Is it a clue? Or a red herring?
One of the big questions surrounding the anticipated Star Trek: Into Darkness is just who Benedict Cumberbatch's big bad will be.
Is he Khan? Or friend-turned-betrayer Gary Mitchell? Or someone else entirely?
Paramount pictures and director/producer J.J. Abrams released two tidbits of information Tuesday that could confirm all the speculation surrounding Cumberbatch's character, or throw it off entirely.
A caption released by the studio of Cumberbatch, along with returning stars Zachary Quinto as Spock and Chris Pine as Kirk, labels the newcomer as John Harrison, a character who doesn't ring any Trekkie bells.
According to TrekMovie.com, producer Roberto Orci was on record confirming that Cumberbatch's character would be a villain from Star Trek canon, which "John Harrison" is not, at least obviously.
Heading off speculation that the name is just a placeholder for the caption, however, TrekMovie confirmed with Abrams that the character is in fact called John Harrison in the film. (Not that the speculation has halted--far from it. Commentors appear to be sticking by their guns with their favorite theories adapted to include the a twist of mistaken identities.)
The other major information revealed is the identity of Alice Eve's character as Dr. Carol Marcus. Eve was given prominent face time in the teaser-trailer released last week, so it's not a surprise that she'll be playing an established character.
Marcus was a love interest for Captain Kirk and is the mother of Kirk's son, David Marcus, in older Trek films. She also, notably, first showed up in the movie... that just happened to be all about Khan, The Wrath of Khan.
So, coincidence? Clue? Only J.J. Abrams knows for sure.
(A nine-minute preview of Star Trek: Into Darkness will play before IMAX showings of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, opening Friday.