After more than a year of speculation, red herrings and outright denials, the true identity of Benedict Cumberbatch's villain in Star Trek Into Darkness may have just been revealed by Entertainment Weekly.
Although Paramount Pictures' promotional materials identify the sequel's "unstoppable force of terror" as "John Harrison," EW's oneline store runs the headline "Voyage Into the New Star Trek Kirk & Khan" alongside the Chris Pine/Cumberbatch cover for the new issue. (Note: The headline has been changed, but you can see the screen grab below.) The EW photo gallery, however, sticks with "John Harrison."
Khan had been rumored as the film's likely villain as early as 2010, a notion dismissed time and again, only to be given weight by reports in late 2011 director J.J. Abrams wanted first Benicio del Toro and then Edgar Ramirez to play the antagonist. (Although Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically engineered superman from the late 20th century, was from India, he was famously portrayed by Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban on the 1966 Star Trek episode "Space Seed" and in the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.)
Amid periodic denials, speculation drifted to classic Trek villains ranging from Gary Mitchell to Charlie Evans to Garth of Izar, but it invariably ended up back with Khan. Let's see if it remains there this time.
Star Trek Into Darkness, which opens May 17, also stars Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood and Peter Weller.