J.J. Abrams Regrets The STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS Khan Con
Taking time away from dodging Star Wars VII questions, J.J. Abrams spoke with MTV about Star Trek Into Darkness while promoting his new book S. The director revealed that he did have one regret about the film and how it was marketed. The internet had pretty well figured out that Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Khan, but Abrams and company kept denying it, and in some cases, flat out lying about it. Abrams regrets keeping the identity of Khan so secretive, but he says it wasn’t entirely his choice anyway.
When asked if he had any regrets about the secretive nature now that some time has passed, Abram says he does. While his intention was to not ruin the experience for fans before they could sit in the theater and see it themselves, he does see how it wasn’t the smartest decision that was made about the sequel:
Frankly, I do. I feel like the goal was to not to ruin it for anyone that went to go see it. The fact is it ended up, I think, coming off like we were being coy or that we were trying to act like we were more clever than we are or something. All it really was was an attempt not to ruin anything. The reason why, if you watch the movie and you know it’s Khan…the truth is after one screening everyone know what it is, but the idea was that the first hour of the movie the characters in the film don’t know. It felt like if we go out with it and we have articles that are like “Khan!” and we made it all about him, does it take away from the story? 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.
Ultimately the decision wasn’t solely Abrams to make. The director says that part of keeping Cumberbatch‘s role obfuscated was the studio’s mandate. They felt putting the emphasis on Khan beforehand would make it feel like you need a lot of Star Trek knowledge going into the movie if you hoped to understand it. Said Abrams:
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.
So Abrams does feel bad about the mystery box approach to film making in a few instances at least. Hopefully this lesson will carry over to his time on Star Wars. While I’m sure things are going to be very secretive for the upcoming Episode VII, hopefully Abrams will let fans in on a few things that are able to be pieced together. What do you think about the director’s comments? Are you surprised he agreed keeping Khan a secret was a dumb idea?
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Source : MTV