Cumberbatch Talks Trek, Is “Bored of Denying it’s Khan”

Benedict Cumberbatch, the new mystery villain in the upcoming Star Trek film, sat down with Shortlist to talk mostly about his role on Sherlock, but also spoke a bit about what it was like to play a villain in Trek. When asked about who his character is, he said (once again) that he could not talk about it and is “bored of denying it’s Khan now, because people keep saying it”. Hit the jump for more.


Once again, Cumberbatch was asked who he played in the new Star Trek film. And, once again, the actor was unable to give a straight answer.

Yep, it’s yet another thing I can’t talk about [laughs]. I’ll tell you this, it’s iconic and it’s exciting. I’m bored of denying that it’s Khan now, because people keep saying it.

Was it fun playing a villain?

Really, really good fun. It’s a great part and it’s really well written. I enjoyed the fights and the stunts, there’s lots of that and it really is proper action movie territory. I went off and did The Hobbit [doing motion-capture and voice work as dragon Smaug and the Necromancer] at the beginning of the job, so I literally came on set, established the look, did a day of filming and then f*cked off to New Zealand for two weeks before coming back. But it’s the stuff of dreams. I know it’s such a well-trodden, clichéd path, ‘Brit actor plays baddie in Hollywood’, but I channelled all of that and just really enjoyed it.

Read the full interview at Shortlist.


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August 31, 2012 7:05 am

Why can’t they just give us a title already? I’m pretty sick of waiting.

August 31, 2012 7:08 am

I dunno, I’m kind of glad this one is so secret – I’m to easily tempted to read spoilers and I hate myself for it :)

August 31, 2012 7:08 am

I’m ready for a trailer.

August 31, 2012 7:09 am

Believe it when I see it.

Dear JJ,
I’m BORED waiting to hear a title and some details.
One of your last fans

August 31, 2012 7:10 am

LOL even the actors are getting tired of the double-secret charade. Alas.

August 31, 2012 7:16 am

I wonder how they are going to promote the film at all until release day, by keeping secret everything about the film?

August 31, 2012 7:17 am

If you’re bored, simply stop denying it.

August 31, 2012 7:18 am


I love the hyperbole on the internet. You are “one of your last fans” of one of the most successful producer/directors in Hollywood. You and about 20 million other people.

Legate Damar
August 31, 2012 7:22 am

It’s pretty clearly Khan at this point. They wouldn’t be keeping it such a secret if it were an original villain, like Nero, and TOS doesn’t really have that many great villains. If he’s not Khan, the only realistic choice is Gary Mitchell, which really seems unliikely. Otherwise, he’s either Harry Mudd, which would be awesome but stupid, or one of Star Trek’s many computers pretending to be God, which has kind of been done to death.

Dirty Harry
August 31, 2012 7:23 am

In my opinion, the reason we don’t have a title yet is because it’ll be called “Khan”.

I hope I’m wrong – I’d much rather see Gary Mitchell.

Emperor Mike of the Empire
August 31, 2012 7:26 am

Simple Cumberbatch. Just Admit it is Khan and no more pretending. Lol.

August 31, 2012 7:35 am

I was thinking…what if it is an amalgam of a few villains? Like, Gary Mitchell takes the shape of Kahn or something like that?

Either way, how fun would a super mash-up Star Trek movie be? While fighting a Gorn, Kirk has to blast through the Guardian of Forever to stop the formation of the Archons who are in a battle with Trelaine. Who comes to the rescue at the end? The Klingons…who are riding giant Tribbles.

August 31, 2012 7:36 am

There is an example I always try to remember when people get upset about directors like JJ Abrams wanting to hold on to secrets. It’s from Terminator 2- John Connor ends up in a hallway early in the film stuck between Arnold’s terminator and the t-1000. It’s designed to be dramatic and we’re not supposed to know which one is the good guy and which one is the bad guy or, in fact, if either of them are good. The problem? It had leaked that Arnold was a good guy and that this new terminator was really really bad. By the time I saw it in the theater, that scene was ok but had none of the punch it could have.
We all want to know what’s in the gift boxes on our birthdays or at holidays. Peeking never makes the gift seem better when we open it.
Besides, if you haven’t figured out that Cumberbatch is playing Balok, I don’t want to spoil it for you.

August 31, 2012 7:38 am




That’s the trailer. The poster will just show a little Starfleet insignia next to a release date, under an evocative image of Chris Pine in a Quaker necktie.

August 31, 2012 7:39 am

JJ and BobOrci know that Trekmovie wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for people posting about how mad they were at Anthony or bemoaning no new news, about the next movie. They are doing their part to keep this community alive by NOT revealing anything! ;)

August 31, 2012 7:45 am

“I’m bored of denying that it’s Khan now, because people keep saying it.”

Mr. Cumberbatch, if I may….

You are so darn cute when you’re being…. “emotional”…..


