The Mastermind of a Villain

kahn star trek

Some of the best villains in literature and film are INTJ’s, from Magneto to Hannibal Lecter. What makes them villains is probably their higher percentages than your average, ordinary INTJ off the street — higher percentages that result in a diminished lack of concern for the well-being of others, an increased curiosity for “watching the world burn,” a higher code of internal moral ethics not based on any outside convictions, and utter lack of guilt in acting on their conclusions.

Every type has villains but their actions are based on their type itself — emotion, passion, narrow-mindedness… the INTJ is different, scarier, more calculating.

As different as INTJs can be based on percentages, environment, upbringing, levels of intensity, and many other factors, they have one thing in common: admiration for sheer intelligence, even if they can’t agree with where it leads. Watching a movie, they might not admire the result of an evil character’s intelligence, but they are drawn to the intelligence itself and in awe of watching a master plan unfold. Sheer intellect is like their own personal brand of catnip; it’s sexy and it makes the person using it sexy, even if they have nothing else (such as common morality) going for them.

(Stop reading now if you don’t want to be spoiled for Star Trek into Darkness.)

kahn star trek

Let’s talk about the latest big-screen epic evil INTJ: Khan, in Star Trek into Darkness. He’s awesome as a villain; he provides an immense challenge for the heroes, an almost unstoppable force combined of sheer strength and insane genius, but his motivations also have “logic” in his own mind — in Khan’s case, the extermination of a lesser species in favor of his own superiority. His arguments to Kirk are rational and logical (his abuse at the hands of Star Fleet), but also designed purely to elicit an “emotional response” from those who have the compassion he lacks; he releases evidence when it benefits him most and serves his own purpose. Like many INTJ’s, he shares only what he wants others to know, to get the response he wants from them.

His careful planning reveals his INTJ ability to foresee all potential outcomes to problems and plan accordingly how to shift them to his advantage; his entire purpose from the beginning is to get his hands on Star Fleet’s only fully-armed, military-grade ship, and the build-up to this conclusion reveals careful planning and research: he knows Kirk’s reputation and behavior patterns, such as his violation of direct orders in rescuing Spock from danger, and uses that to reinforce his belief that Kirk won’t kill him as ordered (his history of disobedience) on sight, but instead take him aboard the Enterprise.

From there, he shares his back history (along with some manufactured tears) to make Kirk empathetic toward him, knowing when the admiral’s ship drops out of orbit, there will be a confrontation. He’s already figured out the admiral’s intentions for a Klingon war, and anticipated the admiral will use his bombs to do it. He went to the Klingon world to force that conflict into the forefront, by using the ambition of his superior officer against him. (He collected information and used it, to manipulate everyone to do what benefited him most… a classic trait of this type.)

kahn star trek

Thus, by the time of the conflict, Khan has everyone where he wants them. The only thing he can’t foresee is Spock consulting Spock Prime for information on Khan; without this knowledge, Spock wouldn’t have been able to foresee his intentions (his desire to awaken his crew and take command of a ship) and stop him. That’s the one factor Khan didn’t know about, the chink in his armor that takes him down. The good guys win with a combination of their morality (which isn’t always good, see final paragraph) and their awareness of his deceit. Even so, he still nearly escapes them and is only brought to “justice” through physical force.

My love of this film has to do with many elements; the story arc revolving around Kirk and Spock and their friendship, the humor and charm of the secondary characters, the subtle symbolism throughout, and naturally, the sexy and super smart villain, but at the end, the logic of an INTJ screams over the foolishness of Star Fleet.

They let him live.

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

Khan is dangerous. He’s brilliant. He’s psychotic. He left a path of destruction behind him and nearly eluded them several times. He was only caught the first time because he wanted to be caught. Much as this INTJ enjoyed watching him outsmart everyone, an INTJ this brilliant, psychotic, and evil needs to die.

27 Replies to “The Mastermind of a Villain”

  1. I like the movie and this Khan a lot, but I think you guys are being a little to harsh on the original version. It is dated now, it’s 30 years old, people have different ideas on what a villain should be like. For it’s time the Wrath of Khan was a great movie and is still considered one of the best Star Trek films. I liked this one better but I appreciate what the original was…the father of this.
    I also don’t believe that Khan was faking the tear.

