(WARNING: Major possible, quite likely spoilers ahead!!)
Ever since the Star Trek reboot hit theaters in 2009 and successfully rebooted the franchise, people have been wondering what's next for the born again franchise. While it was initially rumored that Benicio Del Toro would be cast as the bad guy, a few months ago it was announced that British actor Benedict Cumberbatch had been cast as the villain in the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness, which is due in theaters next May.
When Del Toro’s name was initially being floated, people believed that director J.J. Abrams was going to bring back the legendary Khan character, which is considered by many to be the greatest villain in the entire Star Trek franchise. Many Star Trek fans (including myself) believed that bringing back Khan Noonien Singh would be a serious mistake, mainly because of the fact that it is believed that no one will ever be able to do better than Ricardo Maltoban’s. Remember seeing Heath Ledger portray the joker, and just knowing that that no one could ever do it better? Yeah. That.
However, after announcing that Benedict Cumberbatch was brought on board, another original series villain name began to circulate: Gary Mitchell. Cumberbatch is currently most well known for portraying the character of Sherlock Homes in the British television series Sherlock.
Lt. Commander Gary Mitchell first appeared in the original series episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before." He was Captain Kirk’s best friend, who ended up receiving god-like powers through an accident and became a serious threat to the Enterprise and her crew. Gary Lockwood, who also appeared in the Sci Fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, originally portrayed Mitchell.
So why believe that Benedict Cumberbatch will portray Gary Mitchell in Star Trek Into Darkness? There are a few reasons...
Late last year, sources close to the producers of the new movie revealed to TrekMovie.com and other websites that the new villain would be an reboot of an original series character:
“It’s definitely a character that will make fans of TOS excited. Think along the likes of Harry Mudd, or Trelane, or Gary Mitchell, or the Talosians or the Horta. Actually, it’s one of those that I named.”
Star Trek fans, you may now begin salivating!
Karl Urban, who now carries on the character of Dr. Leonard McCoy, may have accidently spilled the beans on Cumberbatch’s character. During a recent interview when he was promoting Dredd with SFX, explained how Cumberbatch was “awesome, he’s a great addition, and I think his Gary Mitchell is going to be exemplary!" Oops!
Of course, Urban could have been part of an element designed to throw people off. Some fans have speculated that the reason that the character of Khan was initially floated was to keep the true character a secret. But what about the other characters that were initially mentioned as possibilities?
Cumberbatch is too slim to play Harry Mudd, and the still shots of him on set reveal him to look nothing like a Talosian, Trelane or a Horta (which is a big, rock eating blob) However, Cumberbatch could be the perfect person to take on the role of Gary Mitchell. J.J. Abrams has certainly demonstrated a knack for casting people who remind fans of the original cast members.
There is one other reason to consider that Gary Mitchell is the new villain in the upcoming Star Trek movie, and that is the casting of Alice Eve. In the original 1966 episode, Gary Mitchell’s decent into a demigod was joined by the character of Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, who also obtained supernatural powers.
Sally Kellerman originally portrayed Dr. Dehner in the same 1966 episode. When you look at the two actresses, Alice Eve could be a dead ringer for the character of Dr. Dehner. Given the mounting evidence that Benedict Cumberbatch will be Gary Mitchell, it may not be too much of a stretch.
As a diehard trekkie, the idea of Gary Mitchell as the main villain in Star Trek Into Darkness is exciting. The horror that the character could reign down upon the crew on the big screen is almost beyond imagination. Since the character has not been portrayed in a canon storyline since 1966, it could be time to pull it out of mothballs.
It is also worth noting that if Abrams had decided to redo Khan, he probably would have faced a full-scale revolt from the fans.
Mitchell on the other hand has not been done and lauded to death. Abrams is a talented enough director, producer and writer to take the Mitchell villain and do something more than just a simple remake. Either way, I’m going to go ahead and say that I believe Benedict Cumberbatch is Gary Mitchell. But don’t worry! I’m certain that I’m not spoiling anything. I have high hopes that this movie will darker, deeper and even better than the first.
Live long and prosper!