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Cumberbatch’s Star Trek Villain Is ‘Frightening and Cool,’ Abrams Says

There is plenty of mystery surrounding Star Trek Into Darkness, and director J.J. Abrams plans to keep it that way. Although the identities of the characters played by Alice Eve and Benedict Cumberbatch have been revealed, they don’t tell us much about who they actually are in the greater Star Trek mythology, and that’s entirely intentional. In fact, Abrams has no plans of spoiling who Cumberbatch is portraying before Star Trek Into Darkness comes out. However, he will admit that the Sherlock star makes a great villain.

“The character that Benedict plays, he brings such an incredible power to it. His voice alone is unbelievable. I actually as a joke should have just had him read the lunch menu in one scene just to sort of see,” Abrams told MTV News. “He makes everything sound great. He brings such a sort of force to it that I think that when you see the movie, all speculation aside, will be really compelling not because of any connection to anything past, but because of who he is and what he brings to it.”

Don’t expect that the mystery of Cumberbatch’s character will be resolved once the movie starts, either. Abrams has made a big deal that he doesn’t want anyone to know much about John Harrison before the film is released, and he says the character’s motivations won’t be evident from the get-go.

“Not just his backstory, but his agenda, his plan, his secret, all of that I think is what, for me at least, is what makes him a frightening and cool villain,” he said. “But also, a real villain when they’re not just conventional angry, vengeful types don’t see themselves as the bad guy. They’re the good guy, they’ve got a complete rational and motivation. So I think, true to form, the character that Benedict plays has an absolute sense of right and wrong.”

As for the scene in the Japanese announcement trailer that appears reminiscent of a similar one in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Abrams is staying mum on the subject. He did admit that Star Trek Into Darkness is made to stand on its own, even if it does have nods to other Star Trek properties.

“This movie was not made for Star Trek fans, it was made for movie fans, but I think if you’re a Star Trek fan you’re going to be really happy,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff in here for you. But we couldn’t just make the movie only for fans of Star Trek. The thing that I love also is that we didn’t even make it for fans of the first film that we did.”

He continued, “A lot of sequels I’ve seen tend to assume that you love the characters and know them really well and kind of get off in the beginning of the movie to a fast start where you don’t really have any sense of sort of investing in the characters in the beginning. So we sort of tried to treat this as a movie that works on its own. Certainly it’s a sequel, certainly if you’ve seen the first movie, great, [but] you don’t have to have seen the first film. This movie is sort of its own thing, and there are definitely nods to prior Trek lore in the film.”

Opening May 17, Star Trek Into Darkness also stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood and Peter Weller.

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