Okay, Enough Messing Around, JJ Abrams — Who Is Benedict Cumberbatch Playing In “Star Trek Into Darkness”?

“Star Trek Into Darkness,” JJ Abrams second “Star Trek” reboot film, isn’t in theaters until next May, but details on the films plot are slowly being leaked to the press. However, the biggest question remains: which villain is Benedict Cumberbatch playing? Producer/writer Roberto Orci had said that Cumberbatch would be playing someone well known from the “Star Trek” canon (i.e. not a new character created for the film). When I posted the teaser trailer for the film last week, I parsed the two most popular theories: that Cumberbatch is playing either Khan (the villain at the center of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”) or Gary Mitchell, a character that appeared in an episode of the original series.

Well, this week, the filmmakers released this new image from the film, with Cumberbatch’s character identified as “John Harrison.” Who the fuck is that? (Warning: there are some spoilers after the jump!)

“John Harrison” is far from a well-known character in the “Star Trek” canon — in fact, the only character with that surname that appears in the “Star Trek” wiki is a recurring extra from the original TV series. Hardly a well known villain in “Star Trek” lore. So it seems far more likely that “John Harrison” is just the name Cumberbatch’s character has assumed – his real identity remains a mystery that is rapidly grating on my nerves. Just tell us already. Is it Mitchell? Khan? Maybe Garth of Izar? Whoooooo?!?!?!

Producers did at least confirm one vital casting decision this week — Alice Eve is playing Carol Marcus, James T. Kirk’s future wife and baby mama who originally appeared in “STII: The Wrath of Khan.” (Many, including myself, thought Eve was likely playing Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, which gave credence to the whole Cumberbatch-as-Gary-Mitchell theory, since Dehner was a character on Mitchell’s original “Star Trek” episode.) However, in this film, Marcus is a Starfleet officer not a civilian scientist, begging the question, does she ever even work on Project Genesis, which Khan eventually stole in his wrath-filled quest for vengeance? Who knows?! Deviating from the canon is something Abrams is able to do since he purposefully rejiggered the entire “Star Trek” timeline with the first reboot film, a fact which infuriates some Trek diehards. [TrekMovie]