    1. You’ll have to forgive my harshness — I could barely stay awake during The Wrath of Khan and actually thought it was one of the worst original films. Dull, slow-moving, hammy-acting, etc. Wasn’t impressed, so when people praise it, I give them a o.O look. 😀

      1. Lol, hey I understand, but it is 30 years old now. Movies have changed so much, I had to watch it a few times, mentality transport myself back to the 80’s and turn into my father to appreciate it, but I got there. But personally, my favorite Star Trek film is Star Trek 6: The undiscovered country. I grew up watching the show since my father is a Trekkie.

        1. I think growing up with something makes a lot of difference. I didn’t grow up on “Star Wars” like most of my friends, so I’m more critical of it than they are; the same thing with “Star Trek,” and pretty much everything else. I can’t remember which is my favorite Trek film, but I remember enjoying most of them. 🙂

  2. I JUST saw this movie for the second time (literally hours ago, at the local dollar theater) and came across this blog post after searching for information about INTJs.

    I’ve always had a “thing” for brilliant villains, something that my hero-loving friends have always teased me about. I very recently learned that I’m an INTJ, and now everything makes so much more sense! Intellect is by far the sexiest trait, and it’s very, very difficult not to side with evil (in a movie) when he makes such good arguments.

    Also, I thought that manipulation was one of the INTJ traits that I don’t have, because I consider myself a pretty honest person, but oh man … that bit about sharing the information he wants the other person to know, to get the reaction he wants? Yeah, I do that.

    Sorry for the long comment. I’m fascinated by personality types and villains and films, so I loved finding this post!

    1. Pfft! Why root for the hero? He’s gonna win. He has enough going for him, he doesn’t need our support. Plus, how could he ever be HEROIC if there wasn’t some fantastic, sexy, awesome villain forcing him to BECOME heroic? Huh?!

      Rational, well-planned and executed diabolical schemes are like catnip for me. I don’t find Benedict remotely attractive on his best days but as Khan… wow. The brilliance was a total turn on.

      Um… yeah… withholding information to share it at the proper moment is totally a manipulative trait. I should know. I try not to do it all the time. 😉

  3. “in short, he releases evidence when it benefits him most and serves his own purpose. Like many INTJ’s, he shares only what he wants you to know, to get the response he wants from you.” Oh my gosh, yes! I didn’t even know I did that until recently. Such a bad habit to get into and so hard to break, but it is worth it!

    1. I tend toward doing that as well — I withhold information and then have to catch myself in order NOT to release it to get whatever desired effect I want from it. Everyone wants to be an INTJ because we’re cool! HAH! They should try NOT being one if you are! 😛

  4. Just so no Trekkies jump on you, other than me in all sweet kindness, his name is spelled Khan. 😉

    Regarding Spock and Spock Prime, do you think that Spock used an unfair advantage to beat Khan? After all, Spock Prime and Kirk came up against Khan with no outside help, certainly no ancient Spock with all the answers as to how Khan would react and what choices he was likely to make. It’s like Spock giving Scotty that transporter code thingy that he originally came up with all on his own in the original universe. There’s an unfair advantage against the poor villains in the new movies! I love Spock Prime (and that term for him), but he shouldn’t be interfering this way. He created the chink in Khan’s armor that in any other circumstance would never have been created in the first place.

    I LOVE your frustration over Star Fleet’s foolishness! And they can be so STUPID sometimes, which makes them even more amusing. Your logical INTJ side is awesome! As much as you love Khan, you know that he will create further havoc in the future if he’s not executed, but that’s something Star Fleet will never do. So we continue on, having him frozen again, and when he somehow escapes, which will happen, his vengeance will be even more terrible. Star Fleet should really reconsider their “no death penalty” stance!

    1. If Spock Prime hadn’t warned Spock about Khan’s true nature, Spock might have underestimated him (I doubt it, but it’s possible) and they might have lost this fight. This Khan is nothing like the original Khan — thus, a far more dangerous adversary. It is an unfair advantage they have against him, yes, but in war — you play fair, you die.

      This is why my logical side accepts the death penalty — as Angie Harmon’s character once said in Law & Order, there comes a time when a person’s crimes are so horrific that they don’t deserve to live on to be a further threat to humanity. Khan is just such an individual; keeping him alive is not only dangerous, but the dumbest thing any of them could ever do. Drain him of all his blood (for future healing properties) and let him die!

      (Did you notice it was Micky from Doctor Who that Khan conned — hahaha, I love that — right at the beginning of the film? It took me FOREVER to figure it out, since I haven’t seen Micky in years.)

