The release of the first issue of a three-part prequel comic to Star Trek Into Darkness has lent some credence to the theory that the true villain of JJ Abram's upcoming movie is not Khan or Gary Mitchell, but rather Robert April, the very first captain of the Starship Enterprise.
HitFix's Drew McWeeny first raised the idea late last year after Abrams' Bad Robot held a press day for the feature, which hits theaters in May, and now Brandon Connelly at Bleeding Cool has posted panels from the prequel comic which feature April.
Star Trek Into Darkness screenwriter/producer Roberto Orci has said that the film's will be a canon character, and April is. He was introduced in the animated Star Trek series that ran for 22 episodes in 1973 and '74. As McWeeny notes below, although Bad Robot has not confirmed that April figures in Star Trek Into Darkness, the plot of the animated episode that featured April appears to dovetail with aspects of the movie that have been revealed so far:
He first appeared in the animated series, and in the episode where he appeared, it was established that he was was the first Captain of the Enterprise, even before Pike. He was much older in the episode, "The Counter-Clock Incident," which you can watch right now if you have NetFlix Instant. In that episode, everyone on the Enterprise starts to age backwards, and by the time they're all kids, unable to fix the problem, only April and his wife are still old enough to figure out how to reverse the process. April figuring out that mechanism for how to control aging and even reverse it could be an important part of the plot for "Star Trek Into Darkness." If you saw the first nine minutes of the film in front of "The Hobbit," then you already know that the film opens with a London couple driving to the hospital where their daughter lies immobilized, and from the few shots we see of her, she appears to be aging too rapidly. At the end of that scene, her father (Noel Clarke) steps outside for some air, and that's when Cumberbatch shows up and tells him, "I can cure her.''
As McWeeny points out in his post, Peter Weller, who's also in STID could very well turn out to be April instead of Cumberbatch, who Abrams has chosen to identify simply as John Harrison. Whoever he turns out to be when the movie finally premieres, one thing is clear: this whole who-is-Benedict-Cumberbatch? mystery is brilliant guerrilla marketing on Bad Robot's part.
Here's the revealing comic panel that Bleeding Cool posted. It's the final page of the first issue of Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness.
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