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Strange New Worlds Finally Corrects One of Star Trek’s Biggest Mistakes


For all its talk about overcoming racism and embracing diversity, Star Trek has sometimes fallen into harmful tropes, including when it comes to the character of Khan.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 Poster
Photo: Pari Dukovic/Paramount+

This Star Trek: Strange New Worlds article contains spoilers.

At the end of the latest episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, La’an Noonien-Singh makes a shocking discovery. Hurled back to 21st-century Toronto, alongside James T. Kirk (Paul Wesley), to stop a history-changing attack by Romulans, La’an finds the holding area of her infamous ancestor, the genocidal warlord Khan Noonien Singh.

Tempted by the opportunity to not only destroy a vicious warlord but to also shake off the hatred for her name that still exists in her reality, La’an enters the room, gun drawn. However, she finds not the glowering madman played by Ricardo Montalbán in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan nor the simmering terror played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Instead, she finds a small child, whom she immediately comforts.

As sweet as this moment is, even more notable is who is playing Khan in the scene. It’s talented young actor Desmond Sivan (FUBAR), who is of both Latino and South Asian descent, meaning Star Trek has finally cast a performer of South Asian heritage to play Khan, who is Indian in canon. This is a big deal, especially when you consider the franchise’s blunder when it cast Cumberbatch, a white actor, to play the villain in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, leading some fans to accuse the movie of whitewashing Khan.

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