How Benicio Del Toro’s Khan Could Work For ‘Star Trek 2′ [Updated]

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:28 pm,

In the last week we found out Star Trek 2′s new summer 2013 release date, confirmation that it would be “made” in 3D and that Alice Eve (She’s Out of My League, Men in Black III) will be playing an entirely new character. With the film a year and a half away, it’s still making headlines with the latest reporting that Benicio Del Toro will actually be playing the long-rumored Khan in Star Trek 2.

[Update: Benicio Del Toro is no longer in talks to play Khan in Star Trek 2]

Del Toro was reportedly offered the villain role in J.J. Abrams’ sequel to Star Trek - for which Abrams is again directing – a month ago but there was no indication as to who he could play, outside of speculation of the commonly rumored villains of Star Trek 2. Since long before Del Toro’s name was thrown into the mix, fans have pondered the possibility of Khan being the film’s villain.

According to a scoop from our pals at Latino Review, this may be exactly the case. While on the prowl on another story, El Mayimbe – who’s usually spot-on with his scoops – says that Benicio Del Toro is in fact playing Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek 2.

Del Toro as Khan pays tribute to the original Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan but it doesn’t exactly coincide with what was previously rumored about the Star Trek 2 villains:

“It’s definitely a character that will make fans of TOS excited. Think along the lines of Harry Mudd or Trelane or Gary Mitchell or the Talosians or the Horta. Actually it’s one of those that I named.”

HitFix reached out to Abrams for comment and received a simple and firm two-word response: “not true.”

So, what does this all mean? Not that much at this point. Del Toro playing Khan will remain a rumor until otherwise officially confirmed and Abrams throwing out an obligatory denial also doesn’t mean much. Recall, director Zack Snyder denied rumors that Zod would be featured in his Superman reboot, then Warner Bros. announced the casting of Zod…

Ricardo Montalban Khan Star Trek 2 570x369 How Benicio Del Toros Khan Could Work For Star Trek 2 [Updated]

How would Khan’s story play out in Abrams’ Star Trek universe? The original Khan, played by Ricardo Montalban, first appeared in the 1967 fan-favorite episode “Space Seed” where the Enterprise discovers the SS Botany Bay, an old 20th century space vessel that’s home to a crew of cryogenically frozen people from Earth’s past.

Khan is awakened automatically during the encounter and while on board the Enterprise, reads up on 300 years of history of the United Federation of Planets, before reviving his crew in an attempt to take over the Enterprise. Kirk and co. learn of Khan’s past as the leader of genetically altered superhumans and by the end of the episode, they send Khan and his people to a planet they can colonize.

These events laid the foundation for the story of the second original Star Trek film which saw Khan return in force with a vendetta against Kirk and the Federation after losing his wife and most of his people on the planet they were abandoned on. Since Abrams’ version of the younger Kirk and crew takes place before the events of “Space Seed” could happen, there’s confusion as to how this would work in the new film. The only difference between the two universes in regards to this, assuming Khan is in fact the villain of Star Trek 2, is that he’s not met Kirk yet. He could however, have the exact same backstory and hatred of the Federation so the film could be re-telling of their first counter, but in an entirely new and different way.

To get geeky on this, Star Trek broke a lot of timelines from canon and while it’s the year 2258 but the time Chris Pine’s Kirk is in command of the Enterprise, in the prime Star Trek universe, Kirk doesn’t encounter Khan until 2267. So a younger Khan, played by Del Toro, fits for a new take on their first encounter.

Some say seeing a new Khan is unnecessary or too taboo, but why? The entire film is a new and different take on Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise. What’s different about a new take on one of the franchise’s greatest villains?

[poll id="222"]

Star Trek 2 hits theaters on May 17, 2013.


Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Sources: Latino Review, HitFix

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  1. If it is Khan, and it is Del Toro, I just hope at some point Khan is on the Enterprise and tells Kirk, “Give me the keys you __ing ___-___er.”

  2. I really don’t get all the negativity towards doing a Khan story. Prior to the first movie existing Trek fans were all over the upcoming film – “How DARE they ‘reboot’ Trek!!” “Continue with the existing Trek universe!”

    Now, here we have them actually trying to bring in a character/concept from classic Trek, which I would think existing fans would be really happy about – but mostly I see lots of complaining. To me, this is the makers of the film trying to reach out to old Trek fans at the same time they’re bringing in a whole new generation of “Trekkies.”

    It doesn’t have to (and won’t) be a carbon copy of Wrath of Khan or Space Seed. I’m sure they’ll take the same character, with the same motivations, but put a new twist on it.

    Personally, I love the idea.


