Abrams: Khan And Magic Blood



Star Trek into DarknessJ.J. Abrams explained why Khan was chosen as the villain and how the idea of using Khan’s blood to save Kirk came about.

Some fans expected a reboot to explore new stories, but Abrams wanted to explore Khan further.

“I think the thing was that Khan really is the most iconic villain of the series,” Abrams said, “and it felt like an opportunity to see another side of Khan and to something that, like the first film did, use elements that people were familiar with but in a new [way].”

Using Khan’s blood to save Kirk was an idea that came out of the events of the beginning of the film, although that had not been originally planned. “Well, it’s funny,” said Abrams, “we had this idea in the beginning of the film of this girl who is sort of being brought back into good health as a means of coercing her father to do something horrific, and it was sitting there. And we knew we wanted to do something that was going to kind of push Kirk to a limit where he was tested in a way he never had been before where he really had to appreciate the kind of chair that he was sitting in. And it ended up just coming out of realizing that we had this thing that was sitting there that was already set up in the movie.

“The idea for me with Khan that was so powerful was this was a sort of monster that we made – he was someone who, having been sort of genetically engineered and banished, he was someone who just like Kirk, loved his crew, and would do anything for them. And we realized that Kirk and Khan were very much in a similar position, and then finally we put them in a situation where you really question, can I trust him? Can I work with him at all? That to me was a fun thing, especially after the first movie where we had a wonderfully-performed bad guy, but a sort of simpler one, where it was just about a raving, vengeful, angry Romulan. So it was a fun thing to have a character that was able to have illuminating, deep, emotional, unexpected conversations.”

What’s next for the crew of the Enterprise? “It’s a valid argument that it’s about time for them to go off and discover and see things that have nothing to do with what we’ve seen before, and I think we’ll always have some overlap,” said Abrams. “But I’m excited about the next chapter.”

Source: Comic Book Resources

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  • ziplock9000

    I’ll be glad when JJ is gone, Trek became a CGI demo and lost it’s core.

  • Theragen Derivative

    The magic blood would have made perfect sense and you all would have thought it was brilliant if only it hadn’t been for that damned video game.

  • Dandru

    Khan is NOT the most iconic villain, and he’s NOT Kirk’s Joker. Why the heck does Abrams keep saying this nonsense?

  • Aitor

    Oh, sorry, he thinks trekkers are a bunch of morons. Magic blood is only a bad idea in a script full of nonsenses and holes. And Khan thing is ill oportunism. By by Abrams.

  • Oscar

    Mágic blood would never have made sense because is a ludicrous idea.Star Trek is, or should be, Science Fiction, not techno fantasy.

  • Theragen Derivative

    I’m really not sure why Abrams continues to open his douchey yap about Trek, considering that he’s on record as never having liked or cared about it, he’s already sucked two movies’ worth of demo reel out of it to nail down the Star Wars job he really wanted, and he’s not going to be having any further involvement with it other than an in-name-only producer credit on the third one (assuming Paramount wants to dump that much money into a third one after getting burned by STD’s performance). I didn’t see his comparison of Khan to the Joker but it does sound like something this culturally-illiterate journeyman would come up with.

    And by the way, what is up with that photo of PineKirk at the link? Why does he look like a ’50s comic book ad?

  • JWPlatt

    It’s not fait to say that without saying who you think is the most iconic villain. Without that, what you say is nonsense. Prepare to back up your choice with a good analysis of why so that it’s not just your unreasoned say-so.

  • Theragen Derivative

    Star Trek was never about “iconic villains” at all. Star Trek was about making contact with new life forms and coming to positive, mutual understandings with new civilizations. Learning from people and things we didn’t understand. Finding out that sometimes the things that are the most alien aren’t so different from us after all.

    J.J. Abrams, long ago on record as not caring about Trek, can’t be bothered with that kind of shit. Only his smirking douche-brain (just look at that jackassed photo of him up there), which has since gone on to dreaming up a way to resurrect Darth Vader for Ep VII, could believe that “Star Trek” would really have been so much better if it were “The Dark Knight”.

