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|Khan on Earth|
|Played by:||Benedict Cumberbatch|
|Khan on Qo'noS|
- "Is there anything you would not do for your family?"
- - Khan Noonien Singh, 2259
Khan Noonien Singh (or simply, Khan), was the most prominent of the genetically-engineered Human augments of the late-20th century Eugenics Wars period on Earth. Considered genocidal tyrants who conquered and killed in the name of order, Khan and his kind were frozen in cryogenic sleep.
In the 23rd century, Khan was revived by Admiral Alexander Marcus to design weapons and ships to prepare for war against the Klingon Empire. He was given a new identity, that of John Harrison, an English Starfleet Commander. Khan, however, rebelled, and after believing his crew were killed, he began a one-man campaign against Starfleet.
The enhanced platelets in his blood could heal severe injuries and illnesses which would otherwise be fatal.
20th-century origins Edit
Records of the period, including Khan's origins, are vague. He was the product of a selective breeding and genetic engineering program, based on the eugenic philosophy that held improving the capabilities of a man improved the entire Human race. Augments produced by the program possessed physical strength and analytical capabilities considerably superior to ordinary Humans, and were created from a variety of Earth's ethnic groups. Khan's background was suspected to be Sikh, from the northern region of India.
Khan lived up to the axiom coined by one of his creators, "superior ability breeds superior ambition". By 1993, a wave of the genetic "supermen," including Khan, had simultaneously assumed control of more than forty of Earth's nations. From 1992 to 1996, Khan was absolute ruler of more than one-quarter of Earth's population, including regions of Asia and the Middle East. Considered "the best of tyrants", he severely curtailed the freedoms of his subjects, but his reign was an exception to similar circumstances in Earth history – lacking massacres or internal war.
In the mid-1990s, the Augment tyrants began warring amongst themselves. Other nations joined in, to force them from power, in a series of struggles that became known as the Eugenics Wars. Eventually, most of the tyrants were defeated and their territory recaptured, but up to ninety "supermen" were never accounted for.
Khan escaped the wars and their consequences along with eighty-four followers, who swore to live and die at his command. He saw his best option in a risky, self-imposed exile. In 1996, he took control of a DY-100 class interplanetary sleeper ship he christened SS Botany Bay, named for the site of the Australian penal colony. Set on a course outbound from the solar system but with no apparent destination in mind, Khan and his people remained in suspended animation for Botany Bay's (nearly) two-hundred-year sublight journey. (TOS: "Space Seed")
Following the destruction of Vulcan in 2258, Admiral Alexander Marcus of Section 31 initiated a program to militarize Starfleet and began searching the galaxy for weapons to be used in the war with the Klingon Empire that he now believed was inevitable. Discovering the SS Botany Bay, Marcus brought Khan out of suspension, believing his savage intellect would be a prime asset. He forced Khan into working with him by threatening to kill his fellow Augments, and set him to work designing weapons and ships for Starfleet, including the Dreadnought-class USS Vengeance. Khan was recruited under the new identity of Commander John Harrison.
Disgruntled, Harrison tried to smuggle his crew away in experimental photon torpedoes but was discovered, and forced to flee alone. Believing Marcus killed them, he coerced Section 31 agent Thomas Harewood into betraying Starfleet by offering a blood transfusion for his terminally ill daughter. Harewood agreed, and Harrison turned his Starfleet ring into a bomb. After his daughter was cured with a vial of Harrison's blood, Harewood went to work at his office in the Kelvin Memorial Archive in London, where he dropped his Starfleet ring into a glass of water, igniting the bomb and destroying the facility. In the midst of the chaos, Harrison used the opportunity to inspect a salvaged terminal to gain the confiscated formula for transwarp beaming.
Before he died, Harewood sent Marcus a message, explaining he had been threatened by Harrison. Marcus called a summit at Starfleet Headquarters declaring a manhunt for Harrison. During the meeting, James T. Kirk, Admiral Christopher Pike's first officer, deduced Harrison had not left Earth because he was aware protocol dictated a meeting like this one: Harrison showed up in an attack vehicle and laid waste to the conference, killing Pike. Kirk disabled Harrison's vehicle, but before it crashed Harrison beamed himself to the one place Starfleet could not go: Qo'noS, the Klingon homeworld.
Undeterred, Kirk was granted permission by Marcus to fly to Qo'noS and fire 72 experimental photon torpedoes on Harrison's location. However, at the behest of his crew, Kirk chose to defy his orders and opted to arrest Harrison instead. While Kirk led an away team with Spock, Uhura and Hendorff, acting captain Sulu transmitted a warning to Harrison, warning him to surrender or be fired on. Harrison found Kirk, Spock and Uhura attacked by a Klingon patrol, and singlehandedly killed dozens of Klingons. After killing the Klingons and confronting the landing party, he asked how many torpedoes the Enterprise was about to fire. Spock informed him of the count, which corresponded exactly to the number of his former crew members which were still in stasis. Harrison then surrendered to the landing party. Kirk, angry that his mentor's murderer had saved them, punched Harrison repeatedly, but was unable to render him unconscious.
From the brig, Leonard McCoy took a blood sample to analyze the secret behind Harrison's superhuman strength, and injected it into a dead tribble. Harrison refused to answer Kirk's questions, but gave him coordinates to the spacedock outside Jupiter where the Vengeance was constructed, and suggested he open up the experimental torpedoes. Kirk gave the coordinates for the absent Montgomery Scott to investigate, while McCoy and Marcus's daughter Carol opened up a torpedo and discovered a cryogenically frozen man within. Khan finally explained who he was to Kirk, and revealed that the torpedoes contained his fellow surviving Augments as part of a cover-up. Admiral Marcus appeared in the Vengeance and demanded Kirk hand over Khan. Kirk refused, and the Enterprise warped back to Earth for Khan to stand trial. The Vengeance caught up in subspace and fired on the Enterprise as it arrived outside Earth.
