One of the great revelations of Star Trek Into Darkness was the fact that John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) was actually Khan, a classic character introduced on the original Star Trek episode "Space Seed" and revisited in the 1982 feature film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Now IDW Publishing has announced a six-issue comic miniseries called Star Trek: Khan, which will debut in October and detail the history of the Eugenics Superman from his creation through the events of Star Trek Into Darkness.
Here, series writer Mike Johnson briefly discusses what the comic is all about in this exclusive interview.
GEEK: Let’s start at the beginning — what was the genesis of this idea and how did it develop?
MIKE JOHNSON: It came out of conversations I had with Bob Orci and IDW about what we could do in the comics that could expand the story of Into Darkness the same way that our original Countdown mini-series did for the 2009 movie. We couldn’t use Khan in this year’s Countdown to Darkness prequel comic, because we couldn’t spoil the movie, but it felt natural to give Khan his own series after the movie was released.
GEEK: Obviously we’ve had Khan on TV, in films and in Greg Cox’s novels. Are any of those playing an influence in this mini-series or is it all original using background provided in “Space Seed” as a launching point?
MIKE JOHNSON: We are sticking to “Space Seed” and Wrath of Khan exclusively, but the story of the comic series is all original, extrapolating from what we learned about Khan from those two sources. The series will also tie into Into Darkness in a unique way that expands on the events of the movie.
GEEK: What would you say is the span of this mini-series in terms of Khan’s chronology?
MIKE JOHNSON: It starts in the late 20th-Century, through the Eugenics Wars, into Khan’s hibernation, then it shows how he was found and revived by Admiral Marcus in the new timeline.
GEEK: Whether in the hands of Ricardo Montalban or Benedict Cumberbatch, Khan is such a fascinating character. Why do you think he continues to appeal to people and, as a writer, why does he appeal to you?
MIKE JOHNSON: I think it’s because he’s such a great combination of seductive charm and cold-blooded aggression. He has a distinct and twisted philosophy that plays so well in opposition to the optimistic worldview of Kirk and company, and he has the added appeal of being a man out of time who has a unique perspective on the future as portrayed in Trek.
GEEK: Will the events of Star Trek Into Darkness somehow color the version of Khan we’ll see, despite the fact that it will be an earlier version?
MIKE JOHNSON: It will, but only after Khan is revived. His life takes a dramatically different course than it did “Space Seed” and Wrath of Khan. To tease it a little bit: the circumstances of his revival affect him both physically and mentally in unexpected ways.
GEEK: Why in hell hasn’t anyone realized that there is a TV series or film in the early days of Khan? Admittedly that may not be an actual interview question, but it’s something I’ve always wondered.
MIKE JOHNSON: I agree! It’s fertile ground for epic stories. Hopefully we can scratch that itch for fans who want to see what the 1990s were really like.