Star Trek 2 has a villain once more. After Benicio Del Toro surprisingly passed on the villain role in J.J. Abrams’ highly anticipated sci-fi follow-up, Edgar Ramirez and Jordi Mollà were reportedly under consideration. Now British actor Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s Sherlock) has been cast in the part. The actor has been having a stellar year, as he appeared in Steven Spileberg’s War Horse and was one of the best parts of the espionage thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. He’s set to play Smaug (via motion-capture) in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, and now he’s poised for Star Trek greatness. Hit the jump for more including an update.
Deadline’s story doesn’t specify which role Cumberbatch has signed on for, but Variety’s Jeff Sneider confirms that the actor won the villain role that Ramirez had auditioned for. Rumors have been swirling for a while that Abrams and Co. had settled on Khan as the villain in their follow-up, and the casting of Del Toro and subsequent contenders Ramirez and Mollà added fuel to the fire (Hispanic actor Ricardo Montalban originated the role).
The casting of Cumberbatch is definitely a curveball, but I’m over the moon about the choice. He’s incredible as Sherlock Holmes on the BBC series Sherlock, and he has the ability to bring dramatic weight to even relatively minor roles in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and War Horse. He’s a splendid pick and I can’t wait to see him at work in the Star Trek universe. Cumberbatch’s casting comes at the last minute, as production on the Star Trek sequel is set to begin on the 15th of this month. Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman wrote the screenplay and Cumberbatch joins other newcomers Alice Eve, Peter Weller, and Noel Clarke in the pic. Star Trek 2 opens in 3D on May 17th, 2013.
UPDATE: Steve here. Christina got to participate in an interview with Cumberbatch today at the TCA’s and he gave a breif comment on getting cast in the Star Trek sequel. Click here to read it.