If people are staying spoiler-free, that’s fine, and I won’t harsh your buzz. However, I will not be seeing the movie in theaters, I will not be giving it any of my money, and I am not particularly interested in discussing it.
That said, I’m gonna discuss it.
They’re doing The Wrath of Khan.
They’re doing The Wrath of Khan with a white dude as Khan. With a literal example of the Ubermensch as Khan, dye his hair black, whatever, I don’t care. That’s fucked up.
They’re doing The Wrath of Khan in a way that cannot POSSIBLY pay any respect to the character or his story, and NOT JUST BECAUSE THEY MADE HIM A WHITE DUDE.
Here’s the thing. I like Benedict Cumberbatch. I think he’s a phenomenally talented actor, and while he has said some problematic shit in the past, I believe that he is genuinely a good person. I am happy to watch him in nearly every role he’s ever played, so please do not think this is me hating on the Batch. It really seriously has nothing to do with him as a person or an actor. The fact that he fits literally every criteria of the Aryan ideal of perfection which the fathers of eugenics (Nazis) were striving for is not something he can control, and doesn’t reflect badly on him so much as it’s REALLY FUCKING UNCOMFORTABLE on the part of the director and casting process. Not his fault. You don’t have to defend him to me, and if you insist on doing so, I will tell you that you’ve missed the point.
For those who say “well, Ricardo Montalban wasn’t Indian either,” I say: Yes, I know. Is that problematic, to cast a Mexican actor as an Indian character? Yes, it very much is. All brown people are not interchangeable. (and yes, Montalban was Mexican, he couldn’t help being light-skinned, he was still a person of color, and I’m REALLY not having that conversation with you.) HOWEVER, I think it is important to note that this was 1967, in a Hollywood that fought Gene Roddenberry at every turn when he insisted on casting chromatic actors. A Hollywood that was ~ALLEGEDLY~ much more racist than it is now. Montalban was a known quantity and already on the way to being a prolific actor. He was less of a studio risk than finding an unknown or little known South Asian for the role. But you know what we have a shit-ton of now? Really excellent and prolific South Asian actors! JJ Abrams has worked with some of them. There’s really no excuse for that.
For those of you pointing out that Benicio del Toro was originally approached for the role, my point about Montalban stands.
For those of you who think that the casting of a POC as Khan was racist in the first place, as having a POC be the ideal human as a result of eugenics is a reflection on the kind of barbaric society that would practice eugenics: your ideas are intriguing, and I’d like to sit down with you and frankly discuss the Eugenics Wars as they led to the events of Space Seed, and what happened in the intervening years between that and the movie, and the movie itself. I’d also like to mention that that can’t be what JJ Abrams’s film is about, and couldn’t possibly be less relevant to the reboot’s context. There is no excuse for whitewashing. None.
For those of you saying, “Well, Cumberbatch’s Khan is a different character altogether! It’s a different universe.” I say: Fucking DUH. It fucking HAS to be, because if you can keep your main villain’s identity a secret all through production and post, and indeed HALF THE MOVIE ITSELF, then it’s OBVIOUSLY not the same Khan who was one of the richest and most iconic villains of the entire Trek franchise. SO WHY USE THE NAME? TO PISS IN THE FANS’ FACES?
And those of you saying “Well, if he had cast a POC, you would know right away it was Khan, and it would spoil the surprise!” Oh my god. First off, why do you think that? Because it’s completely inconceivable that a POC could play a role originated by a white dude, right? I mean, holy shit, that’s just totally unreasonable /sarcasm. And secondly, why the fuck should I be SURPRISED by the identity of one of the main fucking characters of a movie I
am was very interested in seeing? What the hell is the point of that gimmick??
Because here’s what I REALLY don’t get: Abrams, you wanted to remake one of the most iconic sci-fi films of all time. Yeah, I said it. ALL sci-fi films, not just the Trek franchise. You had to know that doing this would generate a metric SHIT-TON of publicity. Khan is a name you can drop, and even non-Trek fans fucking know it. So why in crikey fuck would you keep it a secret? Why would you, when fans blew your secrecy game, go so far as to plant FAKE SPOILERS to keep from associating your picture with THE SINGLE STRONGEST BUZZWORD IN YOUR ARSENAL?? Is it because you were afraid of the fan backlash? That you felt you had to trick long-time fans of the franchise into seeing your movie and HOPING they were okay with seeing a revision of what is statistically likely to be their favorite film? Because the rest of your interviews and marketing seem to suggest that you weren’t making this movie for the fans AT ALL. So who gives a shit? Why do you even care? Is it because you have so little faith in your product that the only way you could think of to generate buzz was to LIE ABOUT IT? Because I shouldn’t have to tell you that is FUCKED up. Was it to avoid accusations of racism and whitewashing? Well, all you managed to do was delay those for a while.
So good job, I guess. You’ve alienated the fans, lied to the public, demonstrated that you do not care about the material, AND you’re a racist dickbag. Well done. You must get up very early.
I understand that there are people who don’t take this as seriously as I do. Who were never Trek fans before, or still don’t consider themselves such, or who just don’t care enough to let it ruin their enjoyment of a space action film with the Star Trek label on it. There are people who would follow Cumberbatch to the ends of the Earth, and people who were charmed by the rest of the cast (and this cast is relentlessly charming). There are people who are just curious to see what all the fuss is about, and curious to see if it’s really as bad as the fans like me are claiming. If you fit any of these categories, that’s fine. I’m not here to judge you, and I can dictate no one’s behavior but my own.
But I will not be giving this movie a dime of my money. I don’t even care if it somehow, miraculously, ends up being a decent flick. I don’t care if you love it more than the first one and all you want to do is share that love. Take it somewhere else. I’m disgusted, and I am heartbroken, and I am not interested.
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