  • Mike

    It may not be about iconic villains, that doesn’t mean it is without them… and, certainly Khan is up there, if not at the top of the list. Which is precisely why, if you’re going to use him, you need to use him, not just some cypher you look at after the fact and ask, “can we morph him into Khan?”… I mean, I understand your perspective here, but I think it goes a little too far the other way… Khan is an icon, and it’s exactly why he shouldn’t have been touched unless there was a point in doing so and skill in the execution… there was no point and very little apparent skill. And while, yeah, Star Trek is about so much more, they are right about how Khan should be treated… they just didn’t treat him that way. So… I generally agree, except that Khan is an icon and shouldn’t have been bastardized in this fashion, only for them then to lecture us about Khan’s function… when, to them, he was just some doucher named John Harrison that conveniently could be molded to fit a contorted Khan profile.

    Now, that said, your point is that villains themselves aren’t what Trek is about and the motivations therein… and that’s true, to an extent as well. However, within the film legacy, not so much, right? I mean, even faceless V’Ger was a villain… Khan, Kruge, Sybok, Chang, Soran, The Borg/Borg Queen, the Son’a, and Shinzon… Only Star Trek IV was absent an actual villain, mainly because that villain was us. I mean, I understand where you’re coming from, but quality villains have always been a part of Star Trek… and ever since 1982, every time they’ve done a movie, they’ve trotted out the tired notion that they had a villain to rival Khan. Sometimes it was closer to being true than others, but, even Shinzon as a pathetic copy of Picard wasn’t as hollow as the pathetic copy of Khan we actually got… Notice, this is the only movie since 1982 where nobody claimed the villain was better or as good as Khan… and, for once, they got it right… because John Harrison wasn’t anywhere near as good as Khan from TWOK. But they wouldn’t have had to comment on the villain at all if villains didn’t matter in the movies. I think that’s somewhat the nature of a 2 hour affair, whereas a tv series can do more exploration. That’s not a defense of Abrams and co by any means, moreso a defense of Ricardo Montalban and the other Trek villains, from Kang through the Squire of Gothos himself. 🙂

  • Mike

    He’s not Kirk’s Joker, Kirk doesn’t have such a figure, he’s not Batman… Why must they continue to see James T. Kirk through a lens of someone else? They have to change him into a pseudo-Han Solo. Now he’s Batman… Why can’t he just be James T. Kirk? They have no clue… Kirk IS an icon… say what you want about Khan, JAMES T. KIRK is an icon, and one that doesn’t need to be reinterpreted as a brat.

    That said, I do think Khan is the most iconic villain in Star Trek. You might make a case, as Theragen Derivative does later, that Trek isn’t about villains, but I’ll restate, because it isn’t about them doesn’t mean it’s devoid of them… Khan is a villain, and Khan is an icon. Non-Star Trek fans know Khan, even if it’s just from Shatner’s KHAAAAAAAAAN! Montalban’s chest itself is part of the collective consciousness now, isn’t it?

    Khan might not be your favorite villain, but it’s hard to say he’s not the most iconic with a straight face… Unless, of course, you’re talking about John Harrison/Khan… and then… well… who were we talking about again?

  • milojthatch

    “Magic blood.” Oh my gosh, what a dumb idea…

  • John

    I knew I avoid trek websites for a reason. A bunch of basement dwellers hating a great movie.

  • Mike

    If it’s such a great movie, explain one simple thing: Why did Khan go to Kronos, when going to Kronos was the only thing he could’ve done that actually came close to making manifest Admiral Marcus’ plan?

    If you can answer that, maybe we’ll go to the next question… but, I’m not too worried about that. There is no credible answer here… If there is, prove it, fanboy.

  • Kang the Unbalanced

    All I can think to say is,


  • Kang the Unbalanced

    Son of a bitch. He probably IS scheming to resurrect Vader. I say eliminate him now, before he does further damage to the continuum.

  • Kang the Unbalanced

    And how is your morning, Bob?

  • Guest

    Now, now Kang. Let’s be civilized here.

  • Brian Wilson

    So much hate for such and awesome move, its plain to see some people cannot deal with change and would rather watch old stuffy overacting star trek TV shows, oh wait let me take that back.. how about a full 4 hours of the voyage home style movies thats what main stream movie goers like to see. NOT!!! like it or not J.J put Star Trek back in main stream and people who have never watched Star Trek before are now watching it and enjoying it for what it is. I’ve talked to numerous of young adults and teenagers who hated star trek and now love it, THANKS to J.J. Those of you who are like an old shoe, accept change (timeline has changed remember Vulcan is destroyed) or crawl back under the rock you crawled out from under!

  • Mike

    Where’s Eugene Landy when you need him?

