When it comes to the antagonists in superhero and sci-fi movies lately, the level of evil has been taken to the mountaintop. Ever since the depiction of The Joker and Bane in the "Dark Knight" trilogy, every other movie has dipped into the comic book annals of enemies who have no remorse in possessing nary a moral conscience. Those types of characters have been off limits in movies up until the last few years where they're now being allowed to test superheroes (and other classic characters) to their limits.
By May, we'll not only see powerfully reprehensible The Mandarin in "Iron Man 3", but also the mysterious and equally powerful John Harrison in "Star Trek Into Darkness." Played by Benedict Cumberbatch (who's playing numerous despicable people this year), the John Harrison character is now the single most talked about cinematic enemy. If you ever peruse comment sections and boards related to the new "Trek" movie, you can see enough speculations about who he is to waste more time than you should be wasting.
Some agreement is out there that the name John Harrison is a ruse or pseudonym for Khan, Gary Mitchell, or Garth of Izar. The debates for each character, though, always seem to find a dead end and never add up to satisfying the "Trek" canon that older fans covet and bristle over in the J.J. Abrams vision. So far, most of the dead ends relate to the character not being Khan or Gary Mitchell.
So is John Harrison an early incarnation of Garth of Izar? For those who know their "Trek" history, it's the closest possibility, particularly in his downfall into madness, possibly during the time the new "Trek" movies take place. The only question is whether Garth would have already been nursed back to health on a planet called Antos IV following a near deadly accident.
Those who aren't familiar with what happens with the Antos race should be reminded that they give Garth the ability to physically transform into any person he chooses. Whether that's the ultimate power given to "John Harrison" is worth pondering. But based on the new international trailer for "Star Trek Into Darkness", it seems the Harrison character is much more powerful than that in a superior, augmented way, or at least implied.
Regardless, what happens if J.J. Abrams breaks with canon and decides to make John Harrison an all-new character that comprises the characteristics of all three above foes? With the demand for enemies that are nearly impossible to bring down, Abrams might have been forced into creating someone new considering all other "Trek" villains had their limitations. And finding those limitations was one of the most intelligent aspects of the original "Star Trek" vision.
It's not to say that the much more nefarious villains we're seeing now won't still have dents in their armor, furs, or robes. Audiences, however, have deeply evolved into demanding that our cinematic heroes not be able to win so easily, obviously as allegory for how modern life is working.
Any rejection of that might come with "Trek" fans adhering so closely to a canonical timeline. That is, unless we get the ultimate twist and find out that Khan, Mitchell, and Garth were the results of one alien being starting out as John Harrison and later splitting into three people.
Even that would likely incite "Trek" fans to banish J.J. Abrams to an asylum on another planet.
- Arts & Entertainment