Cumberbatch Contrasts His Harrison With McDowell’s Soran + Talks Trekkie Desire For Spoilers

Another interview with Star Trek Into Darkness bad guy actor Benedict Cumberbatch where he talks about his role as John Harrison and even contrasts it with Malcolm McDowell’s role in Star Trek Generations. He also weighs in on Trekkie’s desire for movie details, comparing it to kid’s wanting more candy. Get the details below


Cumberbatch contrasts His John Harrison with McDowell’s Soran

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly Star Trek Into Darkness bad guy Benedict Cumberbatch described his character as "a one-man weapon of mass destruction, a terrorist with a cause.” He also contrasted his role with one of his acting heroes Malcolm McDowell, who in 1994 played Dr. Tolian Soran in Star Trek: Generations

“What actors like [McDowell] do is resist the mustache twirling,” Cumberbatch said. “It’s very easy to come off as just crazy [in the villain role] and I tried with this role to look for something unsettling and investigative. He is a great story, my character. I can’t say who the guy is but his story has some amazing — and starkly modern — parables. And best of all, it’s been so much fun. Playing the not-good-guy is really fun. But that’s all I can say.”

Cumberbatch (R) admires McDowell’s Soran in Generations (L)

Cumberbatch also weighed in on director JJ Abrams well-known secrecy and how it relates to Star Trek fans…

“Mystique is rare now, isn’t it? There aren’t that many enigmas in this modern world,” Cumberbatch said. “Myself, I quite enjoyed seeing Super 8 and not knowing the story and then being mesmerized by it … [but] we live in the modern world, which is a place of oversaturation and now people, especially Trekkies, want to know everything before they witness it themselves. It’s strange to me. I think of it as a kid having a box of chocolates and not knowing what’s good for them. They eat three and they keep eating as they get sick… and the candy is gone.”

Cumberbatch compares Trekkie desire for spoilers to kids wanting candy

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I can understand a degree of secrecy. I think they’ve managed the right mix of secrecy and publicity.


I’m not candy 1st?

Actually my Trek is not candy- It’s knowledge

I notice “can’t say who the guy is”…

Hiding something are we, dear Benedict?

‘I can’t say who the guy is’

Of course you can. He’s John Harrison, right? There’s nothing more to add, unless he’s really playing Khan. I’d rather market my film with Khan, whom everyone knows (colloquially) than make up some character to be the ultimate test for our heroes: I’m sure JJ agrees….

Trek is not candy. It’s far more addicting . . . like Heroin . . . . or tobacco…

— Harry

#4. Yes.. I noticed that too. “I can’t say who the guy is”. That seems to imply that he is someone other than just John Harrison. Someone we already know maybe…


You know, that is an odd choice of words for him to use. If he really is John Harrison, then why not say John Harrison?


“…they keep eating as they get sick, and the candy is gone.” Such a good metaphor for spoiler-obsessiveness.

‘I can’t say who the guy is’

Not “who”… but “what” this guy is… there’s your ? to be answered…

Right Bob Orci?!

Plus who Peter Weller is :)

I just realized this movie, that I’ve patiently waited so long for, is just around the corner. I mean, it was just Halloween, right?

…the month of May will be on us in no time! I love the secrecy, love the surprise and appreciate the efforts of the whole Bad Robot team to make my Christmas morning, in May, just a little more exciting! Looking forward to the gradually increasing roll-out of info and seeing the publicity machine get up to full speed in the months ahead.

‘Not knowing what’s good for them.’ Really? Everyone consumes their popular media in a different way. I read all the spoilers, I look at the last chapter first, because as I watch or read something, I enjoy knowing what is going to happen, how it all comes together, and how it was done. Spoilers don’t seem to lessen my enjoyment of the finished product at all, any more than surprises increase it.

By all means, filmmakers, keep things secret because you’re proud of them and want people to see them in a complete form first. It’s absolutely your right! Just don’t patronize me – as I feel I have been, a bit – by telling me you know what’s good for me and you know how I will or will not enjoy something. That’s not a good way to defend your spoiler policies.

Sooo can’t wait for this!

C’mon, people. “I can’t say who the guy is” is describing his personality/story, etc., not his ‘name’. This is an actor discussing the character, the role. He’s John Harrison.

What if he is Harrison and Peter Weller is Khan… Just thinking.

Harrison dies in the end, but accomplishes his goal of awakening Khan?


@14 – Spock

“C’mon, people. “I can’t say who the guy is” is describing his personality/story, etc., not his ‘name’. This is an actor discussing the character, the role. He’s John Harrison.”


This. That’s how I read it, anyways. He can’t say anything about his character’s backstory, his motives, etc. He can’t say what his purpose in the movie is.