  • JWPlatt

    It’s ironic, or maybe simply consistent, considering JJ Abrams involvement with Star Wars, to see the complaints about “magic blood” when Star Wars and Star Trek fans alike accused George Lucus of stealing from Star Trek when he explained the pseudo-science source of Jedi powers as coming from Midichlorians.

  • Mike

    Well, Star Wars is science fantasy… it’s a fantasy movie set in a world where they just happen to have the ability of interstellar flight. The “science” of Star Wars is inconsequential to it, not only at its heart, but in general… Star Trek is science fiction… it’s not meant to have squishy stupidity like a panacea. I firmly believe Insurrection would’ve approached a passable movie without the Ba’ku mumbo jumbo with her freezing time and all that ridiculousness… it doesn’t fit with Star Trek… Star Trek and Star Wars aren’t interchangeable… Do they have massive crossover audiences? Of course they do… but not because they’re the same. So, sure, when people don’t understand the source material and try to stick science fiction in Star Wars or fantasy into Star Trek, it’s not going to work, firstly, and secondly, the fans are going to point out why… I don’t think that’s ironic, as much as it is a sad comment about corporations and their understanding, or misunderstanding, of their properties….

  • James

    One would assume he was taking refuge from admiral-Robocop’s pursuit.

    I don’t think Khan cared about weather Marcus got his war or not. I took
    his escape to Kronos as just that, an escape to somewhere he thought
    that Starfleet wouldn’t follow so he could maybe regroup.

  • James

    Dumber than using the transporter to cure death and disease in Unnatural Selection?
    Dumber than ‘a perfect moment’ in Insurrection?
    Dumber than Nemesis????


    The blood transfusion did not seem so crazy to me. Lance Armstong used blood doping to win all his Tour de France titles after all…

    Blood doping is the practice of boosting the number of red blood cells in the bloodstream in order to enhance athletic performance. Because such blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the muscles, a higher concentration in the blood can improve an athlete’s aerobic capacity (VO2 max) and endurance.

  • irrenmann

    So other bad ideas in Trek somehow make this one good? Explain how.

    It’s not the science of it that people object to (not that what you said would have anything to do with the science of the blood resurrecting a dead, irradiated body). It’s the empty drama of the false death and cheap resurrection, just to recreate a beat from another movie—one from the Old Abandoned Timeline that the filmmakers said they had to get rid of in order to move forward.

  • James

    “So other bad ideas in Trek somehow make this one good? Explain how.”
    Just pointing out that in the history of dumb ideas, this one ‘aint the dumbest.

    “It’s the empty drama of the false death and cheap resurrection”

    Your opinion, and not one I share. I thought the actors pulled it off pretty well.

    No issue with Khan’s blood doing some pretty amazing things; as I recall blood like that once converted millions of Klingons on a genetic level, why can’t it overwrite cellular level DNA damage in an irradiated human?

  • trekfan

    Great is the number of lens flares and plot holes in it. Movie? Not so great.

  • Kang the Unbalanced

    I should point out that you are having to make these justifications, because nothing resembling an explanation or excuse, no matter how lame, half-assed, or Voyagered it be, was in the script. All the writers could think of was, “It’s magic.” Sheer laziness.

    Oh: And the mutation of the Klingons was due to a virus released as a counter to an accidentally-created plague which used the genetic engineering techniques used to make the augments– NOT from their blood itself. Bit of a difference.

  • Kang the Unbalanced

    Okay. Breathe. Center. let the meds do their work… In…. out. In… out.

    Ahh. Much better, thank you.


  • Kang the Unbalanced

    It seems the plot is held together with assumptions and calls to Daddy Spock.

  • Kang the Unbalanced

    You must be skimming through all the posts from people saying they liked the 2009 JJTrek and despised STiD, mostly for reasons that are based in its flaws as a movie.

  • Mike

    Voyagered… lol

  • Mike

    If Khan knows enough to bargain for the life of a child with his blood, why doesn’t he save his people in the original timeline? My biggest problem with the blood isn’t the hamfisted nature of that device, though that’s certainly up there among my issues with the film, but it completely impacts the prime timeline itself, or raises questions about just what the hell is going on in this universe that a pre-Kelvin event is somehow different… How do you reconcile this fact?

  • James

    Perhaps they should’ve had some more expository dialog Kang, but I don’t care if Nimoy’s cameo is contrived – the guy’s a legend and it was an unexpected bonus for an old school TOS fan like me. Nimoy’s stamp of approval means much to me…


  • Mike

    He knew Marcus’ plan. His plan was to pre-emptively attack the Klingons using those torpedoes, right? So, harboring a terrorist from the Federation would be a perfect pretense for some to go against the Klingons were Khan to take refuge with them. Him going there and only there gave Marcus exactly what Marcus wanted/needed/should’ve used as cover to start the conflict with Kronos itself. Why not go to any other planet in the known quadrants of space?

