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When I was at the "Star Trek Into Darkness" press day at the end of last year, I noticed something that I mentioned in the article, a passing reference to "April" on some of the production design artwork.
Keep in mind this was the same day we first learned the official name of Benedict Cumberbatch's character in the film, "John Harrison." This seemed to confuse people who have been reading every single word about the sequel that has been printed online. After all, Bob Orci said at one point that the villain in the new movie is a character who appears in canon, which is one reason why many people made the jump to assuming that it was Khan or maybe Gary Mitchell.
Mitchell had to be ruled out early, though, because he made an appearance in the IDW comic tie-in to the Abrams film, and Orci and Kurtman have both said that the comic series is meant to be taken as part of the continuity of the film series. If that's true, then maybe the half-baked theory I posted after seeing that mention of April isn't that half-baked after all.
Brandon Connelly over at Bleeding Cool was the first to post about the clue that appears on the last page of the first issue of the new three-part prequel comic that builds to the new film later this year. When I first mentioned the notion that Robert April was a candidate for the true identity of this film's villain, I had to do a little digging to figure out who Robert April was in the world of "Star Trek." 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.''
When I wrote about all of that, there was no indication at all that they were using Robert April in any capacity. He hasn't been mentioned in the publicity for the film. He certainly hasn't been confirmed in any way, and there's been no cast listing in which someone was said to be playing him. I pulled all of that out of a single use of the word "April" on a piece of production art. It's just that the prop that we see in the trailer is called "April's Gatling Gun," and in that trailer, it's Cumberbatch who is using that weapon. Does that mean for sure that Cumberbatch is playing Robert April? Of course not.
It could very easily be Peter Weller who is playing Robert April, and maybe Cumberbatch is a crew member who is still loyal to April. If that's the case, then why would Cumberbatch be so angry at Starfleet in "Star Trek Into Darkness"? What could turn the first Captain of the Enterprise into the leader of a group of terrorists? And what is the technology that Cumberbatch possesses that will allow him to help Noel Clarke's daughter? And why? Is it the reverse-aging technology from the animated show? Or did April and his crew stumble over the Botany Bay out there in deep space?
Check out the final page of issue one that Bleeding Cool posted. Keep in mind that this had to have been written and on its way to the printers well before I published my article, so I doubt this is spin that's being thrown out there to counteract my theory. Instead, this seems to confirm that April has something to do with the new movie in some way. I think it's fun that something I sort of casually mentioned has started to look like it's coming together as a reality, but obviously there are all sorts of games that Abrams and company could still be playing here. You can read a full breakdown of the issue and some preview pages here.
I have a feeling we've still got a long way to go for hard answers, but for now, it's a lot more interesting than just assuming it's Khan in the new movie, and I'm enjoying the speculation.
"Star Trek Into Darkness" opens May , 2013.
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