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Star Trek Into Darkness Fumbled Its Khan Mystery

"Star Trek Into Darkness" is one of those rare sequels that does its predecessor proud. The follow-up to J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" exceeded the original film's box office numbers, making nearly $81 million more globally than Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise's first adventure in the Kelvin timeline (via The Numbers). However, the saying that a hero is only as good as his villain truly lives up to the cliché in "Star Trek Into Darkness," and Benedict Cumberbatch steals the show as the genetically engineered Khan Noonien Singh.

Khan was first portrayed by Ricardo Montalban in the original "Star Trek" television series Season 1 episode "Space Seed." The actor then reprised the role 15 years later in the best "Star Trek" movie of all time: "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." So Cumberbatch knew he had Ceti Alpha V-sized shoes to fill taking over, but he loved every moment on the "Star Trek Into Darkness" set (via Movieline). "It's just absurdly good fun," he said, joking about whether or not he even deserved to get paid because it didn't feel like work.

And while fans loved Khan and "Star Trek Into Darkness," with the film holding an 89% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, Abrams thinks hiding the identity of Cumberbatch's character from Trekkies before the movie's release was a monumental blunder.

Abrams feels he should have come clean about Khan

Although fans boldly ventured into theaters to see "Star Trek Into Darkness" under the guise that Benedict Cumberbatch was portraying a new baddie named John Harrison, they were delighted when the character revealed his true identity to be Khan Noonien Singh. Director J.J. Abrams, however, thinks it would have been less deceitful to just reveal Khan's identity from the get-go (via MTV).

"The truth is I think it probably would have been smarter just to say upfront 'This is who it is,'" he said. "It was only trying to preserve the fun of it, and it might have given more time to acclimate and accept that's what the thing was."

On the other hand, Abrams admits that he can understand wanting to keep Khan's identity under wraps, revealing that the studio was adamant that "Star Trek Into Darkness" try to attract moviegoers outside of the established Trekkie fan base. "If we said it was Khan, it would feel like you've really got to know what 'Star Trek' is about to see this movie," he said.