Dec. 7, 2012 at 11:24 AM ET
Warning: Possible spoilers for "Star Trek Into Darkness" follow.
"Star Trek" fans are known for their devotion -- to the series, to its characters, to remembering past episodes. So even though the new teaser for "Star Trek Into Darkness," the second movie in the rebooted series, doesn't reveal a great deal, fans are already building theories.
The one-minute teaser provides plenty of action, but merely hints at the biggest question: Which villain is star Benedict Cumberbatch playing?
There are two big rumors -- and the tricky new teaser would seem to support both of them.
Some believe the villain will be Gary Mitchell, who appeared in the original series episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before," playing Captain Kirk's good friend and one-time Starfleet Academy student. Mitchell gains almost godlike powers (and creepy silver eyes, represented by painful contact lenses) and ends up in a deadly battle with Kirk.
Actor Karl Urban, who plays Dr. McCoy, dropped an earlier hint mentioning Mitchell by name, and in the new teaser, Cumberbatch is wearing a Starfleet uniform, as Mitchell would.
Others say the villain is unlikely to be Mitchell, for various reasons. Devin Faraci of Badass Digest thinks Mitchell won't be the villain because the "Star Trek" comic book series has already written the Mitchell plotline, and Faraci believes the character was given to the comics after being discarded as a movie villain.
Jokes Badass Digest reader Andrew Crump, "I really hope the villain isn't Gary Mitchell, because Gary Mitchell is not the name of a villain. It's the name of an insurance salesman from Topeka, Kansas."
The other big villain's name that keeps circulating is of course, Khan Nooonien Singh, the character so memorably played by Ricardo Montalban in both the 1967 television episode "Space Seed" and the 1982 film, "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan."
Khan's a fan favorite, for the details of his story (a wormlike Ceti eel in Chekov's brain!), Montalban's portrayal (that accent!), and William Shatner's tortured "KHAAAAAAAAAN!" wail as Kirk, certainly one of the most parodied line deliveries ever.
Now before you go practicing that line, know that Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty in the movie series, has said of the villain, "It's not Khan."
But could he be faking us out? In the teaser trailer, Cumberbatch says, "For I have returned to have my vengeance," which to many viewers means "vengeance on Kirk for exiling me," as was done to Khan.
And another clue was sniffed out by those who cared enough to go to the Apple trailers site and watch the Japanese version of this teaser. At the very end, there's a scene not shown in the U.S. trailer, where two hands, one split in the famed Vulcan "live long and prosper" salute, touch on opposite sides of glass.
To fans, that scene is a direct homage to the scene in "Wrath of Khan" where Spock sacrifices himself for the crew. So they're saying it's Khan then?
Fans may not have to wait too long for answers. Although "Star Trek Into Darkness" doesn't open till May 17, viewers going to IMAX showings of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," which opens Dec. 14, will get to see the first nine minutes of the movie before returning to Middle-Earth.
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