Star Trek: Section 31‘s Emperor Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) began Star Trek: Discovery as a villainous character who eventually joined the side of the heroes, setting up a potential similar return for iconic Star Trek villain, Khan Noonien-Singh (Ricardo Montalban). Emperor Georgiou was a ruthless dictator from the Mirror Universe who was the opposite of her Prime Universe counterpart, Captain Georgiou. Though her character started out as an antagonist for Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and the crew of the USS Discovery, she eventually joined their side, even traveling with them to the far future in Discovery season 3.
Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) first encountered Khan in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Space Seed,” and Khan later became the main antagonist in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The most feared warlord from late 20th century Earth’s Eugenics Wars, Khan had been genetically augmented and possessed superior strength and intellect. Despite his status as one of the Enterprise’s greatest enemies, Khan was a hero to his followers. Considering Star Trek: Discovery was able to have Georgiou join the side of the heroes while still maintaining her cutthroat personality, a future Star Trek project could do the same for Khan.
How Michelle Yeoh’s Emperor Georgiou Is Similar To Khan
Historically, Star Trek has not often focused on its villains, but Emperor Georgiou became one of Star Trek: Discovery’s best break-out characters. Though the character’s popularity has a lot to do with Academy Award Winner Michelle Yeoh’s magnificent performances, Georgiou had a fascinating character journey. Over the course of her time on Discovery, Georgiou developed a grudging respect for Michael Burnham and they formed a close, almost mother/daughter-like bond. Georgiou genuinely cared about Michael and fought alongside the crew of the Discovery. Though she left Discovery in season 3, the upcoming Section 31 movie will explore more of her story. Georgiou’s transition from villain to semi-hero provides the set-up for Khan to have a similar journey.
Modern television loves a good anti-hero and Khan could prove to be just that. In the late 20th century, Khan ruled over a quarter of the Earth. He was considered to be a benevolent tyrant – as much as such as thing is possible. After the devastating Eugenics Wars, Khan saved as many of the other so-called superhumans as he could by placing his followers and himself in suspended animation on a ship called the Botany Bay. Because of this, Khan’s followers were devoted to him and viewed him as a hero. Wrath of Khan understandably focused on Kirk’s perspective, but a future Khan spin-off could give viewers a look into the villain’s mind.
How Khan Can Be The Hero Of A Star Trek Spinoff
In an article from April 2022, Trekmovie.com revealed that the original director of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was still interested in making a mini-series about Khan he had previously pitched. The mini-series tells the story of Khan’s life on Ceti Alpha V, where he was left after the events of the TOS episode “Space Seed.” This story would fill in the gaps between that episode and Khan’s appearance in the second Star Trek film. Ceti Alpha V was a barely habitable planet when Khan and his followers were sent there, and its orbit shifted soon after their arrival, making it even more inhospitable.
As the leader and hero to his people, Khan was likely the one responsible for keeping most of his followers alive during their stay on Ceti Alpha V. Khan would be the hero of this story rather than the villain, and a mini-series or movie would give viewers insight into how and why Khan became such a powerful leader in the first place. Khan clearly cared about his people, and Emperor Georgiou’s story arc from villain to almost hero could provide the blueprint to tell the other side of Khan’s story. As one of the greatest villains in the Star Trek franchise, Khan has fascinated fans for decades, and he could follow in Georgiou’s footsteps of a villain worthy of a little redemption.