    But, let’s assume Khan panics or something silly and just decides to run off to the Klingons, maybe to expose Marcus’ plan to them and ally with them Soran-style… Okay… Convoluted and not remotely stated, but okay.

    Next question: Why does Khan give himself up to Kirk?

  • James

    Voyagered, that’s good one 🙂

  • James

    Mike, can you clarify?

    Wasn’t he enraged in TWOK because his people (including his beloved wife) were killed because Kirk marooned him? H.e clearly cares for his crew in Space Seed

    If people want to talk about plot holes – there’s one right there. “You thought this was Ceti Alpha VI”. How could a starfleet cartographer have misunderstood Ceti Alpha V for VI?

  • James

    Maybe they should have had some more expository dialog – but I’ll explain it.

    Marcus arms Enterprise with 72 advanced torpedoes and sends Kirk and the Enterprise to Qo’noS to eliminate Khan. Against orders, Kirk attempts to capture him alive. Hikaru Sulu, in temporary command of the Enterprise, orders Khan to surrender or be fired upon with the advanced torpedoes. Khan deduces that the torpedoes contain his shipmates in cryogenic suspension and surrenders to Kirk; once on Enterprise, Khan reveals his true identity and explains Marcus’s duplicity.

  • Mike

    I don’t know what you want me to clarify… the question is, if his blood is a panacea, is it a panacea for everything in the universe, including radiation poisoning death, but not whatever individually killed his people on Ceti Alpha V? If it can bring Kirk back to life, why didn’t Khan use it to bring Marla back to life from the Ceti Eels? Or any of the other things that killed his other people? Why’d he let them die when his blood cures death itself? No death, no reason to take vengeance on Kirk in TWOK.

    As for the Reliant’s mistake in TWOK, there you do have to make two minor inferences, but ones that are supported by actual dialogue in the film. They clearly mistakenly believe Ceti Alpha V to be Ceti Alpha VI. But, if Ceti Alpha V and VI were of similar mass, and if the orbit had been disrupted as Khan said, then, depending on previous cartographic surveys of the Ceti Alpha system, they simply mistook them for one another… Exactly as is said in the movie. So, the only inferences we have to make are about the nature of those two planets in relation to one another and, perhaps, the desperation they felt to find a planet suitable for Genesis… But the movie itself acknowledges this.

  • Mike

    I know what I saw… I’m asking about what it means and why the characters do and feel and react how they do… Khan has been told that his people are dead… killed upon Marcus’ discovery of Khan’s duplicity. Khan then goes rogue fully, bombs 31, shoots ’em up at the meeting and then flees to Qo’nos. If Marcus had discovered the bodies in perfectly fine advanced torpedoes, why would he destroy the torpedoes just to kill the people? Having the torpedoes does not logically dictate that one has the people.

  • James

    I guess the number of torpedoes was the giveaway

  • Kang the Unbalanced

    Having to phone up Nimoy when they hit a tricky spot completely undermines the characters, reinforcing the impression that they are kids so out of their depth they have no business being on a starship in any capacity whatsoever.

  • Mike

    That’s another point of contention… So, Khan has 72 people… He creates 72 torpedoes with cryo-chambers, and nobody wonders, “why 72 torpedoes?” Did that detail escape them, or did he create more than 72 torpedoes? There’s no evidence to suggest he created more, and since that’s what was deployed, it suggests he created 72 torpedoes… so, Kirk having 72 torpedoes, I’ll ask again, indicates what to Khan? It certainly CAN’T be that his people are still alive, there’s no reason for that to be the case based on what he knew. If Marcus killed his people and kept the torpedoes, why wouldn’t there be 72 torpedoes?

  • CaffeineAddict

    The Vanguard novels explain this “confusion” between V and VI as a deliberate cover-up of the testing of a weapon. VI was destroyed, and the charts were altered to cover it up.

  • Milo

    Fans accused Lucas of that? When? I know I never have. Star Wars is Science-Fantasy, Star Trek is Science Fiction. Both work better when they stick to their genre.

