Cumberbatch: Star Trek Into Darkness Has ‘Chilling’ Parallels To Modern World

Before Star Trek Into Darkness was scripted the filmmakers had said they were hoping to make a film that was more relevant to the issues of the day. In a newly released video interview excerpt, the actor who plays the film’s villain notes that the parallels to the modern world are "chilling." Watch him talk about his inspiration for the role below.  



Cumberbatch: Modern Parallel’s to Into Darkness ‘Chilling’

MTV has released another excerpt from their video interview with Star Trek Into Darkness actor Benedict Cumberbatch. This time they talked about where the actor looked for inspiration for his role of the villain John Harrison. Cumberbatch said…

"[Look at] real social history and present history, everything that’s going on: uprisings, people who are trying to spread democracy or fight their cause, and not necessarily through political means … he is a terrorist, and sadly, that’s part of the fabric of our modern world. You don’t need to look far to research that one. But I did look at certain terrorist groups in the past, but it was important to me to ground him in a reality that’s based more on his story than, say, a parallel in the real world. What should certainly be chilling are the parallels to the modern world."

Here is the video


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If you’re going to post videos, make sure they’re view-able internationally.

Is he playing Julian Assange, by any chance? Oh, wait. Wrong movie.

Enough whining please from people who can’t get access to videos.

Julian Assange is a true hero.

I’m surprised no one is seeing this as a hint of Khan — sort of making Khan himself a “terrorist” in our age… while I still think “Garth” is possible with everything we have seen, we could see hints that “Khan” in the new universe was a terrorist trying to get power instead of really having power, and was a Bin Laden figure who fled into space instead of being killed by drone strikes?

What MJ doesn’t whine?

3 Says a person who doesn’t have issues with getting access to videos.
and complains when a new story isnt posted at the drop of a hat.

@4 Yea, he, Roman Polanski, Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Jackson, Chris Brown — all great heroes to be proud of and celebrate. What great and honorable men they all are.

@6 @7. Exactly, I am an expert on it., so who better than to identify it when it happens, right? :-)

What a load of old ramble, ramble?

Julian Assange is a criminal . What a dill.

any story who wants to be seen or read or whatever has to have some kind of connection to the audience. so it´s NOT that new to say: “parallels to the modern world”. IF I want to see a story about ANYTHING i´d watch SOMETHING. But a good movie HAS to have some kind of relation to me, show me how these people would react in a situation like ours. NOT ours, LIKE ours.
So, short: Everything BC says fits to EVERY Star Trek movie.
good about is, that this one has it, too.

#4 errr … Julian Assange is actually a top-level piece of shit. He’s hiding from Sweden (freedom-of-information capital) in the embassy of Ecuador (a country that absolutely shuts down its own journalists). And his entire reasoning for hiding? “Er I’m innocent!”

Yeah, great thinking. Next time I have a court date, I’ll just stay home because, y’know what? I’m innocent and the rules shouldn’t apply to me.

If his cause was worth anything – anything at all – he’d go to court, possibly get apprehended by the US, and use the trial as a platform for delivering his message. Instead, he’s doing what guilty men do – slipping and sliding and doing everything he can to stay ‘free’, no matter how pathetic it is.

He’s a worm and I can’t wait for him to get what’s coming to him.

Don’t get started on politics, Trekkie. Run to your TV, turn on the news and let them tell you how to think.

Hey 14, is that any different to letting the nice man on the internet tell you how to think? 10 points for unintentional irony there, sir.

Zero Trek 30

13 must be a high court judge.

Funny how the overly opinionated always show themselves up.

Aha, a guy who stands up for transparency and real journalism is a criminal. NuTrek does not incidentally attract a lot of reactionary people.

He’s absolutely right! So his character is obviously a dictator. Gee I WONDER who it could BE. It doesn’t take a genius, folks. Especially since he’s based off a famous TOS villain. Duh. :P

It looks like there are a few newbies here. Generally, trolling for political debate will be shut down on short order. I’m sure there is a Julian Assange fan page…somewhere…where you can go drool all over your hero. Just don’t do it here…..

RE: John Harrison…soif the movie parallels the modern world, how will Treks inevitible happy ending play out in real life?

How about you first swallow some of your own medicine, hypocrite?
People who have no issues with war crimes but with the guys who discover them … yet at the same time kike a progressive sci-fi franchise are obviously capable of double-think.

So as long as you can get to see it MJ, that`s okay huh?

Give me a break.

I suppose Cumberbatch means that John Harrison is similar to Norwegian anti-Islamic fanatic Anders Behring Breivik; a mass murderer who views himself as a lone crusader.
If that is the case, of course he can’t say that so literally.

It’s too bad MTV doesn’t make it’s videos more widely available, but are people really suggesting that this means this site shouldn’t share it at all? Since you’re not lucky enough to be able to see it, others shouldn’t? And isn’t getting a transcript of what was said better than nothing? (Also, btw, people do usually get these onto youtube fairly quickly)

Everybody here gets to see the transcript.
perhaps someday, there will be a way to share the video with everyone.
Until that time, the words will have to do .

Just curious, is Khan really the only Trek villain that could be considered a Terrorist ?


Nope. Garth certainly could be one.

@5 Gart Faction,

Calling Harrison a terrorist and calling upon past terrorist groups for inspiration make him less likely to be Khan.

Othe threads have analyzed What we know about Khan in detail, and he was anything but a terrorist. Khan was a “benevolent” dictator only fighting when attacked, no massacres; an essentially peaceful reign. Add to that Khan’s only stated goal — to rule — and Abram’s description as the ultimate psychopath, then you have a very unsympathetic character if that’s all he hopes to achieve by resorting to terrorism. And we know that Harrison’s cause is supposed to elicit sympathy from the audience.