August 31, 2012 7:56 am

LOL denselreport

August 31, 2012 8:06 am

What if it’s a new take on Gary 7? Or has this already been discussed?

August 31, 2012 8:07 am

That mashup brings a hysterical image in my head. Poor Klingons forcibly tied to giant Tribbles as a form of some prolonged torture.

August 31, 2012 8:08 am

Those of you telling Cumberbatch to just say it if he’s bored of hiding it must know that Abrams is not letting him, right? Not exactly his choice. As he said one of the first times someone asked him about it, he assumes he would never get another job in hollywood if he let it slip! (Which is precisely, btw, why there’s no way Urban would have been so stupid). I’m fine with waiting. I have zero doubts Cumberbatch is going to be fantastic in whatever the role is.

August 31, 2012 8:15 am
I gotta say I agree with many of my fellow trek fans, this is getting alittle ridiculous. I understand we are quite a long ways from release on this film. But to not even have a title at this point is very odd. No teaser trailer yet, very little photos, and no idea who any of the newcomers are playing. With JJ it is always a case of the mystery box being in full effect. But sometimes he can get alittle overzealous in his efforts to keep his films secret. I will be very surprised, and a tad dissapointed, if we do not have a title for the film by October. I am sure Paramount wants to start creating awareness of the film here soon, probably in the form of a teaser trailer and some promotional photos. So I doubt they will give JJ much more time. WB already has put out a teaser trailer for Man of Steel. That movie comes out around the same time as Trek 2. Superman is a far easier sell than Star Trek and WB still opted to start to create awareness a full year in advance. Of course, they had Nolan’s name on it as producer so they wanted to run a trailer during Nolan’s swan song with Batman. But even still, there is little reason why JJ needs to keep everything under a tight lid at this point. We shall see as time goes on. My hope is that Paramount and the… Read more »
August 31, 2012 8:17 am

Maybe he’s Professor Moriarty locked in the Enterprise’s computer! Irony.

Captain Smirk
August 31, 2012 8:30 am



“I am only for D’Amato.”
“Lucky D’Amato…”


August 31, 2012 8:32 am

Garth of Izar.

Red Dead Ryan
August 31, 2012 8:38 am


Old Paramount Employee
August 31, 2012 8:39 am

I hate to interrupt and stray off subject here but listen up everyone. I think I have just discovered something that probably nobody knows about, even people who are affiliated working with Star Trek at Paramount these days. I was cruising youtube looking at old movies around 1970-71 and came across a 8 minute clip from a 1971 pilot movie for a new TV series that was never sold called ‘Escape’ starring Christopher George of ‘The Rat Patrol’ fame. I decided to watch and to my amazement……….well……the original Gorn from Arena shows up. Again, I bet nobody has ever seen this before. If Anthony wants, he can do a story on this.

Watch from the beginning but watch closely at 1:25 for a treat!

August 31, 2012 8:39 am

I’m bored reading the same thing too, Cumby!

OK. Not really.

August 31, 2012 8:44 am

I have to admit, I do think we should have had a teaser trailer by now. Most summer tentpole films have a teaser out a year before release, and of course Star Trek had one nearly 18 months before release (not exactly on purpose, though). I like the fact that Abrams keeps things close to the vest, but I do think it’s a bit ridiculous that we don’t even have a title at this point.

That being said, there’s nothing in Cumberbatch’s quote that confirms he’s playing Khan, he just says he’s sick of the question. I think in all likelihood he is at this point, but that quote doesn’t necessarily confirm or deny it.

I also think it’s a shame they cast a non-Asian in the part, but maybe they can explain the change with wibbly wobbly, timey wimey.

August 31, 2012 8:48 am

Didn’t Bob Orci say a teaser was unlikely before September? Maybe I imagined that! Well, tomorrow is September anyway…

Dee - lvs moon' surface
August 31, 2012 8:53 am

Ummmm… the Charming Villain… ;-) :-)

And Chris Pine is “Jack Ryan” in NYC…

August 31, 2012 9:09 am

It’s not Khan. Never was. Isn’t going to be. They simply can’t change the universe THAT much can they? When exactly did this time line branch off anyway? (Never mind. Who cares?) Point is if it IS Khan then it will only be evidence that JJ is NOT the great visionary that some have made him out to be and instead be added to the case that he is just another guy behind a camera with an unhealthy love of lens flares with little to no original content in his tool box.

Tiberius Mudd
August 31, 2012 9:17 am

I’m following the filmmakers’ lead and forgetting about the movie altogether.

August 31, 2012 9:22 am

#4: One of his last fans? LOL. You’re being ridiculous. Abrams remains one of the most popular and successful individuals in Hollywood.

August 31, 2012 9:24 am

@26 Not only does the Gorn make a cameo, William Windom is in the clip towards the end. Windom was a busy guy.

