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Sean: Wait, do you honestly think he "ruined" Khan?
Adam: I don't - but I'm not a Star Trek fan. The only reason I like Abrams' Trek films is because they are so obviously inspired by Star Wars. The majority of Star Trek fans seem to despise Into Darkness for how it handled Khan. In my opinion, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was nothing more than an attempt by Paramount to make a darker Star Trek film in the vein of The Empire Strikes Back anyway, so I wasn't that invested in Montalbán's version of the character.
Sean: Well, the mishandling of Khan, to me, stems back to Abrams' "Mystery Box" nonsense, and I think that people might have been more accepting if they knew Cumberbatch was Khan from Day One. Then the discussion could have been, "How are they going to approach this classic character?" instead of all the "Is he or isn't he?" garbage that dogged the film up to its release.
Maybe that's the big lesson learned from STID. Transparency can actually help Star Wars. Let us know relatively early who Cumberbatch is playing. Dark Side, or not.
Adam: In a weird way, Star Trek has been the real story of Episode VII. Without George Lucas involved, a lot of people are in the position to say, "Well hey, at least it won't be as bad as the Prequels, right?" But now you've got another crowd saying, "Well, it could be as bad as Star Trek Into Darkness." And I agree, any issues with the mishandling of Khan have zero to do with Cumberbatch's performance and more with the script.
Sean: OK, next question. Does this Cumberbatch news disrupt the rumor that Hamill, Fisher and Ford still might be involved?
Adam: I don't think so - but back to your point on transparency. Why on Earth would you confirm a Star Trek actor in an unknown role for your new Star Wars movie when you haven't even announced a single character name or plot point from the film? We haven't even had an announcement about the original cast yet (and there have been numerous opportunities at Star Wars Celebration, San Diego Comic-Con, and D23 Expo). It's just weird that this rumor seems to coincide with the release of Star Trek Into Darkness on Blu-ray and seems like such an obvious choice -- like Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor, just some Sherlock nerd's wildest dreams turned into an internet rumor.
Sean: On that note, none of this is official yet. We haven't heard ANYTHING from Disney, LucasFilm, Abrams or Mickey Damn Mouse. At all. Part of me fears that this whole conversation is merely chasing the tail of yet another Star Wars rumor that fans are generating in the absence of any REAL news. I mean, enough people with ears close to the production have been saying "Cumberbatch" for weeks now. And it makes sense, on several levels. But Disney could curb a LOT of this with a few simple "official" announcement, no?
Adam: Yeah, it's funny to see the shift in how Star Wars pre-production is being handled. When Episode III was in pre-production, the official Star Wars Web site offered a paid subscription to watch featurettes on the making of the film as it was happening - you got your first look at concept art, costumes, characters, sets, etc.
Now, under "Mystery Box Man" J.J. Abrams, no one can even figure out what the movie will be about or what characters might be included. I'm not sure what Disney is waiting for ... maybe they don't have a script finished yet?
Sean: That's terrifying to think. Though the news of casting has to mean they have a plot and characters in place. Right?
Adam: I guess? I hope so, anyway. But again, those casting calls and character descriptions from a while back were never confirmed either - until I hear something from Abrams or Kathleen Kennedy, it's all just conjecture.
Sean: Exactly. So, let's wrap up. We're happy that Cumberbatch is potentially part of Star Wars, even though it is still far too early to guess who he might play, or how Abrams could use him. Do we agree?
Adam: Agreed. There's no shortage of amazing actors out there we'd love to see in a Star Wars film, and likewise there are hundreds of actors who grew up loving Star Wars, and would jump at the chance to play in that universe. If Vin Diesel can play a talking tree and Bradley Cooper can embody a talking raccoon, I'm sure Khan can play Thrawn.
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