A central debate that’s swirled around Star Trek 2 since 2009 is the identity of our villain. The first movie took a true-to-reboot approach by just coming up with someone new — someone who also, it should be stated, was not terribly interesting. It’s been rumored since last year that the follow-up would take a character from the original series and make him the antagonist; Damon Lindelof later stated that a huge question mulled over by the writers was “to Khan or not to Khan.”
We still don’t know who it’s going to be, but a new announcement feels like a giant, flashing hint sign to me. I’ll get to that in a second, but Variety reports that Benicio Del Toro is “expected to be offered the part soon, maybe by weekend’s end.” Other than it being the villain role, details are being kept tightly-locked, to the point where the actor doesn’t even know who he might play. J.J. Abrams and he have already met about the opportunity, for whatever that might be worth.
Anyway, this comes across as a clear indication that we’ll be getting Khan in the Star Trek sequel. Though I absolutely hate to pidgeonhole an actor because of their ethnicity, both Del Toro and Ricardo Montalbán are/were of Hispanic descent, and they aren’t exactly complete opposites in terms of appearance. Let’s face it: If you’re going to recast an iconic character such as Khan, 95% of the time will see studios and filmmakers going after someone who bears a resemblance to the original actor. It’s just how things work.
It’s pointless to share any thoughts on Khan as the villain before anything is announced — so I’ll just offer the paltry viewpoint that Del Toro would be a strong choice. As an actor, he has a naturally menacing air to him; this could help Star Trek 2 carry a sense of danger that was mostly lacking in an otherwise excellent new start to the franchise.
How would you react to del Toro being the villain of Star Trek 2? Who do you think he’ll play?
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