Not that this will stop all you conspiracy theorists from salivating…

As much as I like to speculate, I do want some secrecy in regards to plot. Now, if the guys have something like a parallel universe as the result of time travel then I want to know that. Throwing out a line like “alternate reality” was not good enough since many Trekkers viewed time travel like “The City On the Edge of Forever.”

Still, will continue to speculate. Come on Benedict you play Sherlock. It’s fun. And by the way, knowing that Bane and Catwoman were in The Dark Knight Rises did not stop me from seeing it. Twice. Once at a regular theater and the second time at IMAX. Regardless, can’t wait for the day when the movie opens.

How do you feel about bit size candies? like: Who is Peter Weller paying???

I agree with spike, I bet John Harrison, is Harrison! And in the trailer there is a quick scene with two men walking out of a room with stasis pods!!

I wonder if anyone out there STILL believes he’s playing Khan…. ;-P

@20 Kirk Nelson… Paying or playing cause Peter Weller is playing Khan, brother..


Peter Weller is Khan. He’s revealed at the end of the movie. It’s a set-up for the third film.

Don’t all terrorists have causes? Gotta be careful with the Malcolm McDowell comparisons, as Soren was completely driven by self interest…

Flaming nacelles forever… Exactly what I’m thinking, it’ll end and then maybe after credits, it will show the cryogenic tubes and in the window will be Peter Weller “Khan” and he will open his eyes, the end. They say the movies will be a trilogy, how best to end it other the. With Kirks greatest e enemy. Just my two cents…. Sorry Bob Orci ;-)

Wish I could edit posts , then with, I meant to say. Sorry

McDowell is a great actor but his turn in generations was so bad.

I hope Cumberbach’s John Harrison is leagues better than that.

Yep, Peter Weller is a dead ringer for Ricardo Montalban, how could anyone have missed that.

Only Cumberbatch can get away with calling Trekkies spoiled children. Maybe it’s more than we all grew up with Trek on TV every week, and now having to wait 4 years between new Trek is kinda rough. I guess he’d say “suck it up”!


Weller plays a new character created by Orci. He cannot be Khan, unless Orci lied, and he said he didn’t.

Harrison is a character from TOS canon. Again unless Orci is lying, and he said he didn’t, then Harrison must have a direct canon connection. Therefore Harrison is an alias, or referenced in TOS canon in some respect, since he’s obviously not a named character.

I don’t care, I still want my Trek chocolates NOW !!!!

“…… and now people, especially Trekkies, want to know everything before they witness it themselves. It’s strange to me. I think of it as a kid having a box of chocolates and not knowing what’s good for them. They eat three and they keep eating as they get sick… and the candy is gone.”


This statement by Mr. Cumberbatch is a clue…..

Benedict Cumberbatch as…Trek’s….”Khandyman” ?

….Only in HollywoOd….



Ron Veto played Technician First Class Harrison in a bunch of TOS episodes, including “Space Seed”:

And of course there was William B. Harrison, Flight Officer of the doomed SS Beagle crew in TOS “Bread and Circuses”:

Isn’t Peter Weller a bit older than a TOS era Ricardo Montalban? I’m not seeing Khan.

Guys, obviously Orci’s “one lie” was when he said that Cumberbatch is playing a character from canon.

Otherwise, he’s already given away the fact that John Harrison is an alias.

Oh, the mind games they’re playing with us…

@34 Johnny,

Orci’s one lie was about lying. Nothing else. He’s already set the record straight.

#33. chaz root

And there was a Dr. Harrison in Pathology in THE NAKED TIME.

You know I really don’t understand why no one is even considering Kodos!
Think about it. Think about the horrific event that took place before the eyes of a young man, a boy even; the massacre of 4000 people at the hands of one man in the name of survival and the greater good. Extreme circumstances do call for extreme measures. Still an extraordinarily charismatic and manipulative man who can bring men and women so completely under his spell and twist their logic to such a degree that they would go along with whatever he says even if it means the murder of their own friends and family.
And that catastrophe must have had such an effect on the forming of our captain Kirk, at such a young age. And this Kirk hasn’t had that, at least not to our knowledge. And it’s perfect, because in TOS Kodos is just a dread inducing name of the times past, a villain that has come and gone and has had his mark in the history of our heroes lives, but has never been explored in any depth. We don’t even know his real name, only that he chose Kodos when he seized power on Tarsus IV and later Karidian as a fugitive on the run. So why can’t it be John Harrison?
If they bring Khan back, it’s always going to be in the shadow of the original, no matter how good their version might be. But with Kodos they have a chance to make history. And in the course of it, make Kirk the man he later became.
There needn’t have been a Tarsus IV desolation in this reality. But Kodos was a driven man, willing and able to make the hardest choices for what he perceived as the right reasons. A man in whose eyes the good of the people and their continued existence warranted the slaughter of so many innocents, selected by his own misguided ideas of eugenics, someone capable of rallying others to his cause to such an extent as to turn them against their own. And that is a man who will leave his mark in history regardless of the reality he is in. Who’s to say under different circumstances with the same goals at heart he would not commit even greater atrocities, destroying entire cities and who knows what else all for the sake of the people and in their name.
Maybe the villain is Khan or someone else and my logic is completely flawed, no matter. I do think he would make a great and complex villain. I’m sure whoever it turns out to be, he would be better than all our expectation. Benedict Cumberbatch is playing him after all.

