George Takei Wasn’t A Big Fan Of STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS’ Khan
George Takei is known to fans all across the world as Mr. Sulu from the original Star Trek series, but he’s become an internet icon in recent years with his online presence with very active Twitter, Facebook, and now YouTube pages. The actor was out and about promoting his new YouTube series, Takei’s Take, but the obligatory Star Trek questions were also raised. While he was very complimentary of director J.J. Abrams and the new Enterprise crew, the actor did reveal he was not too pleased with the most recent Trek flick.
Speaking with IGN about his new online venture, Takei was asked what he thought about Abrams’ take on Trek. The actor affirmed that it was a real treat to see new actors taking on the roles that he and his co-stars made famous nearly 50 years ago, but he did take issue with bit of casting for Into Darkness. Fans voted the movie the worst Trek film in history and panned the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan (though most still praised his performance even after voicing those complaints), and while Takei didn’t completely dislike the film he admits he’s one of those that finds Cumberbatch‘s casting odd:
J.J.’s a ripsnorting good space opera director. His first movie was, I thought, wonderful. First of all, to begin that movie with a space battle and Kirk’s mother is about to give birth in the middle of a space battle — Kirk was born out in space! We always knew that he grew up in Iowa, but we never knew where he was born. To be born out in space, first of all, and then out in the middle of that galactic space battle and the mother being rushed out of the Enterprise on a gurney and his father holding down the starship — I mean, what a sensational beginning. That was really J.J.’s imagination. I thought it was a terrific movie.
The second one, where Benedict Cumberbatch played Khan, I thought was unfortunate. Benedict Cumberbatch is a wonderful actor. I love everything that he’s done, but if he was going to be playing that character, J.J. should have made him an original character that’s singular to him. Because the Khan character first appeared in our TV series, “Space Seed,” and Ricardo Montalban was sensational in our second movie – he was the title character, The Wrath of Khan, you know! The other thought that Gene Roddenberry always had in the back of his mind — and that was his philosophy — was to embrace the diversity of this planet. Khan was created as East Indian character. The name is East Indian. We needed a big-name star who was a wonderful actor as well. Ricardo is Latino, but he brought his spectacular charisma and made Khan a singular, iconic character. It’s really owned by Ricardo Montalban, and to cast a white, British, wonderful actor, and name that character Khan, is really not understanding Gene Roddenberry’s philosophy. But I enjoyed the action-adventure parts of the second movie, Into Darkness.
Those are pretty strong words from the actor. While they aren’t particularly controversial sentiments, it does have a little more bite to it considering who it’s coming from. Takei seems to be in the same boat as a lot of the film’s critics. It seems everyone had their own problems with the sequel, but the Khan dilemma is one a majority of those people agree on. What do you think about Takei‘s comments? I don’t think there’s any arguing that Cumberbatch gave a great performance, but should he have been Khan or another character?