Exclusive: Sherlock Star Benedict Cumberbatch Cast As Star Trek Sequel Villain

UPDATED: The Star Trek sequel starts shooting in just a couple of weeks and the team behind the film are busy casting roles for the film. TrekMovie has exclusively learned that this week JJ Abrams and his team have cast British actor (and Sherlock star) Benedict Cumberbatch for a major role in the film. UPDATE: Cumberbatch will be playing the villain.


UPDATE 2: Sherlock star Cumberbatch cast as Star Trek villain

TrekMovie has learned Benedict Cumberbatch, star of the hit BBC series Sherlock, has been tapped to play a major role in the 2013 Star Trek sequel.

Following the first posting of this article Variety confirmed the TrekMovie report and also reported that Cumberbatch will be playing the villain. TrekMovie has followed up and confirmed this report as well.

JJ Abrams and his team originally were considering Benicio Del Toro for the role of the villain, but talks broke down about a month ago. Following that the team began looking at other actors including Edgar Ramirez. A source tells TrekMovie that Cumberbatch "blew them all away" with his audition.

Benedict Cumberbatch to play villain in 2013 Star Trek sequel

The 36 year-old English actor has a TV and film career that dates back a decade, but he is best known for his critically-acclaimed role as the star of Sherlock, the new BBC series created by Steven Moffat (Doctor Who) which brings Sherlock Holmes into a modern setting. Cumberbatch received his third BAFTA nomination and also won a Broadcasting Press Award and a UK National Television Award for his work in Sherlock. In 2006 he was given accolades (including a BAFTA nomination) for playing physicist Stephen Hawking in the BBC biopic Hawking. Indicating his rising star, British GQ Magazine named Cumberbatch actor of the year for 2011. 

Cumberbatch has also been picking up more film work recently. He has roles in the new Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse (both currently in theaters). He is also providing the voice and motion-capture for Smaug the dragon in Peter Jackson’s forthcoming Hobbit films.   

Here is a scene featuring Cumberbatch from the second season of Sherlock (which premiered on the BBC last Sunday).

And here he is in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy.

The Star Trek sequel is slated to begin shooting on January 15th and will be released May 17, 2013. Stay tuned to TrekMovie for all the news related to this project.

UPDATE 1: Little more info and Lindelof on Cumberbatch

Apparently TrekMovie isn’t the only outlet that got word of the casting of Cumberbatch. Deadline is also reporting the casting as an "exclusive" tonight. Their reporting also that it is a "lead role" with no word on "whether he’ll be a hero or villain."

Two days ago Star Trek sequel co-writer/producer Damon Lindelof sent out a tweet saying that "something big" had just happened with the Star Trek movie. Tonight Lindelof tweeted again, pointing to the Cumberbatch casting article with a note saying "That is the cool thing to which I referred? #BoldlyGo"

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

And again… so much for the “big name to draw in international audiences” idea.

Actually i like benedict quite a bit in Sherlock. Like this.

Can anyone say LAZAROUS?

Kirk and Crew encounter Sherlock Holmes in the sequel. :)

Come on enough with not telling us what roles these people have been cast as. It doesnt ruin your movie to tell people what role these peoples are playing.

Well he’s definitely not Khan. Lol

1. Not sure what you’re implying. I don’t really want to see someone like Tom Cruise in a Star Trek movie. Benedict Cumberbatch is a good actor. That’s what counts.

1. Not sure what you’re implying. I don’t really want to see someone like Tom Cruise in a Star Trek movie. Benedict Cumberbatch is a good actor. That’s what counts.


Sorry for double post…stupid phone.

OMG!!! I’m seriously having a heart attack right now, I love him!!!! I don’t think I can handle this movie. I might cry.


Yeah, but they’re not going to tell us who Edgar Ramirez is playing, either. This way it just looks like policy for everybody.

And I do remember them revealing the character names when they cast the last movie.

Cumberpatch is an outstanding actor; his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes is amazing as he successfully retains all of the character’s classic traits while simultaneously redefining him for the 21st century.

While he is pretty much an unknown commodity here in the USA, I’m sure he has a pretty healthy following in England and Europe thanks to Holmes.

It would have been nice to have a BIG NAME star, but it is also heartening to see Abrams signing good actors for significant parts.

7… I don’t know him from Adam, but after Trek 2009 under-performed overseas there was a ton of “the next movie will have a big name to draw in the international audiences” from those ‘in the know’.

Anthony just curious are you saying Deadline and Variety are using TrekMovie as their source because they aren’t mentioning that they got this news from TrekMovie.com. Variety says he is the main villian.


@Thorny Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the biggest names in England at the moment. Both figuratively and literally. It will certainly draw in UK audiences.

The gods are in their respective heavens, and all is all right with all the worlds.

Meanwhile, there’s no such thing as too much geeking out.

Thorny, gotcha. Check out Sherlock. It’s quite well done and incredibly well written. It currently streams on Netflix.

Now this is what I call unexpected casting. Lol.

I’ve posted this here before – this is who they should have cast as Spock…


I wonder how he would do up against The Doctor?

