While promoting his forthcoming NBC series Believe at the recent Television Critics Association winter press tour, Star Trek Into Darkness director and executive producer J.J. Abrams spent a few minutes with IGN discussing the extreme care taken to protect story secrets from last year's Trek movie.
"I don't try to maintain the mystery box... [but] I do think it's a mistake to ruin stories for audiences," the director said. "In [Into Darkness], fans of the series are aware that he's either Khan or not, so it was probably a mistake not to just say he was Khan and get past it.
But the problem in the movie is that there's an hour in the film that the characters don't know, so I thought, 'If the audience was told will it ruin the experience?' But the truth is it probably wouldn't have made much of a difference in that regard."
Back in December, Abrams commented to MTV that it may have been a "smarter" choice to admit to Benedict Cumberbatch's role as Khan Singh in the recent film.
Into Darkness co-writer Roberto Orci was also on hand at the TCA press tour and also gave his take on the Khan secret and the pre-release misdirection used to protect the film's plot.
"I do agree with [J.J.] that you want to preserve the storytelling experience for an audience," Orci said. "You don't want to give away twists, and we designed it as a twist. Alex [Kurtzman] and I, though, like to be very transparent about the process and things that are going on...
It was a mistake. I think it's easy to Monday morning quarterback. Like I said, we can't blame anybody or him for wanting to maintain or preserve the integrity of the story for an audience...
I will point out that online I never lied about it. I think I was the who said, 'Yes, it's that kind of character,' and, 'No, it's not that one.' When [Karl Urban] went out and misled everyone... [Laughs] That's the one rule I have with the audience; I'll misdirect, and I'm happy to pull some tricks, but I don't lie to the audience."
The third installment of the rebooted Trek film series is expected in 2016.