Details are dribbling out about Star Trek Into Darkness like quadrotriticale bread crumbs. Yesterday, a Paramount caption for a studio-released photo of Benedict Cumberbatch's villain identified him as John Harrison, a totally new character. Today, ComingSoon.net revealed that they had visited J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production studio and learned that Alice Eve, seen playing a fresh-faced Starfleet science or medical officer in the first teaser released last week, is indeed Carol Marcus, very much an established character in Trek lore.
Who is Carol Marcus? Marcus was an accomplished scientist who specialized in the development of terraforming technology that would allow the Federation to develop and colonize new worlds. Her research culminated in the Genesis Project, a device capable of rearranging inorganic matter into organic matter on a planetwide scale in a matter of minutes. That was one of the greatest creative endeavors in Federation history, and one of the most destructive. That's because Genesis could also be used as a superweapon to destroy a planet in a matter of moments. Marcus thus occupies a mythologically-resonant place in Star Trek for being both a creator and destroyer of worlds — and a walking cautionary tale about scientific responsibility and humans playing God. Oddly enough, in the original timeline she never was a member of Starfleet and was always distrustful of its militarist sensibility.
What else can we mention about Carol Marcus? Why, she was a love interest for Capt. James T. Kirk, of course! In fact, Marcus, in pre-Abrams continuity, was the mother of Kirk's son, David: the whiniest, most pathetic inhabitant of the 23rd century, an individual just begging to get a Klingon d'k tahg shiv stuck in his ribs. (I suppose we should blame Kirk for David's whininess, however, since he did absolutely nothing to raise him, virtually abandoning Carol and his toddler son so he could trek across the stars on his five year mission and cuddle other space babes.)
Since Marcus did not appear in the 2009 Star Trek film, she could very likely hook up with Kirk in Star Trek Into Darkness and we could see how David Marcus is produced. Unless, the Nero-altered timeline means that David will never exist. Please, J.J., make it so!
The thing to consider about Marcus' presence in Star Trek Into Darkness is that her only previous appearance occurred in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan—an indication that the genetically-enhanced superman may be waiting in the wings. It seems almost impossible that Cumberbatch himself is Khan...but could he be an envoy for him? The Silver Surfer to Khan's Galactus, if you will? We shall see...
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[Photo Credit: Paramount]