Star Trek 2 Villain Rumors: It’s Probably Not General Zod

As development ramps up on the untitled sequel to the 2009 Star Trek reboot film, plot and casting rumors are as inevitable as Vulcan ponn farr. J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Damon Lindelof are still working on the script, but people are already conjecturing about the possible storylines and characters we’ll see as early as June 2012.

The latest revelations, according to Trekmovie.com and Badass News, dangle the possibility of a classic Trek antagonist challenging the crew of the Enterprise. It seems many fans would happily go where we’ve gone before with a modern take on “Space Seed” and the return of a pre-wrathful Khan Noonien Singh. I think that would be a mistake given the iconic nature of Ricardo Montalban’s performance and the fact that the original Star Trek II has pretty big boots to fill. Come to think of it, “Space Seed” itself is a tough act to follow.

The producers and writers may agree, because Khan is apparently off the table for now. The names currently bandied about include Harcourt Fenton Mudd, Trelane, Gary Mitchell, the Talosians, and the Horta. Just think those over for a moment. Harry Mudd? What’s he going to do, sell them defective sunglasses to cut down on the glare on the bridge?

In my opinion, the only two real contenders from that list are the Talosians and Trelane. Most of these scenarios just wouldn’t play out all that differently in the new timestream, even if Enterprise encounters them sooner. I don’t even think a story with Trelane or his race would offer much wiggle room. My quatloos are on the Talosians, which are just as powerful as Trelane and much more interesting.

In an interview I can’t find at the moment, I believe Abrams commented on the fact that now that the characters have been introduced, they’d like to do a deeper, more thoughtful story than the action-packed, universe-hopping, time travel puzzle we got in the first film. The Talosians offer a lot of what Star Trek is about: first contact with a powerful race of space douches, questions of reality, conflicts between desire and responsibility, and humanity proving its quality in the face of impossible odds. I think the timing should work out roughly as well, considering Christopher Pike was in command of Enterprise when they first visited Talos IV and Kirk took the captain’s chair a bit early in the new continuity. Pike could still be involved (and I hope he is), but it’s also going to be important for the new movie to have enough changes from the original episode to leave some question about what will happen next in the minds of those who have already seen it countless times. So how would Kirk have handled the Talosians under the same conditions? Will they have any hope of success without Number One? (Oh, it would be amazing if she turned up, wouldn’t it?) If they want to bring the Klingons in on the action too, have them show up on Talos IV at the same time and blend in a little of the plot from “Errand of Mercy” with Talosians subbing for Organians, why don’t they?

It’s also entirely possible that all of these names are red herrings, or the reliable source is actually wrong, or that more than one of these characters will appear in some capacity. io9.com and The New York Times offered another tantalizing tidbit: it seems Roberto Orci showed off an iPad with an actress’s photo on which he had painted a pointed ear. He could just doodle on pictures for fun, but it could also imply that a significant female Vulcan might make an appearance as well. If it is Spock’s childhood betrothed, T’Pring, as many hope, this could present an interesting quandary for the science officer’s relationship with Uhura and an opportunity for some restrained Vulcan angst. They do have some serious reproducing to get to, after all. So yeah, at least that sounds about right.

Another interview suggests the sequel will be darker than the first (the Talosians could easily take it there) and that Scotty would play a bigger role; if that’s still the case, he could probably be put to use for forty minutes trying to phaser a hole into the Talosians’ rocky fortress, or commanding the ship while Kirk demonstrates sex for his alien captors and Spock deals with a love triangle. There, I wrote the film outline for them. This is easy!

Would you like to see any of the villains mentioned above in the new movie? Or do you think we’re overlooking someone or something important from the classic canon, like the Salt Monster or the Old Ones? We probably will never get the Guardian of Forever, alas, but something along the lines of the Doomsday Machine could be exciting–like Star Trek IV if they had tried to destroy the Probe instead of pacify it.

About Eugene Myers

Eugene has published short fiction in a variety of print and online zines as E.C. Myers. He is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop and a member of the writing group Altered Fluid. When he isn’t watching Star Trek, he reads and writes young adult fiction. His first novel, Fair Coin, is available now from Pyr. His website is at http://ecmyers.net.