    • The problem is it’s a rehash is a virtual sea of rehashes (MoS anyone?) reboots and re-imaginings. They are also borrowing from what is, without doubt THE BEST ST movie of all time. I could almost say it’s sacred ground because of how great ST2 was and how it continued/finished that particular plot line and thus should not be messed with.

      I’m a huge ST fan and don’t consider it reaching out to me at all. They have erased the blackboard so to speak and instead of venturing out into the bold frontier and doing new (or at least borrowing from a DIFFERENT original series plot) what do they do? Tread back down the same stupid path out of the gate. I would have much less of a problem if they used Khan 1-2 movies down the line but the very next one seems like laziness regardless of the spin they add to it.

      • I agree with Vic , on this I also dont understand the lack of understanding that this film will NOT be taking anything from ST2, This if anything will be related to Space seed , I mean how many times is that going to be said , and also this is a completely different time line now, so im sorry it isnt a rehash of anything. They are the same in name only all these Characters are different from their orignal forms, so you could say this then also , this movie is taking a que from Mirror Mirror, but its not. You know I also think its funny that if this was another classic tale of Robin Hood, or King Arthur nobody would be screaming that they are using Prince John or Morgan Le Fae. So I guess they should just use some lame villian or someone that no one has ever heard of, I really liked the first movie, however what I liked about Trek was the cast of the crew, This young cast really embodied the orginal cast, But Nero and every villian in the last 20 years that other movies have provided for us where pretty lame and forgetable, I say Bring on Khan, Del Toro is an excellent actor and would do him proud, and for ____ sake Give Abrams a chance to do his thing , he didnt disappoint in the first one im not expecting to do so in this one. That said I m still not convinced he is going to be Khan

        • While they might not be using the storyline, they ARE using the same blasted characters! That’s the point. They have a whole new universe to explore, 77 OTHER episodes to draw possible inspiration from and what do we get AGAIN? Khan.

          This is the same crap they are doing with Man of Steel, rehashing Zod AGAIN and it’s just lame.

    • I agree with Mongoose. The lack of a new idea is glaring at us with Kahn’s face. New ideas like killing off Spocks (a real Momma’s Boy) mom, or destroying Vulcan and most of the race, or Uhrua and Spock being a couple, or Kirk always getting his butt beat in a fight. Thats what I felt was the best part of “rebooting” Star Trek: The surprise that were thrown at us Trekkies. I would welcome Kahn if he was a mamdy pamby or if he dies in the opening credits. However, the best thing would be to leave that very well-told story (both parts) as it is. I would much rather see something completely unexpected and NEW in the next Star Trek movie.

    • I’m with you, Vic.

  3. To heck with Khan, it’s the Klingons.. Has the be. Seriously, go two movies without a significant presence of what is arguably the defining alien civilization of ST? I agree with you Rob, Benicio would make for a great klingon!

  4. Khan might be interesting if they do it right, as for Klingons they have been featured in more of the ST movie’s than any other race, ST3, ST5, ST6, ST7. How much more of the damn Klingon’s do you want?

    Enough with the Klingon’s, more Khan might be a nice change.

    Then again, we have definitely not had enough of The Borg on the big screen.

    • Ignoring the silliness from ST:E, the Federation doesn’t even know what a Borg is and won’t for a LONG time. In fact, if it were not for Q in ST:TNG introducing them prematurely, the Federation might not run into them on their own for 100′s of years.

      • Ah yes but the silliness in ST:E can now be regarded as canon, so they would know about The Borg even in Kirks time.

        So ultimately the ST timeline has already been changed before the events in ST11 (although not to the same extent).

        In ST:E didn’t The Borg get off a signal to the (you know I always forget which frakkin quadrant it is, Delta, Beta, Alpha, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!) so maybe they show up early. But I don’t expect that to happen anyway, so I wouldn’t worry too much.

        • well, at the end of that episode, the Federation still didn’t know what these beings were so it ended up as nothing more that an anomalous encounter with an unknown lifeform. Man I hate how ST:E jumped the shark so damn much.

    • If the Borg showed up during Kirk’s time, they’d be assimilated before they even knew what hit them. As it is, TNG crew barely beat them, and that was only with Data interfacing with them and Picard fighting the assimilation. The Borg in Kirk’s time is a bad idea. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Gorn or the Tholians, though.

      • Spock-Prime would be the key in that situation. Since he has all the knowledge from the alternate future, he would know about accessing the pathway that would make the Borg “go to sleep”; he would also have knowledge of quantum torpedoes and tri-phasic shielding. He said he wouldn’t interfere but the Borg would be a grave threat.

        • I doubt that Spock-Prime will ever be seen again. Nemoy is retired. I doubt that he will come out of retirement to do another ST movie.

