Damon Lindelof loves to troll and tease fans about past and present projects via his Twitter account. On Monday, he tweeted that “Something really, REALLY cool just happened. #BoldlyGo”. Today, he let us in on what that “really, REALLY cool” thing is by tweeting a link to a Deadline story. Benedict Cumberbatch, it seems, has signed on to join the cast of the Star Trek sequel. TrekMovie.com and Variety fill out the announcement with the information that Cumberbatch will be playing the film’s highly speculated about villain. None of the sources reporting on Cumberbatch’s casting have any concrete information on who his villain will be, but that’s not stopping speculation.
Whatever or whoever the villain ends up being, Cumberbatch is kind of a steal for Abrams and Co. He’s a hot commodity at the moment in the UK, having been nominated for his third BAFTA and named the actor of the year by British GQ Magazine in 2011. He’s gotten critical acclaim and mass popularity for portraying Sherlock Holmes in Steven Moffat’s Sherlock, and has roles in hotly anticipated movies like Spielberg’s War Horse and the new adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Cumberbatch will also be lending his voice to the character of the Necromancer and go motion capture for Smaug the Dragon in the upcoming Hobbit films.
The strange thing here is that up till now, all signs have pointed to Khan Noonien Singh being the villain of the next Star Trek. Benicio del Toro was originally up for the villain role, but passed on it, leading to the hiring of Cumberbatch. Except while del Toro would have been able to pull off Khan, Cumberbatch (though incredibly talented) as perhaps the whitest most British person on the planet has no business playing an Indian man.