‘Tis the season for everyone involved admitting they messed up with “Star Trek Into Darkness.” Last week, director J.J. Abrams came clean, saying that “there were too many nods to ‘[Star Trek II]: The Wrath of Khan‘ in his film. And now, co-writer and producer Damon Lindelof is also taking the confessional route, admitting that keeping the film’s villain under a shroud of secrecy probably wasn’t for the best.
“When we did ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ for example, we decided that we weren’t going to tell people that Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Khan. And that was a mistake, because the audience was like, ‘We know he’s playing Khan.’ That was why it was a mistake,” he told Variety.
However, Lindelof does see the value of keeping some things a mystery, and applauds Abrams for keeping a lid on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
“…J.J. [Abrams] is telling us nothing about the new ‘Star Wars’ movie and we love it,” Lindelof continued. “I’ve not come across a single person who’s like, ‘I wish I knew a little bit more.’ We are like, ‘Thank God he’s protecting us from all the things that will be revealed in the movie theater.’”
So it seems keeping a cloak on the finer points of a movie is worth it if the payoff is satisfying, but in the case of ‘Darkness,’ the name of the baddie simply wasn’t enough. And I would argue the same applies to “Spectre,” with the filmmakers bending over backwards to keep the identity of Christoph Waltz‘s villain a mystery, but to little effect in the end.