Abrams created alternate preview scene to hide Cumberbatch's big secret

Contributed by
May 20, 2013

Old J.J. takes secret-keeping very seriously. And just in case it's still a secret for you -- spoilers below!

So after months of speculation, Star Trek Into Darkness finally had its opening weekend, and now we know for sure that, yes, Cumberbatch does play Khan. And while we always kind of assumed that was the case, Abrams and company did go to some rather extreme ends to keep people at least guessing. How far?

It turns out that, in the case of one scene in particular, Abrams released two different versions to throw people off the scent. That scene, by the way, is the thrilling space jump sequence in which Kirk and Khan leap from the Enterprise to Admiral Marcus's ship. 

If you've seen the movie by now, then you know why it's both a great and terrible scene to use as a preview. It's great because of how visually arresting it is, but there's a big problem -- it's after Cumberbatch's identity is revealed.

This is where the switcheroo happens. In the version that preview audiences initially saw, Spock uses the name "John Harrison" not once, but twice. And, again, if you've seen the movie, you know that ain't how things go down. The name "Khan" is absolutely used.

So how did it all go down, and how much work was it? Producer Damon Lindelof lays it all out:

Bryan Burk was the one who first proposed that we use the space jump sequence as a way of getting folks excited for the movie. The challenge was obvious [because] this is AFTER the reveal. Therefore, J.J. and post production supervisor Ben Rosenblatt executed a “Harrison Cut” to preserve the secret.  I’d rather not get into the details of how this was accomplished, suffice to say it wasn’t easy. It was, however, worth it.

It sounds like it wasn't quite as easy to pull off as we might have imagined. Given all that -- do you think making this alteration was worth it?

(via Slash Film)

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