Benicio Del Toro Drops Out of 'Star Trek 2' -- We Pick Who Should Play the New Khan

Benicio Del Toro Drops Out of 'Star Trek 2' -- We Pick Who Should Play the New Khan

Dec 06, 2011

Actor Benicio Del ToroThe Star Trek 2 casting rumor carousel continues to spin – and now Benicio Del Toro has exited the project.

After more than a month of speculation and reports that JJ Abrams wanted the Wolfman actor to play a major villain in the film, Del Toro has passed on the project. This comes after a wild weekend where various outlets reported that the actor would play Khan in the newest film – a report that Abrams and Paramount declined. Now that Del Toro has passed on the project, one would assume that would mark the end of Khan talk…

Instead, outlets like Vulture are more convinced than ever that Khan Noonien Singh will be the sequel’s main villain. The assumption is that Abrams and Paramount were being coy with their denial, saying there was no truth to the rumor that Del Toro was playing the character made famous by Ricardo Montalban, and not that the character wasn’t in the sequel. Perhaps they’re right – only time will tell.

What’s sort of lost in all this speculation is that if Khan is indeed the villain in Star Trek 2, then losing Del Toro is disappointing. The actor would have made for a great Khan. No one will ever top Montalban’s performances as the character, but Benicio Del Toro seemed well suited for the part.

So, now that Del Toro is officially out, who would you want to see play Khan? We’ve got some ideas for who should fill the role – read on and see what you think.

This seems highly unlikely (especially since he’s playing a villain in the newest James Bond film, which is currently filming), but we could see Javier Bardem as the maniacal Khan in Abrams’ sequel. Think about it – Bardem has already played the terrifyingly fascinating Anton Chigurh, so Khan seems to be right in his wheelhouse. With his distinctive accent and glowering looks, we think Bardem as Khan would be pretty damn amazing. Too bad it’s unlikely to ever happen.

Bollywood actor Hrithik Rothan

Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan is even less likely, but also makes sense when you stop to consider it. Montalban may have become synonymous with the Khan character, but he wasn’t of Indian descent – and Khan is. With that in mind, why not get a star from India's vibrant film scene to play the role? Roshan would make a pretty interesting Khan – he’s a good looking guy, he’s a respected actor (he’s won several Best Actor awards for his work) and he’s got action film experience after appearing in Dhoom 2. Seriously – we think this would be an intriguing choice -- they'd just have to make him look a little older and less heartthrobby. 

Giancarlo Esposito as Breaking Bad's Gus Fring

We love AMC’s Breaking Bad around here, and with that in mind, we’d be all in favor of JJ Abrams offering the role of Khan to Giancarlo Esposito. Esposito’s always been a fantastic actor, but his work over the past two seasons as meth kingpin Gus Fring has been absolutely amazing. Watching Esposito bring Gus’s meticulous and ruthless demeanor to the role of Khan seems like a perfect fit. Esposito’s penchant for perfectly delivered lines would make Khan’s quieter moments mesmerizing, and we can totally see him screaming about Kirk too. We suspect Esposito wouldn’t be particularly interested in appearing in a mainstream blockbuster, but Abrams and crew should definitely talk to his agent.

Those are just three potential choices to play Khan – there are many other possibilities out there. What do you guys think? Any of these selections resonate with you? Play casting director with us and make your own Khan suggestions in the comment section below. 

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