#24 but they could have found a far better actor to play Khan. Javier Bardem would have been/would be magnificent. Would probably have bested Ricardo.

I wish this whole affair wasn’t so….. Cumberbatch centric.

You’d think he was the main character, he acts like he invented Star Trek or something.
No offense to his fans.
But he is just a guest appearance, the movie is not about him, please do not make it all about him.

And I hope that Bones and the medical bay get some love, make him important, make his relationship to Kirk and Spock important. Don’t dumb him down to running around after Kirk and Spock and shooting. That’s what background redshirt security characters are for, not important people.


I feel exactly the same as you! Knowing spoilers never dampens my enjoyment of a movie!

He means he can’t say what makes him tick, his motivation.
wait for it…….

Makes him “the guy he is.”
If he tells you his motivation and MO he has let the cat out of the bag.
really wish people would quit reading these supposed clues as confirmation of Khan when its clearly NOT.

It’s all about marketing. If you know the ins and out six months before, would you still be all that keen to see it once it finally appears, or will it seem like old hat? In the week the film appears its every secret will be all over the net.

I quite like having someting to look forward to, myself. :}

It’s so funny how most of the comments here prove Cumberbatch’s candy theory right :D

“Benedict Cumberbatch as…Trek’s….’Khandyman’ ?
….Only in HollywoOd….”


What, you thought Tony Todd was the only actor capable of portraying “him” ?!

You ain’t seen nothing yet!!!


Augment but not Khan. It’s that simple.

It a pity we cant set out trail of Jelly Babies and see how many stagnating Khan fans we can jam into a tardis and then time travel there ass back to the 60s. Giuve them a couple of groundhogs for pets a let them relive the past and the old been there done that ideas that they seem so eager to participate in. Youve had Star Trek for over 47 years the supports been great but sorry my friend time to moove on and welcome a new generation to Star Trek. (new/next generation why does that sound familiar) I dont want my Star Trek to live in the 1960 or early 80s anymore Mr Wizard. I want my Star Trek with JJ juice theres nothing sexier than someone or something that keeps its secrets and holds the attention of there audience with the alure of the unknown and promises of adventure. Be gratefull someone is making the effort to entertain you with a new interpritation of something you seem to think is your property, it isnt. Theres plenty of fan made star trek. Go and watch that and guive them a hard time about Khan. there living in the 1970s with Phase 2.

Speaking about candy….I wonder if my suggestion to include the word “sugarplum” into the script of the sequel, has been considered…

…Mmmmmmm….candy….small round piece of sugary candy….
June is fast approaching……I will find out soon enough….


I’d wager that Weller is playing one of the Klingon speaking roles. He does have a terrific voice, which i think sounds similar to Michael Ansara’s ‘Kang.’ I don’t really see him playing a human role as he’s already appeared as such before.

“…..I don’t really see him playing a human role as he’s already appeared as such before.”

As I understand it, he won’t be wearing any “prosthetics”:

“No. do I look like an alien to you? No man. Let me put it this way. I have my own ship”

# 24 and # 26

Peter Weller is 65 years old.
No offense to the actor (whom I loved in Robocop and Buckaroo Banzai) but he’s just a bit long in the tooth to be playing a ‘fresh from the Botany Bay’ Khan (not to mention the entirely wrong ethnic type).

I don’t deny the producers might do Khan in a third movie (hope not, but it’s possible), but I doubt very much Weller (at his age) will be playing him. Remember that Montalban was only in his mid-40s when he first played Khan, and about 61 or so when he reprised the role in TWOK (which was fifteen years after TOS’ Space Seed). So casting issues aside, the math doesn’t work, either….

But at least the issue of whether Cumberbatch is playing Khan or not seems to be (finally) put to bed (or cryosleep) once and for all. At any rate, I was really hoping that Cumberbatch’s character would be an original one. The whole ‘it’s a canon character’ misdirection is what threw me (and everyone else apparently).

Here’s to new characters and fresh ideas! ;-)