      1. I am so GLAD that this Khan is nothing like the original. I can’t even remember when the original was introduced. In an episode arc, I think, and not just the movie.

        So . . . possibly Spock Prime’s warnings would have done no good because this is a totally different Khan? How could he know anything about this version of Khan because it’s nothing like the one he met? I swear I’m not looking for plot holes, but it makes me wonder.

        You’ve probably heard of Jodi Arias? I say fry her. She’s not as bad as Khan, but it takes a certain heartlessness and insanity to do what she did. She could have just walked away from her boyfriend, killing him was unnecessary.

        Even to Khan the logical decision would be to have him executed. If he gets out, he can easily justify anything he does in the future because of Star Fleet’s leniency, or lunacy.

        I just answered a library patron in a British accent by the way! This is what happens when I’m thinking of Ben! He even called me on it, in the nicest way, asking if they paid extra for the accent (spoken with a wink). *face-palm*

        1. The original Khan sucked. He over-acted and wasn’t in the least bit frightening (at least in TWOK… maybe he was better in the original series?) whereas this one was a genuine terrifying, brilliant mastermind of epic proportions. (I had to laugh earlier because someone on tumblr called everyone out on whining about Khan not being played by an “ethnic” actor, since apparently Khan in the original wasn’t even meant to be deliberately ethic. Bwhahaha.)

          I wouldn’t say that, no — Khan in Spock Prime’s universe was evil, if the Enterprise met him in this one and Spock questioned whether or not to trust him, Spock Prime certainly would suspect he would be evil also. He didn’t have to know much about him to warn them not to trust him — he wasn’t flat out informing Spock of Khan’s evil so much as telling him that in THEIR timeline, he was their greatest adversary and they only beat him through “grave personal costs.”

          Yes, I’ve heard OF her but don’t know much about the case — yet, enough about it to believe that no, her murder of her boyfriend certainly wasn’t justified and she shouldn’t be let off the hook for it. But “insanity” might get her institutionalized; they don’t usually put insane people on death row. (I’d have to ask — why not? — but then I’m cold sometimes.)

          They couldn’t kill Khan — they need him for future installments. 😉

          Hehe, cute.

          I’m divided at this point whether or not to enjoy the fact that Benedict will bring new fans to the franchise, or be irritated by it.

          1. I’m always irritated when someone joins a franchise just because of one actor. The Hobbit would have been amazing with or without Richard Armitage, Martin Freeman, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Because it’s an incredible story. The actor in the role doesn’t really matter in the long run. Not to say I don’t love Martin as Bilbo, but I suspect I would have loved anyone else in the role too.

            So all of the Ben fans joining the Trek franchise are going to irk me. Because I’ve been a Trekkie since before I can remember. You joined before Ben too, I think in the gap of our friendship actually, so he wasn’t a factor in your decision. You decided to give the franchise a try and found that you loved it.

            I can’t remember, was there the implication that Spock Prime told Spock something else about Khan and the camera cut away? Not that it would matter because Khan’s intro here is under totally different circumstances.

            I seriously need to see this movie again!

            I’m like you. Put the crazy murderous people on death row. Why should we have to pay for their criminal acts of horrendous murder for the rest of their lives? That’s the momentary INTJ that occasionally creeps up on me. Hmmm, I wonder how that might have developed? 😉

          2. I don’t mind if appreciation for an actor brings someone into a fandom — but if that’s the only reason they stay, that irritates me. It’s fine if you like so and so and you watch this or that because of it, but if it never goes further than appreciating that role or that actor, you’re missing the entire point of whatever franchise you happened to go. I’m also annoyed if newbies have no interest in the original, because the on-screen representation is “good enough” for them. It seems disrespectful to the creator of the story, somehow.

            (IE, “oh, Sherlock/Elementary is good enough — I don’t need to meet the real Holmes!”)

            I became a Trekkie because I saw the 2009 movie as a sci-fi fan and loved it, so I decided to try out the original series — and I loved that too. Having Benedict cast in the most recent film as the villain didn’t lure me in — it was the icing on the cake.

            Um… maybe? He probably did, actually, but I don’t remember much of the moment leading up to it, so whether or not it was completely helpful, I don’t know!