Marcus beamed up his daughter and prepared to destroy the Enterprise but Scott, who had sneaked aboard the Vengeance at its spacedock, deactivated its weapons. Kirk and Khan donned thruster suits to fly over and commandeer the Vengeance. Meanwhile, Spock consulted his older counterpart from another universe regarding whether he ever encountered Khan Noonien Singh: the old Spock responded he had, that he was dangerous, and that it had required a great sacrifice to stop him. Kirk had grown suspicious of Khan and advised Scott to shoot to stun him later.
When they arrived on the bridge, Scott shot Khan while Kirk admonished Marcus for compromising the Federation. This did not subdue Khan, who flung himself at Scott and Kirk, then broke Carol's leg before crushing her father's skull with his bare hands. Khan then sat in the command chair and ordered Spock to hand over the torpedoes or he would resume bombarding the Enterprise. Spock obliged, and Khan beamed Kirk, Scott and Carol back into the Enterprise's brig, but reneged on the deal. Spock, having predicted Khan's betrayal, had ordered McCoy to remove the stasis pods and detonated the torpedoes, crippling the Vengeance.
The damage sustained caused both ships to be drawn by Earth's gravitational pull. To prevent the ship crashing into San Francisco, Kirk poisoned himself reactivating the ship's warp core. When the Vengeance crashed into the city, Khan leaped off the bridge and posed as a shocked survivor. Spock beamed down to execute Khan and avenge Kirk's death, pursuing him onto automated flying barges. In the Enterprise's sickbay, McCoy examined Kirk's unconscious body, when the dead tribble on his desk came back to life.
Spock attempted to subdue him with a nerve pinch and then a mind meld, but to no avail. Uhura beamed down, firing several stun shots to weaken Khan, while revealing they needed Khan to save Kirk. Spock finally knocked Khan out. After using his blood to revive Kirk, Khan was placed back in suspended animation with his family. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"John Harrison was a fiction created the moment I was awoken by your Admiral Marcus to help him advance his cause. A smoke screen to conceal my true identity. My name is Khan."
- - Khan Noonien Singh to James T. Kirk.
"You should have let me sleep!"
- - Khan Noonien Singh to Alexander Marcus before crushing his skull.
- - Khan Noonien Singh on seeing the torpedoes detonate.
Khan Noonien Singh (alternate reality) appears in:
Bringing back Khan Noonien Singh was discussed before the release of Star Trek: on the film's audio commentary, it was stated the filmmakers considered having a shot of the SS Botany Bay after the credits, but opted out in case they decided not to use the character. J. J. Abrams felt "It'll be fun to hear what Alex and Bob are thinking about Khan. The fun of this timeline is arguing that different stories, with the same characters, could be equally if not more compelling than what's been told before. [...] Certain people are destined to cross paths and come together, and Khan is out there... even if he doesn't have the same issues." 
Co-writer Damon Lindelof said the jumping off point for the sequel's story was deciding whether Khan would be the villain, and he, Kurtzman and Orci weighed the pros and cons of using him. However, Orci said the story of Into Darkness was conceived without Khan: "If you think about it, he could've revealed his name was Schmuko with a slightly different back story (super criminal from Federation jail, etc...) and that Marcus used him by threatening other people he cared about (family instead of crew) and the story still stands." Eventually, "The details became too juicy to avoid. Genetic super man from a time that understood war and savagery, etc. Once we had a basic structure that did not necessarily necessitate him, we were able to tailor the script itself to details and inspirations that he brought."
Khan's undercover name was inspired by his name in an early draft of the script for "Space Seed", John Ericssen. Orci said "We shot the movie using the name Ericsenn [sic] but decided it would give it away[,] so we cheated the name Harrison into everyone's mouth!"
Khan was portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch. Before he was cast, Abrams approached Benicio del Toro for the role. Cumberbatch was cast two weeks before filming. Mary L. Mastro, head of the film's hair department, wanted Khan to have black hair to contrast with the blonde Kirk. She recalled, "JJ called a meeting with the creators involved in what he was going to look like and [Cumberbatch] walks into the room with super-short blond hair. My mouth dropped open, like, 'Oh, great.'" The schedule was altered slightly to give more time to determine Cumberbatch's appearance in the film. Costume designer Michael Kaplan wanted Khan to be "dapper", giving him "a number of very long, elegant coats. It's nice, even in the distance, to be able to recognise a character right away. He's pretty high fashion-looking."
Cumberbatch trained one-to-one with his stunt double Martin De Boer, learning basic martial arts. De Boer described Cumberbatch as "'very receptive to learning. I've had actors who want to be an action star but don't want to put in the work, and he was the opposite, he said, 'I want to train as much as I can.' He was very committed. Besides working with us, he was working with his personal trainer five, six days a week; he really got in shape." De Boer said because of Khan's strength, Cumberbatch "wanted to have more static and powerful movements. That strength changes the rules of the martial arts we use. You don't have to do five punches, you just have to use a couple of moves and he takes out the guy already."
Cumberbatch also portrayed Khan / Harrison in three "Disruptions" videos to promote the film, where he analyzes Kirk, Spock and Uhura's weaknesses and declaring how he will threaten them.
When asked whether Khan's blood could disrupt dramatic tension in the next film, Orci said they "figured there are so many horrible ways to die in space that no medicine could save you from that we would be okay".