‘Star Trek Into Darkness’: Hello again, Gary Mitchell

As things stand right now, on May 17 2013 moviegoers will be treated to the next chapter in JJ Abrams’ “reboot” of the Star Trek story.

While I personally have grown to hate the expression “reboot” (which is now applied to ANY retelling of an original story), Abrams did an amazing job with the first film. It could easily have been a disaster to take on such an iconic science fiction property, but his team pulled it off.

Here’s a short trailer from Star Trek Into Darkness. (WARNING: Viewing this trailer could cause you to engage in endless speculation.)

There’s been quite a bit of that speculation as to who’s the featured villain in this second installment. The popular choice early on seemed to be Khan Noonien Singh, the villain from the original series’ (TOS’) episode “Space Seed” and the title character from the second Star Trek film, The Wrath of Khan.

I don’t agree with it. While I do believe that it would create great buzz to have a powerful nemesis from TOS in this one, I don’t think it will be Khan. One reason: he’s already been in two stories. Another: as far as we know, Khan met his end in Wrath. I’ll admit that with the new “alternate universe” paradigm they’re working with, it would be easy to make Khan alive again. But: why not choose a villain that wasn’t killed–only imprisoned in a grave on a lonely desolate planet in that original series–the grave that was meant for that villain’s former best friend, the first James T. Kirk?

Uhhhh HUH. Are you getting my meaning, are you catching my drift?

The second pilot that Gene Roddenberry and his team made for NBC in 1965 was called “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” It became episode #4 of the series, and in it, the crew of the Enterprise try and cross the energy barrier at the edge of the galaxy. The ship sustains some damage, but a worse result is how it affects two crew members–Dr. Elizabeth Dehner (guest star Sally Kellerman), and Lt. Cmdr. Gary Mitchell (guest star Gary Lockwood).

According to Dr.McCoy, both had a high predisposition toward extrasensory perception/Psion talents, such as telekinesis and telepathy (individuals known as “espers”). The encounter with the energy field greatly enhanced each individual’s ESP abilities. But while Dehner was able to control hers, Mitchell was driven right over the edge, developing a “god complex.”

Here’s a big clue: Alice Eve, the blonde actress shown in the new movie’s trailer, bears an uncanny resemblance to Kellerman’s character in the TOS episode. (Although it could be just a trick to lead us down the wrong path.)

Here’s another: The plot synopsis from Paramount reads this way:

“When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis.

“With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.”

Note that it says “from within their own organization.” Unless Khan has somehow slipped through all the paperwork, security and background checks and is now a member of Star Fleet, he’s not the guy.

But–I can hear some of you shouting–let’s be fair. Near the end of the Japanese trailer there’s a few extra seconds that seem to recreate the famous scene with Kirk and Spock, hands opposite and trying to touch through a glass divider, as Spock dies. Are we to believe that this is a homage to that scene, or does it relate directly to the villain’s character? (There’s more on that here.)

Most of these points–and a few more–are also the focus of this article about the new film’s trailer, from IGN.com.

At any rate–Abrams has succeeded with one thing: he has us talking about the movie more than six months before it’s due to be released. And, as we’ve been promised a much longer (nine minute) trailer before the premiere of the December 14 film The Hobbit, we don’t have much more time to speculate–that length of a preview should reveal more clues.

It could be someone–or something–we haven’t thought of yet. Harcourt Fenton Mudd, now using NutriSystem and super-powered steroids, perhaps.

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