Deadline and Variety have conflicting reports on the matter, but one thing is definitely clear: Benedict Cumberbatch will be in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reborquel sequel. The confusion is whether or not the British actor will play the villain role previously abandoned by Benicio Del Toro, or some other unknown character. If he is portraying the film’s big bad, I would be somewhat surprised if he was taking on Ricardo Montalban’s iconic Khan.
As I’m sure a good number of Pajibans are aware, Cumberbatch is well known for his take on the legendary detective in the BBC One’s “Sherlock,” the second series of which has already started airing. (And I’m totally jealous about that fact. I guess that’s karmic retribution for all those YouTube* videos, eh?) But that means he isn’t all that famous in America, yet, with only supporting roles in War Horse and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. He’ll also voice two roles, Smaug and the Necromancer, in The Hobbit movies, but being the villain in Star Trek 2 would be his first major step to some level of stardom on these shores.
Whether he’s playing Khan or not, Benedict Cumberbatch is an excellent addition to an already excellent cast. He would make for a fantastic nemesis for Kirk and the Enterprise crew, and would bring a more intellectual intensity than Eric Bana’s “I stubbed my toe and it really, really hurts but I’m too awesome to acknowledge it” style of
glaring acting. But Khan requires a bit more physicality than I think Cumberbatch has that Del Toro would have excelled at.
Then again, having two incredibly distinct performers up for the same role is a bit odd. Hmm…? Who knows, maybe he’s playing Spock’s brother Sybok?
* The irony here is not lost on me.
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). He really likes Joanna’s idea to bring Martin Freeman in as Scotty’s brother, Montmercy Scott.