Actor Benedict Cumberbatch confirmed this week that he has signed on to play the villain in the next Star Trek film, hopefully dispelling rumors once and for all that the prequel’s sequel won’t be about Khan, originally seen in Star Trek II. Then again, he does look a bit like the crew stranded with Khan all those years on Ceti Alpha V…
Nah. But it does make you want to get out the Photoshop and check out whether he makes a better Vulcan, Romulan or Klingon, or maybe J.J. Abrams will really mix things up and feature him as a member of The Borg. And it puts the new Star Trek prequel’s sequel (say that ten times fast) in the #1 spot for most anticipated movie coming out in 2013. (I think he’d make a great Romulan).
New Line Cinema only recently announced that Cumberbatch was going to be the evil voice of the Necromancer (and Smaug the dragon) in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and its sequel The Hobbit: There and Back Again, the former scheduled to be released in theaters in December. Playing the villain in two of the biggest sci-fi/fantasy franchises is almost unprecedented. Almost, because you have to consider fellow British actor Christopher Lee playing the villain Sauron in The Lord of the Rings and equally villainous Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels. And then you have Karl Urban who played both Dr. McCoy in Star Trek 2009 and Eomer in The Lord of the Rings franchise, and Ian McKellen who played both Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and Magneto in the X-Men movies, and John Rhys-Davies who played Gimli in The Lord of the Rings and Sallah in the Indiana Jones movies… on second thought scratch that “unprecedented” reference. But that certainly is good company for Cumberbatch, who has spring-boarded into international celebrity in the past year.
His role as Sherlock Holmes in Doctor Who creator Steven Moffat’s BBC/Public Television’s Masterpiece Mystery series Sherlock first put Cumberbatch opposite The Hobbit star Martin Freeman. Freeman has a similarly huge year coming as Bilbo Baggins in addition to reprising his Dr. Watson role. In Sherlock, the classic detective is brought into the 21st century, but his skills and sleuthing is very familiar. Masterpiece Mystery confirmed this week that the Sherlock series 2/season 2 is scheduled to begin this May, and that they plan to bring back Cumberbatch for a third year after season 2.
Since his first roles in 2002, including a small part in the BBC mini-series Tipping the Velvet with Ashes to Ashes/Identity star Keeley Hawes, Cumberbatch had memorable smaller parts in 2006’s Amazing Grace as William Pitt…
in 2008’s The Other Boleyn Girl as William Carey, and in 2011 he played Major Stewart in Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed film War Horse…
and as Peter Guillam in this season’s spy thriller (opening in general release this weekend finally) Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
Cumberbatch joins the Enterprise crew from Star Trek 2009, Chris Pine, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, and Zoe Saldana, and former Robocop Peter Weller as a yet-to-be-named character in the yet-to-be-named new Star Trek film.