Benedict Cumberbatch Is Star Trek’s Next Villain, We Think He’s Voicing An Evil Computer

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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.

So let’s assume for a moment that the villain, despite the continued insistence of many self-styled insiders, is not in fact Khan. If it isn’t Khan, then just who is Cumberbatch playing? We have a theory.

Earlier today we learned that Noel Clarke joined the cast of Star Trek: The Next as a character described only as a “family man”. Noel Clarke looks like this:

Interestingly, Clarke is kind of a dead ringer for this guy…
The above photo is of a character named Richard Daystrom, as he appeared in the original Star Trek TV series while played by actor William Marshall. Daystrom is a tragic figure, the inventor of an evil super computer called M-5 which takes over the Enterprise and wreaks havoc in the Federation. He could also easily fit the mold of “family man”.

Assume for a moment that Clarke really is playing Daystrom in Star Trek: The Next. That would mean the movie’s villain has to be M-5, the evil super computer. And if you’re going to have an evil super computer as the villain of your movie, you need the perfect voice for it. Enter Bennedict Cumberbatch, who is currently working on providing the voice of Smaug, The Hobbit’s big bad dragon. He’s got voice experience and has exactly the kind of smart, British guy tone you’d want coming out of a rogue computer.

It all works except for one, tiny hole. Benicio del Toro was originally supposed to be the next Star Trek villain and since half the time you can’t even understand the words coming out of his mouth, there’s pretty much no chance anyone would ever cast him to voice an evil super computer. In fact the odds of Benicio del Toro being cast to play an evil super computer are about as good as Bennedict Cumberbatch being hired to play Khan Noonien Singh.

What’s really going on here? We’ll let you know when we find out for sure.


  1. …Can we just go back the the Next Gen era? This rehash of old trek is getting er.. Old

  2. Mikehattan says:

    What IS it that I like about Mr. Cumberbutch?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wouldn’t it be crazy if they A) came up with an original villain and story and B) said villain didn’t bear an overwhelming resemblance to Khan?  (I’m lookin’ at you, Shinzon.)

    • JT says:

      It would be good, but betting on Hollywood doing something fresh and original is probably a bad bet.

  4. Jamie Helton says:

    I find it interesting that everyone assumed the villain was going to be Khan simply because Benicio del Toro was under consideration, and since Khan was played by Ricardo Montalban, people couldn’t conceive of another actor of Spanish descent playing anyone except Khan (who happens to be a Sikh and not actually Spanish).  Now we have a black actor cast in a role, and the assumption is that he’ll play the only major black guest character from the original series?  And sorry, Noel Clarke is not a “dead ringer” for the actor who played Richard Daystrom, who looks about 20 years older.

    The wonderful thing about “Star Trek” is presenting a multi-cultural world with an interracial cast, even though casting during the ’60s was still somewhat limited.  If Cumberbatch indeed take over for del Toro, then J.J. Abrams and friends are obviously looking at casting according to talent and not to ethnicity.  Even if Cumberbatch is being cast as Khan, I applaud that because it breaks expectations.  However, I have a feeling the villain is someone totally unexpected.

    • JT says:

      Jamie, del Toro’s involvement wasn’t the reason people thought it might be Khan.  There were several supposed Hollywood “insiders” who claimed they had secret information and said they knew it was. 

      Del Toro being involved just made their rumors seem more plausible.

      Also Richard Daystrom is far from the only black character in Trek lore. Age aside, I find it hard to believe you don’t find any facial similarities between both he and Clarke beyond skin color. Similar face shape, nearly identical noses. Very similar in appearance.

      As for age, the new Trek version has cast every part younger. Why would that change now?

      • Jamie Helton says:

        This Trek movie has the characters being the age they would be during the time period depicted, which is only a few years before the events in the original TV series.  Clarke is far younger than the Daystrom actor was.  My point is that people seem to be jumping to conclusions about casting due to race and ethnicity.  I challenge you to name other prominent black male guest characters that the original “Trek” had.  Clarke and the other actor have a passing resemblance, but that’s all.

        Regarding del Toro, you were right to put the word “insiders” in quotes because no one could actually say who had the information that Khan was indeed the villain.  If you read comments on movie sites all over the Internet, the assumption was that del Toro must be playing Khan because of his heritage.  Does he have a physical resemblance to Ricardo Montalban?  Hardly.  When del Toro backed out, suddenly there was a laundry list of actors with Spanish heritage who were supposedly being considered for the role.  I find it funny that Cumberbatch was instead cast, throwing the casting rumors to the wind.

        Of course the resemblance to original actors in a role doesn’t matter all that much, considering that most of the new cast don’t really look a lot like the original actors, but instead capture the characteristics in performance.