          • He doesn’t have to be seen, he could have left the info on the computer.

      • Actually, in TNG, they were on the verge of losing in the initial encounter until Picard humbled himself and asked Q for help. NC1701-A Enterprise wouldn’t stand a change (unless they introduced Q also but I don’t wanna start down that road)

  5. I hope that this isnt true can’t we please have something different instead of copying already done storylines and already seen enemies. I thought with rebooting Star Trek we would see new ideas and new characters and situation not just the same old thing! if it is Khan I prob wont see it I can just watch Star Trek 2 which I already own.

  6. How about they just have a three way war between the Federation, Romulans, and Klingons.

    • The Romulan War was a major incident that seems to be lost on most people who have to clue as to the ST Lore, but then this series of movies just used all of that as toilet paper to begin with so what does it matter any longer?

      • Yeah it was interesting that Spock knew that the Vulcans and Romulans were the same species. In the Prime Universe they didn’t learn that till much later. They fought the whole Romulan war without knowing what the Romulans looked like. It wasn’t till Kirk encounered that one Warbird and destroyed it that they finally learned what Romulans looked like.

  7. I’ve also wondered this since I saw the new Star Trek if the reason the Romulans chased Spock was because he failed to prevent the destruction of Romulus then wouldn’t future Spock make sure that younger Spock gets there on time to prevent that from happening.

    Therefore Nero wouldn’t chase Spock into a time slip and destroy Vulcan for Spock’s failure. But if that’s the case Vulcan in the new time line would still be destroyed right? Since it was destroyed in the new time line’s past and not the older one which is why Nero was chasing Spock.

    This is confusing. This is why I love/hate time travel or for the more scientific temporal displacement.

    Maybe somebody should do a movie on how to explain time travel and post it on you-tube so we can all be educated on it.

    Please forgive the random mash of words up top. I’m obviously one of those people who can’t explain anything in written form.

    • Spock-Prime, Nero and crew were all random elements in the new timeline. Just because Romulus may be saved in this new timeline does not mean the new timeline doesn’t exist. In quantum mechanics, there are an infinite number of universes (infinite versions).

    • It’s not the same timeline anymore and that was addressed in the first movie with that scene on the bridge. They specifically explain how this is now essentially an alternate timeline because of the time travel events.

      But you’re right. I don’t like when time travel’s involved – creates too many inconsistencies.

  8. Channel your inner Kirk in the Genesis cave and yell: “Nooooooo!”

  9. Star Trek reboot…vastly overrated. Khan as the next villain in the reboot…vastly foolish, as he was the villain in the second movie of the original line, plus, no one, and I mean no one, can out do Montalban’s performance. If true, just totally un-original and stupid, but thus is Hollywood.

    • @ Jeff,

      No one, and I mean no one can out-do Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of Joker… oh wait, lol. Ledger did something entirely different and it was awesome.

      • but its not the original and NEVER will be….stupid dark brooding and emo fan boys with ur newfangled “im batman, and i have to actually SHOW you im dark,no no, you cant actually just SEE im a very disturbed person”, no u have to go screw up an entire SERIES’ image just by making the joker and batman seem darker….dude…i mean really?

      • @Rob,

        There are some issues with the Joker/Khan comparison even though it is on point and addresses a similar concern by a rabid fan base. Ledger was at least the fourth filmed incarnation of the Joker (Romero, Nicholson, Animated came before) and there have been numerous reinventions of the Joker throughout his near 70+ years of existence. The Joker is a character that was designed to be re-envisioned, to mention nothing of him being a nearly required opposite to Batman.

        There’s one Khan, one Montalban, and one closed story arc. His impact was felt as powerfully as it was because he wasn’t a constant foil. He was treated with the proper gravitas of a man who could best Kirk.

        It feels like a creative retreat for the production team to give themselves total freedom to then revert to the original set of movies so quickly when there is so much excellent subject matter for them to tap into.

        • Do you know what becomes before a fourth? A second and a third.

          What you’re saying is that, “oh, seconds and thirds are no good but fourths, ya, A-okay!”

          Also, when the first Joker appeared, it was not “designed to be re-envisioned”

          Was Captain Kirk designed to be re-envisioned? Or does the rules of seconds vs. fourths and re-design not apply to Starfleet characters?

          What is going on here?! I’m so confused, LOL.

          btw I’m joking because the arguments I see are backwards.

  10. I’d really rather see a villain other than Khan.
    Klingons? We don’t yet know how much Nero crippled them in the first film. Could result in an alliance earlier than Star Trek VI.
    How about a new villain, new alien race we haven’t seen before?