Gorn Born
August 31, 2012 9:29 am has not done an update on the movie for awhile, so I just wanted to review what we know about the plot in case I’ve missed something.

*Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Sulu, Scotty, Chekov, and Christopher Pike are all confirmed as returning characters
*Klingons are likely involved in some capacity based on their appearance in J.J. Abrams’s video clip on the MTV Movie Awards
*Benedict Cumberbatch may or may not be playing Khan, but his character has a fight with Spock and Uhura at some point based on leaked photos
*There may or may not be some kind of volcano involved based on leaked photos
*Leonard Nimoy may or may not be making an appearance as Spock Prime based on rumors posted here
*The Abrams machine may or may not be driving us crazy with their secrecy and the lack of even a basic spoiler-free tease of what the movie is about.

Charley W
August 31, 2012 9:30 am

IF BC’s character is a previously established one (as seems to have been admitted earllier) the clues that we have are that he is human (or humanoid with minimal make-up), appears to be around the same age as Kirk, and in at least one scene is wearing one of those Starfleet tunics. The fight set may be a clue, also. (If it is Khan, I’d say the “Botany Bay” immediately.) These are saying to me: Finnegan, Garth, someone like that. It could be a minor character in TOS given a larger role and made a ‘villian’ (whatever THAT means) in this version, such as Capt Tracy, or Decker. Or an alien such as Trelaine or Q.

Also, BC was hired to fill the role, rather than it being written with him in mind, so it has to be something that they thought that he (AND Del Toro, was it?) was not just a good fit but excellent for the part.

I’m guessing that it’s going to be an original character (although the name may have been mentioned before) and is going to be yet another rogue Starship Captain.

August 31, 2012 9:37 am

Does everybody here always whine this much? Isn’t this movie out next spring/summer?

What I got from this is that he’s sick of media asking, thinking they’ll get him to slip up and they’ll get an exclusive. Like they actually give a crap. Some of these news sites say Cumberbatch is ‘rumored to play Klingon villain Khan.”

August 31, 2012 9:37 am

26. Old Paramount Employee – August 31, 2012

“Watch from the beginning …..”


Thank you for the link!

August 31, 2012 9:53 am

TrekWeb had reported this as being ‘The confirmation of Khan.’ To me it doesn’t really reveal anything. By the way he worded the statement, he could either be playing Khan or another iconic villain.

August 31, 2012 10:00 am

People say that Alice Eve is Carol Marcus if Cumberbatch is Khan. Um, isn’t it more likely that Eve is McGivers?

Gary S
August 31, 2012 10:03 am

#39 it should be noted that quite a few people at Trekweb didnt buy this as “confirmation”.

August 31, 2012 10:04 am

13 totally! have always hated that I knew Arnold was good.

Infinite Monkeys Typing
August 31, 2012 10:11 am

@ #18: “What if it’s a new take on Gary 7?”

For that matter, it could be an hew take on Gary Mitchell. Maybe the title is “Where no Man has Gone Before”, and features Gary Mitchell…

BUT maybe the story is NOT the same as the TV episode of the same name.

August 31, 2012 10:12 am

ALL IN….it’s Finnegan (evil Finnegan gone wrong)

Infinite Monkeys Typing
August 31, 2012 10:14 am

…As for the secrecy:

The film won’t be out for another nine months or so. I really don’t expect to hear much about it yet. If they decide to give us some early information, then fine, However, I don’t think they need to do so this early in the game.

August 31, 2012 10:23 am

I don’t really mind the secrecy, but would it hurt to have a teaser poster and the title of the fracking film already?

August 31, 2012 10:26 am

Give the guys a break. I for one, would rather know absolutely nothing about the movie until I’m sitting in the theater and the lights go down. I mean, we’re all going to see it anyway, right? Are any spoilers ahead of time going to make us more or less likely to see it? The marketing needs to be targeted at the non-die-hard-Trek base anyway, continuing the successful efforts of the first film to finally get the masses interested in Trek.

I am definitely curious about the title though. Seems like an almost unsolvable problem. How do you keep the words “Star Trek” in the title without making it a long hyphen-ated, colon:ated mess? But if you go the “Dark Knight” route, and try to re-brand around another title, you have to come up with something REALLY smart. And I haven’t seen one good suggestion yet on this one.

Ralph Pinheiro
August 31, 2012 10:26 am

Mr. Bob Orci, have you already decided about the title of the movie?

August 31, 2012 10:31 am


At this point, I think the next logical step in the Veil of Absolute Secrecy is for Abrams, Orci et al to deny that a movie is even being made. Maybe we’ll even get an “anti-trailer”…starting out “Not coming soon from Bad Robot…”


Gotta tell ya, that notion isn’t crazy in my book.

Ralph Pinheiro
August 31, 2012 10:33 am

Mr. Bob Orci, and Giacchino’s composition work to Star Trek XII? Did he finish?