Ricardo Montalban

I don't even give a shit that this is a spoiler for Star Trek, go fuck yourself

I have a longer rant about this, but I’m pissed as everloving fuck that Benedict Cumberbatch is, indeed, playing Khan Noonian Singh.

You can argue till you’re blue in the face that well, Ricardo Montalban wasn’t Indian, and he was of European descent and therefore white, but let me tell you, Montalban in the US was not white-passing and would have been parsed as Mexican. While that’s still not Indian, he’s still at least Not A White Guy. Montalban also founded the Nostoros Foundation, an organization to advocate for Latinos in the film industry and help them continue to get roles. 

Furthermore, Khan Noonian Singh, while a villain, is still one of the most prominent desi characters in American cinema. He’s iconic. And he’s not some withering racist stereotype either; he’s cunning, clever, brilliant, and dangerous. Nothing is EVER made of his race, we only know that he’s probably desi because of his name and appearance; the bigger point is that he’s been genetically engineered to be a perfect human. Let me repeat: in the 1960s, Gene Rodenberry decided that the perfect human was an Indian guy

Also look at this handsome face:

DAYMN. seriously go watch the TOS episode “Space Seed.” I’ll wait. 

So, while Benedict Cumberbatch is doubtless a fantastic actor, making his character into fucking KHAN NOONIEN SINGH for what to me reads as little more than a publicity stunt (“look! it’s khan in the second movie! just like how in the original movies it was khan in the second movie! :O”) is an insult to the original character, an insult to Gene Roddenberry, and an insult to Ricardo Montalban.

And it’s not as though there aren’t fantastic desi actors who could have portrayed the character. Need I remind you all that India has one of the largest film industries in the WORLD? Why not cast Shahrukh Khan? If you insist on an American, there’s always Sendhil Ramamurthy. But no, we’re going to cast LITERALLY the most British man in existence. 

It is whitewashing at its most vile and heinous, and it’s yet more evidence that fundamentally, J.J. Abrams does not understand the Star Trek universe in the least. I will not be going to see this movie, and in fact I’ll be avoiding Abrams productions and anything Cumberbatch is in from now on (Yes, that means I won’t be going to see the Hobbit, despite having wanted a Hobbit movie since I was a small child). 

Remembering Ricardo Montalban on what would’ve been his 93rd birthday  (November 25, 1920-January 14, 2009)

Ricardo Montalban originated the role of Khan Noonien Singh in the original Star Trek series episode "Space Seed.” He reprised the character for the motion picture “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”.

The legendary film and television actor was already a star in his native Mexico when he was discovered by an American producer in 1942. Montalban became a popular contract actor for MGM from 1945 to 1955, and he starred with Hollywood’s most glamorous leading ladies. In the late 1970’s, Montalban emerged as a television icon, playing the distinguished “Mr. Roarke” of Fantasy Island fame for seven years.

In 1970 Montalban founded an organization called Nosotros to improve the image of Latinos and Hispanics in the entertainment industry, both in front and behind the camera, and to expand their employment opportunities in the industry. In 2004 the Ricardo Montalban Theatre opened in Hollywood to serve as a training ground for visionary artists and talents. It is the first major theater facility in the United States to carry the name of a Latino artist.“ - StarTrek.com

Lena Horne and Ricardo Montalban pose with civil rights heroine Daisy Bates and the “Little Rock Nine,” at New York’s Imperial Theater on June 13, 1958. Horne and Montalban were starring in the musical, Jamaica at the theater.

The “Little Rock Nine” were the nine brave students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas on September 25, 1957. The students are Melba Patillo Beals, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Carlotta Walls Lanier, Terrance Roberts, Jefferson Thomas, Minnijean Brown Trickey, and Thelma Mothershed Wair.