Benedict Cumberbatch's role in Star Trek Into Darkness revealed! Or is it? [UPDATED]

Paramount just released the first official still from Star Trek Into Darkness with a caption that seems to identify Benedict Cumberbatch's mystery villain as John Harrison. But -- and it's a pretty big "but" -- the name "John Harrison" is actually part of Star Trek backstage lore, and not really the name of any Trek villain. Besides the Starfleet technician Harrison played by Ron Veto, the name was used for several random, unnamed onscreen characters (including redshirts) in several episodes -- a placeholder. So, are we being messed with? Is it a case of Trekkie misdirection? Or is this a brand new Star Trek villain? Tor has a few theories that will interest and enlighten. (via Tor)

UPDATE: Movieline's Jen Yamato attended a press event for Star Trek Into Darkness yesterday and has some news on the "John Harrison" character. In case you really don't want to know, I'll leave the information at the link, which also contains some really interesting (and spoilery) theories about some original Star Trek source material that are well worth a read.

Photo credit: Paramount


  1. …the name was used for several random, unnamed onscreen characters (including redshirts) in several episodes…

    That explains the “revenge” angle. If anyone’s been screwed over by Kirk, it’s the dozens of hapless redshirts he’s sent into harm’s way.

    1. Someone figures out a way to jump between realities, saving every redshirt at the moment of their “death,” only to turn them into an elite fighting force against the Federation. Guest appearance by Denise Crosby.

    1. “Revenge is a dish best served cold, yet it’s not very cold–indeed, a lovely Federation-regulated Starship mean temperature of 98.6 F–in the Enterprise brig.”

      1. That would be rather hot and uncomfortable, actually. Due to the body’s heat generation and the various modes of heat transfer, we feel a comfort equilibrium at a lower temperature (low 70s F I believe).

        So maybe that would be a good way to make him feel slightly irritated.

        1. Oh, yeah, that’s body temperature, lol. Good thing Starfleet flunked me for innumeracy unbecoming a cadet….

  2. Looks like they’re going the full Loki with this one: let’s put the hyperpowered baddie where he can do the most harm, i.e., in an “inescapable” brig in the heart of our technologically wondrous–yet–oh so vulnerable shippy ship. What could go wrong???

    1. Don’t worry, I’m sure none of the hundreds of workers on this ship is a plant. And there’s NO WAY the power is going to mysterically disappear.

      1. Well, mister security expert, if you’ve got any ideas about how one could possibly confine a person in a small room without the aid of forcefields then I’m sure we’d all love to hear them.

          1. Not without some unfortunate side effects. For example, he clearly forgot that Jim Kirk was dead despite the fact that he was present at the time.

  3. Likely a new villain.  I don’t know how much after the last movie this one takes place, but unless this takes place 12 years after the previous movie, this still takes place before the original series.  People were determined that the next movie was going to be a TOS villain because of those non-canon comic books that re-told TOS episodes with the new Enterprise and “new” crew. People have been saying the next movie would be a reboot of Wrath of Khan since 2009.

    I could end up being totally wrong, but people need to keep in mind that TNG, Enterprise, and the 2009 movie totally changed the timeline.  Ach, the Trekkies who got upset over the Borg being on Enterprise…sheesh, people, it’s part of the First Contact continuity.  As if Star Trek and continuity always go together. :->

    EDIT: It does crack me up that the villain name they floated is that of a fairly famous screenwriter, responsible for, among other things, the two SciFi Dune miniseries. :-> I’d have named the villain Rick Bozeman if it’d been me.

    1. Of course, that’s assuming that TOS was “real” at all (let’s suspend disbelief for a moment here!)  My favourite retcon theory is that most of the adventures of Kirk, Spock et al were actually all Academy Textbook missions intended to illustrate different ways to get things horribly wrong, using these idealised abstracted characters who clearly weren’t representative of the actual people, so there was no real timeline to mess with anyway…

    2. If it was up to me, I’d name the villain “Brannon Braga” and at the end of the movie the villain would get “evolved” into a lizard and then made into a pair of boots and belt for Kirk.

  4. As with Lost, I expect that the solution to the mystery will prove to be less interesting than the mystery itself. 

  5. The captain of the Enterprise-B in Star Trek: Generations was John Harriman.  Now we know where the name originated.

    1. Perhaps the name originated from John Harrison, the clock maker and inventor of the chronometer – the first pendulum-less clocks with humidity control for use on sailing ships to help determine longitude.

  6. Personal Theory: Totally is Khan, but this is not a reimagining of “Wrath” it is a reimagining of “Space Seed”.

  7. This is obviously happening in the holodeck. Moriarty replicates a big gun and site-to-site transports to the escape pods.

  8. All those other characters? Really just one — John Harrison. He is an immortal time-traveller. That’s the spoiler, right there. You’re welcome.

  9.  I’m fond of the idea that it’s Gary Mitchell. Part of the second pilot (“Where No Man Has Gone Before”) had Kirk & Co. going out of their way to isolate the increasingly powerful Mitchell, or trying to, and I’d wondered if the destruction depicted in stills, the trailer, etc. showed what would have happened if Mitchell hadn’t been killed.

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