Besides the unmistakable fact that it's happening, news about the upcoming 2012 sequel to last year's mega-hit reinvention of Star Trek is still rather sketchy. While fan speculation has been brewing steadily, it seems that BadAssDigest may have stumbled unto a scoop. An informant of theirs has apparently learned that, contrary to the growing popular belief, Kirk's iconic genetically-enhanced nemesis Khan Noonien Singh WILL NOT be in the upcoming sequel. In fact, it seems that this film won't be focusing on an individual villain-type at all. However, purists may still have reason to rejoice, as it appears that the film will focus on "a classic Trek character" who appeared in the 1966-1969 original series. And with that, the gears of speculation have once again begun to grind. Additionally, perhaps in the spirit of teasing drooling fans, the unnamed source gave some ballpark examples of his own.
According to the source:
"It’s definitely a character that will make fans of TOS (The Original Series) 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."
Of course, exact identity of the character in question was not named, but some interesting possibilities have been presented. It would seem ironic going with the mischievous pre-Han Solo smuggler/con-man Harry Mudd or the trouble-making God-like, Renaissance-dressing entity Trelaine would contradict the "no individual villain" mandate. However, the possibilities of the remaining examples could make for some great possibilities for a Trek film lacking a substantive antagonist.
The Talosians, a race of powerful aliens with mind-control and illusory abilities were actually the first Star Trek villains -- ever. Their turn in the original series' unaired first pilot "The Cage" would serve as the stock footage foundation for the famous 2-part episode "The Menagerie," in which Spock hijacks the Enterprise to take Captain Pike, rendered an invalid, to the Talosians, disobeying a Starfleet edict that carries the penalty of death. With Captain Pike simply confined to a wheelchair at the end of last year's film, there would no doubt be need for some narrative restructuring. This, therefore, could cause some issues.
The Horta, a silicon- based lifeform capable of melting and traveling through solid rock as one would through air, were famous for killing a bunch of miners (and some obligatory Red Shirts,) turned out to be a misunderstood creature in the original episode "The Devil in the Dark." However, despite being the source of what was, perhaps Dr. McCoy's most famous "I'm a Doctor, not a..." lines (in this case, "bricklayer,") this one doesn't seem all that conducive to a movie.
Gary Mitchell was featured in the original series' aired pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before", depicted as the Enterprise's first officer and one of Kirk's closest friends, who was struck with an energy field, leaving him with nearly omnipotent powers. His old self slowly faded away, leaving only a cold, calculating entity bent on destruction. This scenario, in my opinion yields the greatest dramatic possibilities, especially if the scope of these events have much larger implications than depicted in the original episode.
Personally, I'm rather disappointed that a scenario where they would take elements of "Space Seed" and give us Khan will not play out. This sequel needs an unmistakable signature stamp that makes it abundantly clear to fans that "This IS Star Trek." If not with Khan, then with something iconic and recognizable like Klingons, Romulans, or even the reptilian Gorn. The inclusion of just a classic character in itself may not be enough to accomplish that in the necessary definitive sense. However, as long as the Enterprise crew can evolve their dynamic and settle comfortably into a rhythm that evokes the spirit (albeit updated) of the original show, it may be able to get away with the kind of Trek movie lacking in a great villain against which to parallel. While they did come off well, they certainly didn't have much time to do all of that in the last film. (Since Kirk going from washout cadet to Captain of the Federation's flagship tends to take up time.) So, in that sense, this sequel will be the true test for the fluidity of this cast.
What do you think about this possible route for the Star Trek sequel? No Khan? No problem?