CBS is preparing to boldly go to several places that no one has gone before, as the network announced on Tuesday that it is developing several new Star Trek series in the wake of Star Trek Discovery’s success on the CBS All Access streaming platform. Not much is known about the potential new Trek shows, but one is reportedly about the titular Wrath of Khan villain, which would give the makers of Star Trek a chance to not screw up Khan Noonien Singh.
Variety reports that the studio has signed Alex Kurtzman, the executive producer of Discovery (and Season 2 showrunner), and co-writer of Into Darkness, to a five-year deal. The plots of one potential live-action and one animated series are totally under wraps for now, and CBS is reportedly eying a series set at Starfleet Academy from the creators of Gossip Girl. The fourth show, according to Variety, will be about Khan.
It’s not the first report that a Khan series is in the works. In July, after reports circulated that writer-director, Nicholas Meyer would helm a Khan miniseries, he told Inverse that he “Khannot possibly comment.”
In Star Trek lore, Khan was a fearsome and cunning genetically engineered superhuman who caused chaos during the Eugenics Wars in the 20th century and much later in the 23rd Century, when he battled Captain Kirk and the Enterprise crew. He is also of likely Sikh descent, hailing from northern India. Despite this, Khan has never been played by an Indian actor — or anybody close, really.
In the original series, Ricardo Montalbán played Khan. Montalbán was Mexican-born and of Spanish descent, so while he wasn’t Indian, he was at least a person of color, which counts for something given that the episode aired in 1967. The real bummer came in 2013 when Benedict Cumberbatch played Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness (which, remember, Kurtzman co-wrote). Cumberbatch is extremely white, and the decision to whitewash Khan — who was originally somewhat groundbreaking as he was a supposedly genetical perfect, ideal human who wasn’t a white Übermensch — was widely criticized at the time.
If CBS does make a Star Trek show about Khan, it would be a chance for Kurtzman and Co. to do it right this time. Cast an actor of South Asian descent and make a show that’s not only diverse in the true spirit of Star Trek, but one that can explore what Khan’s background and heritage means for the Trek universe and his character.
And, like, give Star Trek fans to prove that they’re better than Star Wars fans when it comes to this stuff.