By Drew Taylor | The Playlist December 3, 2011 at 12:01PM
When news broke a few weeks ago that Benicio del Toro was being courted by J.J. Abrams for the role as the Big Bad villain in their hotly anticipated "Star Trek" sequel, we guessed there was a fairly big chance that del Toro could play fan favorite 'Trek' villain Khan. That's not exactly a stretch, given comments by screenwriter Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman made it sound like they were looking into the "Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan" story as possible fodder for the sequel and the fact that del Toro and original Khan Ricardo Montalban share the same vague ethnic background (Montalban is Mexican, del Toro is Puerto Rican). In short succession it was confirmed yesterday that del Toro would play Khan...then just as quickly denied (by J.J. Abrams himself).
The supposed scoop came courtesy of Latino Review, who confirmed, with some certainty, that del Toro would be playing Khan Noonien Singh, who first appeared in a season one episode of the original "Star Trek" television series before reaching big screen immortality in Nicholas Meyer's 1982 film. Except that, of course, Drew McWeeny over at HitFix, got in touch with Abrams about the news and Abrams fired back a terse statement: "Not true." McWeeny admits that Abrams is a slippery character always evading answering things dead on (this is the mystery box guy after all) but this is a pretty direct acknowledgement that whoever del Toro ends up playing, it sure as shit won't be Khan.
So let the speculation begin! Who will del Toro be playing instead of Khan? Our guess is that, since this is a relatively "new" universe Abrams and co. are developing, it'll be an all-new character. But then again we don't know how many great Trek baddies are in the canon since we've tried to develop solid interpersonal relationships with actual human beings in the last few decades. But hey, Abrams could just be denying for denial's sake (though McWeeny insists Abrams has never outright lied to him). We'll all have to wait a little later before getting a peek inside the mystery box of "Star Trek 2," since it won't open until May 17, 2013 in 3D.