Star Trek: would you call it white washing? (SPOILERS)

DavidBowieNoReally

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You guys noticed the word SPOILERS in the title - right?

Right?

No, it's not going to give people clues, I kept it as vague as I possible... Ahh! Fuck it! Let me just get on with it.

Anyways, massive spoilers AHOY!

So, Khan... now if you read into the history of Star Trek, you'd find that Khan was suppose to be from India. Now even though Ricardo Montalbán wasn't exactly that either - and some might even call that Latinwashing (as stupid as that would sound) - it's no where near as annoying as it was seeing an English actor run around with the part; no matter how good his performance was.

So, I guess the question is, did it take you out of the movie (it sorta did with me), or would you give it a pass?

Now I'm not going to go so far as to call anyone racist; the production team, JJ Abrams... no I'm not going to do that. But was Benedict Cumberbatch really their best choice? I mean, didn't JJ Abrams do his homework when it came to Khan? I mean his full name is Khan Noonien Singh, wasn't that a clue in enough? Anyways, I regress, what do you guys think?
 

Erttheking

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It was either that or have a person with brown skin blow things up, and fly an aircraft into buildings in a major populated city...yeah I can see why they'd be hesitant to do that.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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It's more like a cash-in on Cumberbatch's recent popularity. I don't think they were specifically looking for a white actor. I do agree he seems a bit miscast by comparison, though.
 

DavidBowieNoReally

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erttheking said:
It was either that or have a person with brown skin blow things up, and fly an aircraft into buildings in a major populated city...yeah I can see why they'd be hesitant to do that.
0.o

Interesting, I didn't see it that ways.

>>
 

OneCatch

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DavidBowieNoReally said:
erttheking said:
It was either that or have a person with brown skin blow things up, and fly an aircraft into buildings in a major populated city...yeah I can see why they'd be hesitant to do that.
0.o

Interesting, I didn't see it that ways.

>>
Also worth pointing out that in-universe Khan and his ilk are specifically described as being genetically modified. Both his parents were genetic engineers from what I remember.
There's therefore no reason that he'd have specific physiological traits linked to his heritage.

So there you go, on-stage and off-stage explanations!
 

Thaluikhain

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Well, yes.

However, this doesn't mean that anyone had to have been twirling their moustaches and wanting to be racist, they just decided that a formerly dark-skinned character would be better played by a white person. In of itself that's not a big thing, except that it's part of a general trend that way.

To put it another way, I seriously doubt anyone considered having Kirk being played by an Asian, or Spock being played by a black guy (that is, obviously so). That just wouldn't happen. Taking a brown skinned guy and making him white, OTOH, isn't unusual.
 

Da Orky Man

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I saw that film recently, and I must say that Cumberbatch does Khan very, very well. Though I rather like it, I'm hardly a hardcore Trekkie, so it would probably annoy to more fundamentalist fans more, but he really was good in it.
 

DavidBowieNoReally

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OneCatch said:
DavidBowieNoReally said:
erttheking said:
It was either that or have a person with brown skin blow things up, and fly an aircraft into buildings in a major populated city...yeah I can see why they'd be hesitant to do that.
0.o

Interesting, I didn't see it that ways.

>>
Also worth pointing out that in-universe Khan and his ilk are specifically described as being genetically modified. Both his parents were genetic engineers from what I remember.
There's therefore no reason that he'd have specific physiological traits linked to his heritage.

So there you go, on-stage and off-stage explanations!
That's not what I'd call an explanation as it is stretching the boundaries of what you can try to get away with. You can argue that not everyone from India should be expected to be Indian by origin. But still, given a series that's had a long history of showing adversity (original series had a multi-cultural cast for the 60s), having white washed one of ST most memerable characters... well, it doesn't paint a pretty picture.
 

ItouKaiji

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I think you're looking for controversy where there isn't any. The original was pretty vague with Khan's origins because it wasn't really important. What was important was him being a genetically engineered superbeing. He's supposed to be both mentally superior and physically superior than normal humans, that's supposed to be the defining traits of the character. Besides if you want to argue about race then I'd say considering history, it would make more sense for him to be British than Latino either way, but like I said, looking at the race of the genetic superman is kind of missing the point. I don't think it paints any kind of picture unless you're being hypersensitive and looking for something to be offended about. There's plenty of other reasons to dislike the movie without trying to find some whitewashing to be offended about. I suppose it would have been different if his Indian Heritage had actually ya' know effected the character in the original other than his name.
 

Groxnax

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Well, I have never read the history of Star Trek so I didn't know anything about Khan, all I know about him is that he was a badass in the Wrath of Khan movie and the Star Trek episode he was in and Ricardo made the character even more badass by what he did in the recent movie.

