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.