'Star Trek Into Darkness': Benedict Cumberbatch's Identity Revealed?

Star Trek Into Darkness Robert April

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.

Star Trek Into Darkness Robert April

[HitFix, Bleeding Cool]

More on Star Trek Into Darkness

'Star Trek Into Darkness': Cumberbatch's Identity, Carol Marcus, And A New 'Trek' Villain Theory

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  • Rachel says:

    It really seems entirely possible that this will be the person that Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing. All of the pieces of the story match up, except for his motives for revenge.

  • Unless Robert April finds The Fountain of Youth between the comic book and film and somehow becomes ‘Kind of superhuman…' (Empire Magazine) this Robert April thing is a total red herring.

    And I will point out there were cryo-tubes to be seen in the second trailer... just saying.

    • Hmm. What's your theory?

      • Robert April is indeed in the movie, as he appears here, in this comic book played by Peter Weller, whom we do not yet have a screen credit for... and he is working with whomever "John Harrison" actually is.

        Given Kirk and crew run across Robert April who calls himself such, I see little reason for him to suddenly call himself "John Harrison". In fact we'll probably hear April's name tossed about quite openly given by the time of film the crew will have already met him.

        A lot of people seemed to not considered the movie could have two villains. Like say any of the recent Batman films which Abrams and co often refer to as a touchstone.

        • Good point, Mr. Johnson. I should note that McWeeny did allow that Weller could be April and that Harrison could be in league with him.

          • Just trying to make sense of all these puzzle pieces.

            I find it interesting that Anthony Pascale of Trekmovie.com gets a “consultant” credit in the Star Trek Countdown Into Darkness comic book, and indeed, it was his website that "confirmed" Khan as the villain and the rest of the entertainment blogs picked that up from, yet being in a unique position that he has not ever disabused such a notions.

            My standing theory as of this moment is there are two bad guys at work in this movie.

            And there's something strange about this Robert April, I am very doubtful he's even from the same reality as the this alternate universe. The whole choice of words when he speaks of a ship named Enterprise is just really curious.

  • Robert April looks a bit like Rutger Hauer in that comic panel.

    • corri says:

      I still think its Gary Mitchell. The woman is a dead match for Mitchells wife. Especially the hair.

      • David says:

        The blonde in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" was Dr. Elizabeth Dehner. She and Mitchell became close as they both gained their godlike powers but they were not married.

        While Alice Eve's hair resembles Dehner's, she claims that she's actually playing the role of a younger Dr. Carol Marcus who was featured in "The Wrath of Khan". Many fans believe Marcus may have been indirectly referred to in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" as the blonde lab technician Kirk had almost married.

        I believe the name John Harrison is just a red herring and Cumberbatch could be playing Gary Mitchell or Khan or Robert April or Captain Garth (Lord Garth of Izar). Due to JJ Abrams disruption of the Star Trek timeline, anything's possible and the characters may be totally different than they were in the original series.

        • Doug H says:

          Garth was a Fleet Captain, only one of two (the other being Christopher Pike). I think Garth would work great since he DID develop a mental illness which gave him a huge sense of narcissism. and Garth was regarded as the most genius, brilliant and gifted Captains in the history of Star Fleet.

      • Doonty says:

        Mitchell never had a wife, if anything Donner was just accompanying him.

  • Ron Morris says:

    Accelerated aging plot? Uh oh...

  • David says:

    Weller is the older Robert April and Cumberbatch is the younger version after the aging process is reversed.

  • JuJu says:

    The preview shows a short scene of cryogenic tubes containing bodies. If you magnify the following still from the scene, in the background you see two people walking away. The one on the left appears to look just like Khan from the episode ‘Space Seed’ with his long tunic and dark hair with a small pony tail.


    • Davis says:

      And from Wikipedia re: Khan

      "While most of the supermen were killed or sentenced to death, Khan and 84 others escaped Earth by way of the sleeper ship SS Botany Bay. Cryogenically frozen in suspended animation, the crew of the Botany Bay are discovered by the crew of the Enterprise in 2267."

      Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khan_Noonien_Singh

  • Doug H says:

    in The Animated Series (which is now regarded as canon), Robert April is 75 yrs old, born in 2191. In the PRIME universe (everything up to the new timeline established in Star Trek 2009), The Enterprise was built in 2245 (not 2253 as we see in the 2009 movie). April commanded the Enterprise for 6 years, from 2245 to 2251. April was promoted to Commodore and later Ambassador, and command was given to Christopher Pike, who then commanded the Enterprise for the next 11 years (2251 - 2262), when he was promoted to Fleet Captain. for two years the Enterprise was on inactive status, receiving an overhaul and systems upgrade, though nowhere as extensive as the refit of 2271 - 2273. James Kirk was given command of the Enterprise in 2264, at the age of 31, the youngest Starfleet Captain ever. During his first year the Enterprise engaged on short patrols and trial runs, testing the new upgrades. when the ship passed the tests, Kirk was assigned the famous five year mission of 2265-2270. an interesting side note is that Admiral Johnathan Archer is said to have been present at the christening of the Enterprise in 2245, then died peacefully in his sleep the next day.
    as many above have stated, it is entirely possible with the new timeline to see old characters acting in totally new ways. Robert April may be a jerk and have an agenda. Garth may never have become mentally ill and very likely is an active starfleet officer (remember he held the rank of Fleet Captain, and was regarded as the probably the most brilliant and gifted officer in the history of the federation), Pike is now an Admiral, so who knows. anything goes. im not sure what to make of the bad guy being either Khan or April. if its Khan then it seems too much like a remake of Star Trek 2. i do however reject the idea that the bad guy is April out for revenge for loosing command of the Enterprise since it was established in the 2009 film that in the alternate timeline the enterprise is under construction in 2253, and completed in 2255. Christopher Pike is the first captain (referring to the Enterprise's "maiden voyage" as they are preparing to leave space dock for the Vulcan emergency) NOT April. now it could be possible that April was slated to be captain but was passed up in favor of Pike, and with Pike being promoted to Admiral and Kirk directly to Captain (instead of Ensign. Kirk jumps 5 ranks bypassing ensign, lieutenant junior grade, lieutenant, lt commander, and commander!) at the end of 3 years at the acadamy and this REALLY has April in a twist! should be interesting to see!

  • Jon says:

    In the original series novels Robert April was indeed the first captain but his first officer was James Kirk's faher. April was from England in the novels. Of course this is a time altered reality with the reboot and Kirk's father is dead.

  • Clay says:

    Cumberbatch is too young to be April, even in this reboot situation. And since when is the cartoon considered "canon?'

  • kitboyd says:

    Could the new villain be Kodos the Executioner?

  • Michael V says:

    I've heard no mention of, and could completely be off; what of the "Q" and the possibility of his intervention. He swore to get us back in the "Next generation" and his presence would make moot the point that the history of Earth and the Federation was changed. He would transcend such tedium,

  • Karl says:

    I've been reading the comic and I'd be really surprised if it's April. Kodos the Executioner is an interesting possibility, but if I had to put money down I'd put it on Garth of Izar.

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