Fans anxiously awaiting J.J. Abrams' upcoming "Star Trek Into Darkness" just got a little more information to ruminate over - Paramount has released the official plot synopsis for the film, and it offers a few juicy clues to the identity of the villain played by Benedict Cumberbatch.
The synopsis reads, in part: "When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction.
"As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death," the synopsis continues, "love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew."
So who is this "one-man weapon of mass destruction?" Though no one has confirmed it, signs point to Cumberbatch's character being Khan Noonien Singh, the genetically engineered superman who battled Kirk in the original series episode "Space Seed" and the second feature film, "Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan."
Notice the description of the crew's battle as an "epic chess game of life and death?" Recall that Khan (as famously depicted in his previous incarnation by actor Ricardo Montalban) was a master strategist, whose undoing came about because he thought of the battlefield as a two-dimensional plane. (Kirk and Spock played a lot of three-dimensional chess, which helped them get the jump on Khan while in the Mutara Nebula.)
It's too early to know for sure, but audiences will no doubt get even more clarity when nine minutes of the film is screened before Imax 3-D screenings of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" when that film opens on Dec. 14.
"Star Trek Into Darkness," written by "Lost" alumni Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, is slated for a May 17, 2013, release. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto will reprise their respective roles as James T. Kirk and Spock. Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, John Cho and Bruce Greenwood are also returning.