Of course anything could have changed in this alternate reality, but this seems less and less like Khan the more we learn.

Now, could he be one of the other Botany Bay survivors? Absolutely. We know the other “supermen” were far more volatile than Khan in their rule, and could easily have different goals than Khan in that respect, based on having religious doctrines which Khan seemed to eschew. An Islamic superman for instance, to tie it directly to modern terrorists.

Now, if Harrison turns out to be a Klingon let’s say, and to find the Federation has been holding large numbers of Klingons in a Guantanamo Bay like prison, then that would be a sympathetic terrorist cause as well as fit wih the plot details we’ve been given (I still find it interesting that the IDW Mirror comic references regular Klingon terrorist attacks, suggesting something that might also exist in the regular alt universe in some smaller way given that this Starfleet has been intimated to be far darker than TOS).

So while it might still be Khan, it seems far less likely than other possibilities. And if it’s not khan, it won’t be “Khan-centric” either. Even if it’s another Botany Bay survivor, it will have nothing to do with Khan.

Assange is an unwitting CIA dupe leaking meaningless evidecne to make it seem as though America’s worst secrets are exposed when actually the leaks merely corrborate neocon war propaganda against their selected enemies.

Unless of course you can find antying among his documents that we didn’t already know or that hurt anyone in government.

But that’s just me. I digress.

…And so could Joachim, whom I believe he is playing.


I love it!

Mention something vaguely shady and Bob comes correct with a conspiracy theory for it.

Bob, is there anything big that the world should know about that’s easy to look up, but was covered up and/or propaganda did such a good job, that the general populace just very wrong ideas about it?

I’m really afraid Into Darkness will do the same thing that Dark Knight Rises did, portraying the Occupy movement as a bunch of murderous terrorists enthralled to an evil, charismatic leader.

32. Off the top of my head: Thomas Edison. He was given way to much credit for all of his “inventions.” The more I read about him and Tesla and Westinghouse the more I realize how much the world was duped into believing Edison created it all. It just burns me since I went to Edison Junior High School.

I would have also said Lance Armstrong, but he admitted to it a few weeks ago.

@5 Garth Faction,

I previously posted a well reasoned response, but I suspect certain political buzz-words sent it to the spam filter.

Suffice it to say, all this terrorism talk makes it less likely to be Khan for me, as recently debated — Khan was a peaceful, benevolent dictator, fighting only when attacked. Not likely to resort to terrorist activity, which would only serve to make Khan less sympathetic to audiences, given his stated goal: to rule.

Harrison must have a compelling reason to sympathize with him, especially given that Abrams has essentially described him as the ultimate psychopath. And there are other more appropriate antagonists from canon than Khan to achieve that.


Oh, I have my own conspiracy theory about Lance.

I believe the cycling association knew Armstrong was doping and was complicit in it.

@29. That’s hardly a news flash, Bob. Mostly diplomatic cables and stuff that is at best slightly embarrassing. Not sure how that makes him a CIA dupe, as opposed to a grandstanding opportunist who managed to abuse his fifteen minutes of fame….


Notice what I said, I was suggesting that in the “reboot” universe I can see them changing Khan. Heck, there is the possibility that records on Khan were wrong, even in TOS, and fabricated by some distant followers of his. It could be “the historical Khan” vs “the mythic Khan” kind of thing. So I think it does raise Khan’s chances.. but I still say Garth still is in the running.. But I can see ret-Khan happening due to 9-11.

@36. Well, that’s not a news flash, either. What was impossible to find when Lance was at his peak was a cyclist who was NOT doping.


Filming on TDKR was completed before Occupy even began. It has much closer parallels to The French Revolution than OWS.


At this point, that’s not even a conspiracy theory. It’s obvious that all those cyclists were doping, and when a problem is that widespread there’s no way someone in authority isn’t turning a blind eye to it.


I believe it.

But I think they even covered for him because his story was bringing so many new fans, attention, (and money) to the sport.

Think about it.

If you’re not a bicycling fan, is there anything else you know about it besides Lance Armstrong?

This seems like a few points for Team He’s-Not-Khan… Who knows?


Oh he’s definitely the golden boy of the cycling world, no doubt. Lots of people had reasons (mostly financial) for covering for him.

Sounds like Star Trek Into Darkness is giving every indication of being…(dun, dun, dunnnn) an allegory.

I’m definitely on board for that! In fact, I’m feeling a little naustalgic…

(Jack – I tease, I tease :))

#24 – interesting call. The terrorist attack in Norway happened on 24 August 2012. However, I did find this – a terrorist/murderer who is now doing time in jail who he was influenced by and who he greatly admired.

The difference is, Lance Armstrong used his money and influence to pay off those in charge of the various cycling associations (which would be considered corruption) and to launch lawsuits against witnesses to bully them into silence. That’s the difference between him, and other cheaters like Floyd Landis, who was first encouraged by Armstrong to do steroids but subsequently thrown under the bus to save his own ass.

If it was merely about the cheating, no one would care. Armstrong would simply be the best of the cheaters. The sport is rife with cheating, so that part would be understandable. Sometimes cheating is necessary.

The main issue is with the man himself, and how he conducted himself. He went to great lengths to cover up his cheating, all the while presenting himself as a great role model in the fight against cancer.

He’s been exposed as a liar, a fraud, a cheat, and a hypocrite.

The irony is, had been forthcoming about his cheating several years ago, he might not have been stripped of his titles. He could have easily made the case for why he should keep them.

But no, he resorted to bribery, blackmail, lawsuits and other bullying tactics to keep it all quiet.

One now has to wonder if Armstrong even had cancer in the first place.


The attack in Norway happened on July 22nd, 2011.

I don’t think that Julian Assange is a terrorist, just an apparent whistleblower and governments just hate whistleblowers.