Yesterday Benedict Cumberbatch’s Star Trek Into Darkness character finally got a name, but this name didn’t exactly line up with what we had been lead to believe about the character. Luckily TrekMovie had a chance to dig deeper into this by talking to two of the film’s screenwriters: Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. See what they had to say, but again beware of spoilers.
Kurtzman and Orci Talk John Harrison and Star Trek Canon
The biggest topic of the Trekverse today seems to be about “John Harrison,” the name Paramount has finally given to Benedict Cumberbatch’s character for Star Trek Into Darkness. As reported yesterday by TrekMovie, this name is definitely used in the movie and isn’t some kind of code name being used for marketing. However, we have been lead to believe that Cumberbatch was playing a well-known character from Star Trek’s canon, which had been fueling speculation about Gary Mitchell, Khan, Garth of Izar, Charlie X, Gary Seven and beyond.
Yesterday at a cocktail reception held after the Bad Robot Star Trek visit day, TrekMovie had a chance to corner two of the screenwriters and grill them on this possible contradiction. Here is what they had to say….
TrekMovie: A few months back Bob told me that Benedict Cumberbatch’s character would be from Star Trek’s canon. Today we find out that he is named John Harrison. So are both of those things still true?
Alex Kurtzman: Well without revealing too much what I can tell you is that in the same spirit as “can the Enterprise be under water? What does that mean? How are we going to justify this? How are we going to explain it?” We went back and we talked a lot about things that made us want to make the first movie in the first place as fans. And what do we feel was successful for the fans. A lot of that had to do with honoring the history — honoring the show. But we also want to come up with a way to make the stories feel fresh and unpredictable. So without revealing too much, we applied the same thinking to Harrison.
Reading between the lines, Kurtzman appears to be saying that Cumberbatch’s character honors Star Trek history but in a new, unpredictable way. Later on I also had a chance to ask Kurtzman’s writing partner the same question, and he took a bit of a more light-hearted approach to the answer…
TrekMovie: So you said that Cumberbatch plays a canon character, but now we see he is playing a guy named John Harrison, so no conflict?
Roberto Orci: Well I did say on your site that I lied once [see comment 67].
TrekMovie: So is this the lie?
Roberto Orci: We will have to wait and see (laughs)
Bottom line is that these guys continue to keep their cards close to their chest. TrekMovie will have another follow-up article analyzing all the John Harrison speculation here and around the web tomorrow.
Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison in “Star Trek Into Darkness”