Besides this is an alternate reality, things are supposed to be different. Who knows what that time traveling black hole did to the freaking time line.

Heck they surprised me when the guy said that he was Kahn.


Did anyone notice the model of the NX version of the Enterprise in the Admiral's room?
 

Jhooud

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thaluikhain said:
To put it another way, I seriously doubt anyone considered having Kirk being played by an Asian, or Spock being played by a black guy (that is, obviously so). That just wouldn't happen. Taking a brown skinned guy and making him white, OTOH, isn't unusual.
Well, it's not Trek but in the comics Nick Fury was white. And now he's Samuel Jackson.

And God is now Morgan Freeman.

So there's that.
 

Thaluikhain

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Jhooud said:
thaluikhain said:
To put it another way, I seriously doubt anyone considered having Kirk being played by an Asian, or Spock being played by a black guy (that is, obviously so). That just wouldn't happen. Taking a brown skinned guy and making him white, OTOH, isn't unusual.
Well, it's not Trek but in the comics Nick Fury was white. And now he's Samuel Jackson.
True, though there was much complaining about that.
 

Gorrath

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Given that Khan's physical appearance is not an important part of his character, and given that Cumberbatch's performance was one of the best things about the movie, I'm failing to see an issue. Presuming his appearance should have to be X because his name sounds like Y is a terrible assumption in and of itself. This is especially true given the historical link of India and Britain.

As for the role itself, I feel that Ricardo Montalban always had a sort of swagger that he brought to the role that Cumberbatch was missing. Being the super man, Montalban had a certain sensuality about the way he did things that suggested sexual superiority in addition to everything else. But other than that element, Cumberbtach hit all the other points.
 

fix-the-spade

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DavidBowieNoReally said:
Now I'm not going to go so far as to call anyone racist; the production team, JJ Abrams... no I'm not going to do that. But was Benedict Cumberbatch really their best choice? I mean, didn't JJ Abrams do his homework when it came to Khan?
Kinda.... but.

He's also a genetically engineered (maybe even tank-bred) soldier, when it came to the augments in Trek, they literally kept their embryos lying around in vats. Whilst he's supposedly a Sikh from the north of India, there's nothing that says what his genetics are specifically or what a production model should look like. There's nothing to say that Khan's not a persona he made for himself either.

I think with Cumberbatch they've wasted a huge opportunity, the original Khan was a bit more than a one note bad guy, by the time he reappears for the movie he's motivated by grief and (perceived) betrayal rather than thirst for power, he took a shot at redemption and it backfired spectacularly for everyone.

Abrams had an actor capable of carrying off a more complex character and instead we get a sneering cartoon baddy. Thankfully there's space for him to come back out of that ice cube but I can't see Abram's writing team doing a better job for round two.
 

fix-the-spade

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DVS BSTrD said:
Please, we all know who played the REAL Nick Fury
That's it, Avengers 2 has to have a dimensional portal open up and David Hasselfury and Samuel L Fury have to meet each other.

Can the universe handle all that awesome? Only one way to find out.
 

Quellist

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Get over it. If its ok for Baldur to be played by a black guy its ok for Khan to be played by a white guy.
 

Something Amyss

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DavidBowieNoReally said:
So, Khan... now if you read into the history of Star Trek, you'd find that Khan was suppose to be from India. Now even though Ricardo Montalbán wasn't exactly that either - and some might even call that Latinwashing (as stupid as that would sound) - it's no where near as annoying as it was seeing an English actor run around with the part; no matter how good his performance was.
A lot of people thought of Montalban as white, which would be more notable for the movie than the one episode where he appeared in Trek (much darker skin colour). A lot more people really didn't know Khan was Indian or Sikh, to the point that even the writers didn't do much in that vein in the official material. They retKhanned quite a bit in the related books, it seems, to justify that. This may be related to Khan's original conception as an "aryan" superman.

Anyway, the role of Khan was already not tied to one race. I'm not particularly bothered by a Brit playing him instead of a Mexican. I'd also agree with the poster who commented that a brown guy blowing shit up in acts of terror might be the wrong ting to do right now, and might actually make them shy away from using someone of any such ethnicity.

Still, maybe they should have got Branscomb Richmond. >.>
 
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I haven't seen the film but Khan's heritage or ethnicity plays no role in his character, he's a genetically engineered man, designed to be a few steps up from us, that got away from Earth in the late 21st century (if I recall correctly) with a ship of his fellow GM humans due to the war between them and normal humans ending.

His entire character is based on him being a war criminal, not Indian. This seems to me to be the same as the Human Torch and Spiderman being different ethnicities to their original character, only this time we're supposed to condemn it because he's white.