See Benedict Cumberbatch As Grand Admiral Thrawn In The Mandalorian

Benedict Cumberbatch is Grand Admiral Thrawn in this Instagram fan art.

By Nathan Kamal | Updated

benedict cumberbatch the mandalorian

There is no official word from Lucasfilm that Benedict Cumberbatch may play iconic Star Wars villain Grand Admiral Thrawn in The Mandalorian, but that has not stopped fans from imagining it. Some even go further, like digital artist ApexForm, who posted concept art to Instagram of the Doctor Strange actor as the Imperial officer. As the caption puts it, Benedict Cumberbatch “has the look, and the acting ability to play calculated and sinister,” which is certainly vital to portraying the Empire’s greatest strategic mind. 

As one can see in the image, Benedict Cumberbatch could certainly portray Thrawn in The Mandalorian Season 3 based on physical attributes alone. There is something uneasily alien about the Sherlock actor’s high cheekbones and gawky frame to begin with, so adding some blue skin and glowing red eyes just enhances the intimidation factor. It also helps that Cumberbatch has one of the most sinister voices in Hollywood right now.

Several years ago, Benedict Cumberbatch was asked if he would play the character during the press tour for his movie The Courier, to which he amusingly replied “Grand Admiral Thrawn? Does he turn into Peter Cushing, or something?…That’s a straight no from me, right now.” While that can be taken as a pretty firm denial that the Marvel actor would be appearing in the role, it is worth focusing on that “right now” part.

Benedict Cumberbatch

While Benedict Cumberbatch was likely just hedging his bets, a lot has changed between that interview and the upcoming The Mandalorian Season 3. For one, the Pedro Pascal-starring series has proven itself to be far and away the most popular Star Wars show on Disney+, with series like Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett struggling to gain the same kind of critical acclaim and devoted viewership. If Benedict Cumberbatch is interested in making the leap from the Marvel branch of Disney to the Star Wars one, he could do a whole lot worse than The Mandalorian.

It also needs to be said: Benedict Cumberbatch looks as though he was designed by a laboratory to portray an Imperial officer in Star Wars, so why not Thrawn in The Mandalorian? Of course, it has not yet been confirmed that the third season of the show will actually introduce the fan-favorite villain to live-action, but it definitely seems that it has to happen sometime soon, given how much Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka Tano keeps dropping references.

It has been strongly rumored that the live-action Thrawn will be portrayed by Lars Mikkelsen, who voiced the character in Seasons 3 and 4 of Star Wars Rebels. While that would undoubtedly make many fans happy, we would also be happy to see Benedict Cumberbatch in The Mandalorian in basically any capacity.

Currently, Benedict Cumberbatch is confirmed to reprise the role of Doctor Strange in Avengers: Secret Wars in 2026, though it is hard to imagine he will not pop up in a post-credits scene or supporting role before that. Maybe Marvel Studios can find a way to transfer him over to Lucasfilm for at least a little cameo.

This is the way.

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