — if the film worked on its own terms, the Khan reveal would have been much easier to swallow. Oh well.

Have you rewatched Star Trek Into Darkness?