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Late on Friday a rumor was reported that Benicio Del Toro would be playing Khan in the upcoming sequel to J.J. Abrams' 2009 blockbuster Star Trek. It was not only interesting that the actor would potentially play the role originated by Ricardo Montalban, but that the story suggested Del Toro was officially attached, despite the fact that the previous report only indicated that Abrams was interested in casting him. Since the rumor was reported not only has Abrams denied that Khan will be the central villain, but Del Toro has decided that he doesn't want to do the film.
Vulture reports that while the Oscar winning actor did go into negotiations with the people behind the next Star Trek movie, talks have fallen apart over monetary issues. Even more interesting is that apparently the deal went sour on Wednesday, two days before the Khan rumor surfaced. The report says that the production will now quickly try to find a replacement, as the film is scheduled to begin lensing at the start of next year.
Potentially more interesting is that while Del Toro may not be playing the character, the site says that the film's central villain will indeed be Khan Noonien Singh. The news source cites an unnamed but "highly placed source." The move wouldn't be too surprising, as Abrams has always tried to keep details of his projects a secret for as long as possible (notice how we didn't get a real look at the creatures of Super 8 or Cloverfield until the movies were out in theaters). Vulture compares the move to Zack Snyder denying initial reports that Zod would be the central villain only to cast Michael Shannon as the Kryptonian villain a couple months later.
This is really a double loss. I've expressed why I don't want to see Khan in the next film, but having Del Toro play the part could have been great. Now we'll probably get Khan and he'll be played by an actor not as well suited for the part. Let's cross our fingers that doesn't end up being the case.