I can so see him playing Trelane

Well this should put the Khan rumors to bed.

Great casting. Excited for what I’m sure for what will be near daily updates once filming starts!

Is this the Sherlock Simon Pegg was just talking about missing? Now he’ll get to meet him!! How cool is that?!:) Anyway,this so awesome! As I said before,spoil me rotten!! :)

@26 “Is this the Sherlock Simon Pegg was just talking about missing?”

Makes you wonder if Pegg was trying to give us a clue?

Very Cool. As other have said here, He is excellent as Holmes. I love Conan Doyle and Cumberbatches version is very true to Conan Doyle’s text. This could be very good for Star Trek.

English Actors are always the best.. This guy is going to explode after Trek!

Oh wow! Ok, now I’ve got very high expectations about the villain. They had better not waste Cumberbatch.

This answers a couple questions:
–If a Botany Bay genetic superman other than Khan was awakened first…. one who died in the prime universe, or even Joachim… how would it have played out? (“Don’t wake up Khan, he’s a pain in the arse.”)

–What would have Chancellor Gorkon been like during the 2260’s? What actor could mimic a young David Warner reasonably?

–What was Garth of Izar like around 2258 before his accident? Or, if his accident didn’t happen.

–What if the Romulans in the altered universe respond in the after-Nero with a mission of “outreach” led by a younger Commander who vaguely reminds us of a slightly younger version of Sarek?

I see Benedict with pointed ears easily. Klingon ridges, not so much, although as young Commander Gorkon…. Captain Garth, sure. A different superman, sure.

Make it so! Boldly go! :)

Seriously? Another snooty Brit. Fantastic. Who’s he gonna play? Harry Mudd’s nephew? Sorry to say, the more I see of the casting, the less confidence I have in this movie. And whoever the villain is supposed to be, they were clearly going after an actor of latin descent until now, so are they “adjusting” or doing a re-write to accomodate the change in the ethnicity of the character or will Mr. Cumberpatch be doing his best attempt at a Ricardo Montalban impression?

number 12 thats the point i am getting at tell us allready who all of these actors they are casting are playing. I mean come on allready, you didnt see the producers of the Hobbit or Superman not saying who the actors they cast .no pretty much as soon as they were cast their parts were revealed

They said right away Costner was playing Johnathan Kent, they said right away that Laurence Fishburne was Perry White, and that Russel Crowe was playing Jor El after they signed him.

same goes for upcoming movies like spiderman.

it doesnt spoil the movie saying what supporting characters they have been cast as.

Holy Crap this is a great casting coup.


Simon Pegg obviously knew about this casting when he tweeted the other day. What a clever little hint!

#34… I think that the difference is that revealing a role in the new Star Trek movie could very well reveal a major plot point for the film. Revealing who is cast in the main Superman roles (or the primary Trek roles in the last movie for that matter) doesn’t tell us too much about the plot. Just my observation


I’m sure that Simon Pegg will be thrilled- he was bemoaning his inability to watch “Sherlock” while in the US- BBC’s online channel is blocked in the US.

@34 the difference is: they all play characters that are more or less a given in those franchises.
no one is surprised if pa kent turns up in a superman movie. or perry white.
but with star trek antagonists, even if they don’t use new, original villains, they (the producers) have the elements of surprise on their side. the same applies to most of the other characters than the main crew.

My excitement level for this movie just shot up to 200%!

Benedict Cumberbatch is currently cast as “Voice of Smaug” in what I presume will be the second “Hobbit” film. Funny, as IMDB first listed Nimoy in that role.

Sounds intriguing.

Cumberbatch will also voice the Necromancer in “The Hobbit,” which may make an appearance in the first film. The Necromancer is Sauron in another form.

painted blue, it looks Andorian.

#34 I agree. I think Abrams takes the secrecy thing way too far.

#38, 41 But, Abrams does that with just about all the roles. He may be just a control freak.

PLEASE BENEDICT TAKE A BREAK, he’s just finished season two SHERLOCK, then filmed a miniseries Parade’s End, then off to NZ for Hobbit, then a film in Ireland. T T But I will see this movie if he’s in it.

# 33 Really? Another Snooty Brit? Have you even watched him in other rolls. I am thrilled. Benedict Cumberbatch is brilliant actor. I think he will be fantastic.

HEAD EXPLODES!! This is fantastic news! Benedict Cumberbatch is an absolutely *brilliant* actor, and he eats up scenes and screens as few others can do. Given the right story, I predict he’ll be as iconic and remembered as fondly to Trek fans as Montalban’s Khan was. This casting is really quite a coup.

p.s. I’m not saying he’s Khan
p.p.s. Please stop writing “Cumberpatch”

Benedict Cumberbatch is an amazing actor! He’s going to be fantastic in this film. I think the poor man needs a break considering all of the work he is doing right now. I was blown away with the newest episode of Sherlock.

To people saying “This man is going to blow up after ST” well, he’s already been a star to many of us who have followed his career. If anything, I’m glad more people will be exposed to Cumberbatch’s amazing acting chops.