  • Milo

    Basement dwellers? Really? I live on the second floor of an apartment that I pay rent for. As for the “good movie,” let me guess, you never saw Space Seed or Wrath of Kahn before, right? Please tell me you never saw Space Seed or Wrath of Kahn before…

  • Milo

    Actually, the “perfect moment” wasn’t such a dumb idea if you think about it. It’s not that time actually slowed down, it’s that the individual became so in control of their thoughts, they were able to feel as if time was slowing down. When you keep in mind that the Bak’u where as old as they were, it makes sense that they’d have the time to tap into this self control and be able to teach it to others.

    The idea behind such mental control is very much a real world idea. However, it maybe too much for the ADHA audience that loves JJ-Trek…

  • Mike

    Well, I certainly couldn’t be charged with being a shill for JJ Abrams, I think we can all agree with that… but I’ll rise in equal condemnation of Nemesis… Very little is different between the approach of Nemesis and that of JJ Abrams. Stuart Baird specifically stated that he had no intention of making a movie that was a continuation of anything, really. He didn’t care what came before, he didn’t care what was “normal” for the characters… he didn’t care that he was making a Star Trek TNG movie. And it shows… just as much as it shows that JJ doesn’t like Star Trek at all… exactly as he’s said.

    I could spend the time to go through what’s awfully wrong about Nemesis, but I won’t bother… I’ll just throw out there one detail and let your fill in the rest: Bald Cadet Picard. ’nuff said?

    As for the Bak’u perfect moment bullshit… I call bullshit on your explanation. It, in fact, wasn’t what you just described… Were it, they certainly wouldn’t have been able to verbally interact while Picard was slowing time… Whether it was a function of the Briar Patch or some such, I cannot say, but it wasn’t a matter of perception. After all, how would Anij’s perception, having come from the nature of the planet’s atmosphere, have allowed Picard to witness what you’re suggesting was an internal feeling of peace within Anij the first time we perceive it?

    Let’s be clear: We are stuck with JJ Abrams and his ilk because of the mishandling of Berman, Braga, Baird, and their ilk… None are worthy of defense… JJ Abrams, not at all, Berman and Braga after, say, 1998 or so. I don’t forgive the current incarnation its sins against the franchise, so, too, do I not forgive nor forget the sins previously committed against it… and because current Trek is bad, it isn’t giving me rose colored glasses about previous Trek that was bad.

  • Mike

    Which is why I’m shocked at your above forgiveness of the Bak’u bs perfect moment…

  • Rad

    We watched STID on DVD last night, and I cannot believe how incredibly bad the movie is, even on the small screen. Once I got it in my mind that this was a parody, it became more promising. I kept laughing out loud, especially with the interiors of the ship. Are they sure they did not watch “Galaxy Quest” instead of “Star Trek” for inspiration?

  • trekfan

    I think we are disregarding the bigger picture here. As we know, Trek was experiencing a decline in popularity by the end of the last century which continued with the beginning of this century. Seeing that, the studio bosses weren’t interested anymore in pleasing “trekkies” so much as trying to reach wider audiences and boosting that popularity again. Since then there has been a consistent effort to bastardize Star Trek, so to say, in order to make it appealing to as much people as possible. Hence, Nemesis, which turned out to be so “different”, as you correctly point out. And then came “Enterprise”, which was also part of that effort. And then, ultimately, Abrams Trek, which is the embodiment of that endeavor. Abrams Trek did all that what in a way last Trek prior to it was trying to achieve. While I agree that Nemesis, as a result of those circumstances, adopted a different approach, I still think it’s not as radically different or bad as Abrams Trek movie 1 & 2.

    Regarding that “perfect moment in Insurrection… I tend to agree with Milo here. I think that was a matter of perception. Although it seems like the effects are taking place in real time and space, it is actually a person’s perception of it that is being altered. Anij, in a way, “pulls” Picard into that state of mind. Here’s that part from the script:


    … and in that moment, his perception and our view
    begin to move down her arm… and we enter…


    Picard, and we, find ourselves in a heightened state of
    sensory perception — time seems to be slowing down to a
    crawl, sounds are sharper… we hear Picard’s heart
    beating slowly with a booming percussion… he follows her
    gaze to see yet another humming bird, hears its languid wing
    motion… swirling dust from the mountain seems like a
    zipping scarf in a breeze that plays in his ears like a
    natural flute… his breath becomes more even as he
    relaxes into this altered state and he feels her fingers…

    And previously Anij tells Picard that “nothing is more complicated than perception”. So I think it’s the perception that we’re dealing with here, not some “manipulation” of space-time with mind.