1. Khan was already a major villain in a 'Star Trek' film and this is a universe brimming with dozens of other great adversaries for the crew of the Enterprise to face down.
2. Khan was was so memorably embodied by Ricardo Montalban that any other actor would find himself stumbling in shoes that are waaay too big for him.
3. This is evidence that JJ Abrams and writers Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman aren't ready to take the easy way out and rely on characters that every moviegoer is familiar with. Instead, they're picking storylines that will make a good movie versus pandering to the masses.
The informant did drop a few tantalizing morsels as to the identity of the actual villain, though. Will it be the Horta, a race of alien rock monsters? The goofy smuggler Harry Mudd? The Talosians, alien zookeepers who were a major element of the original pilot? The god-like Trelane, who traps the Enterprise and toys with its crew like they're playthings?
Devin seems to think it will be Gary Mitchell, a close friend of Kirk's who develops psychic powers after a cosmic accident. As to why:
"...Gary Mitchell is a character who presents a deeply personal struggle for Kirk while not being a traditional bad guy. If the movie takes the character but doesn't adapt the episode closely we could see a situation where a godlike Gary Mitchell brings a state of tension between the federation and the Klingon Empire -- imagine if the Klingons think Mitchell is a new Federation superweapon and come to destroy him? You'd have Kirk trapped between a Klingon invasion fleet and his omnipotent and amoral best friend."
Of course, that's pure speculation on his part, but it's a darn good idea, the kind of creative fanboy thinking that's going to make the long wait to the next film a little easier. For a detailed analysis of all the potential villains, check out the full article. Otherwise, use the comments below to throw forth your choice for a future 'Star Trek' villain. First person to say the aliens from 'Spock's Brain' gets stranded on an ice planet.
'Star Trek 2' is due out in 2012.