            You do. So do I. =P

            Gee, I don’t know where you get that. It’s certainly not from hanging out around me… 😉

          3. It’s not necessarily such a bad thing for people to come to a certain franchise or show or such because of one particular actor.
            I didn’t care a thing about the Avengers movies that had been coming out for years until I saw a picture of Tom Hiddleston (whom I’d never seen in anything before) as Loki, and then I sat down and watched every single movie, even the Hulk one, which isn’t my thing. I never had any interest in Lost until I found out that Michael Emerson was in it, and then I sat down and watched the entire series in two weeks. Now I’m a major fan of both. I was converted to science fiction because I was bored in my school library one day and picked up a book on Star Trek. Before that, no interest in it at all. Now it’s just about all I write.
            People who have never had a chance to find out why they might like something like Star Trek may be thoroughly converted to science fiction because a favorite actor was in it.

          4. Let’s see if I can phrase this without coming off as totally arrogant, which isn’t my intention at all. From what I understand, as you’re saying, you are now a fan of the franchise too. An actor introduced you to something that you now love. I’ve experienced that too, and it’s awesome when an actor you like is a part of something you grow to love.

            It’s the people who like an actor, watch one of their movies/shows/etc, and the only thing they like in that film is that actor. I remember the Orlando Bloom fangirls for LotR who drove me nuts because they could have cared less about the movie itself. All they cared about was Orlando, and that’s not an appreciation for the fandom.

            You’re different, in the best possible way. You love “Lost” after being introduced to it through an actor. The same with “The Avengers.” You went the whole nine yards, watching all of the superhero movies, so now you like not just Tom Hiddleston, but the franchise too. That’s the way it should be done. 🙂

            On a complete side note, which Bruce Banner (Hulk) did you like best (even though he’s not quite your thing)? I gotta say that Mark Ruffalo is growing on me. 🙂

          5. I don’t think I had a preference between Mark Ruffalo and Edward Norton. They were two entirely different characters, and I liked them both.

        2. I loved this Khan so much better than the original Khan. The original Khan came in in an Original Series episode (“Space Seed”) in which he was found much like this Khan was and tried immediately to take over the Enterprise. Good guys won and marooned him and his people on a primeval planet, so not killing him in this movie was consistent with the original. Quite a nasty character.
          Then he came back in “The Wrath of Khan,” because his planet had pretty much died, along with a lot of his people, so he blamed Kirk. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly suggest watching “The Wrath of Khan,” because so many things in this movie were an homage to or a complete twist of things that happened in “Wrath.” Like Kirk dying. My response to his death was laughter because of the twist.

          1. This Khan is freaking fantastic and… well, the original one was completely boring. I’ve seen his episode in the original series a couple of times (not recently though, as I haven’t watched the OS in awhile) but only suffered through The Wrath of Khan once. Not my favorite movie in the franchise.

          2. Nor mine, though I don’t entirely object to it. The TOS episode is worse, though. I object strenuously to Khan, but I object even more strenuously to the female character Marla McIvers.

        1. *sigh* I must have totally forgotten Mickey was in this movie because I didn’t notice him at all. Maybe I’ll spot him my second-time around.

          1. He’s the first person to see Khan John Harrison. I didn’t figure out who it was until I got home — I just knew I recognized him!

  5. Lol. I have to agree with you about letting Kahn live. Not really a good idea.
    Reading this article really made me think deeper about the story. I knew Kahn had been manipulating stuff, but I didn’t even consider that he set it up so that Kirk personally would come after him. Man, I feel like I missed so much now, lol. Can’t wait for the movie to come on DVD – I know I’m going to be seeing Kahn as way more evil and awesomely in control than I first realized.

    1. No, that’s one instance where Star Fleet reveals it’s run by a bunch of dumbasses! I mean, I was glad not to see Khan get impaled or whacked but — SERIOUSLY?? YOU’RE GOING TO KEEP HIM ALIVE?!

      Oh, hello, sequel!

      At first, I didn’t understand why Khan would go to an uninhabited part of a Klingon planet and then I realized he was “masterminding” everything that happened; he had it all planned out, he targeted headquarters knowing they would arm the missiles into a ship and send it after him, probably guessing it would be Kirk. (Maybe that was just a lucky coincidence on his part — but given how carefully he planned for it, I doubt it.) It IS interesting that he took out Pike — coincidence or intentional, knowing Kirk would want revenge? Hmm…

      Kahn is awesome. Also, Amazon already has a preorder for the movie up, but no release date. Fine by me! I’m guessing mid to late September…

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