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Is Benedict Cumberbatch the Villain in ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’?

The secret’s out on J.J. Abrams and Benedict Cumberbatch. No, not the Khan conspiracy — the other secret.

At the very least, a juicy new rumor is making the rounds this week about Cumberbatch reteaming with Abrams for Star Wars: Episode VII. was first with the Cumberbatch rumor, with chiming in with a few details about the possible role:

“I’ve heard the role he’s up for is that of a bad guy, almost certainly a Sith. And it’s a major role, one that will continue throughout the whole new trilogy.”

According to the report, Star Wars is the reason why Cumberbatch dropped out of Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak late last month.

There’s absolutely no confirmation on Cumberbatch’s role in Star Wars, but it’s not the world’s biggest surprise, considering the actor’s previous collaboration with Abrams, as well as his own fondness for the franchise.

“They were a huge part of my background, and my upbringing,” Cumberbatch told Total Film earlier this year about his affection for Star Wars. “I was much more connected to [Star Wars] as a kid, in the way that a lot of kids are because it’s immediate storytelling, very simply – a beautifully, outrageously simple narrative in a way – and a wonderful three-act melodrama, opera. And I loved them. I really, really loved those films and I always wanted to be Han Solo.”

Star Wars: Episode VII is reportedly eyeing a Christmas 2015 release.


  • andrew11

    I suffered through the atrocious Into Darkness just to watch Cumberbatch as the villain. I’ll watch him in anything!

    Jeez, I just realized I sound like a fanboy…

    Still, I would much rather see him do something more substantial than years and years of forgettable franchise work.

  • Zach

    And, just like that, all hope that I had for the new Star Wars trilogy has vanished.

    Seriously, after Into Darkness, why would this guy keep getting work?

  • Drew_Melbourne

    Because he’s a widely admired actor who’s been great in a number of different TV series, plays, and movies?

  • bjwanlund

    Is Thrawn a Sith lord? Seems to me to be the only way Palpatine could’ve stood Thrawn being a nonhuman, because Palpatine was notorious for having a grand dislike (even hatred in many cases) for nonhumans. Would also explain how Thrawn knew the New Republic’s plans to the ink, if you read that entire trilogy by Tim Zahn. I’ll watch it because Cumberbatch was the ONLY good part of Into Darkness. The rest of that movie was absolutely atrocious.

  • Zach

    Maybe if any of that had been present in Star Trek: Into Darkness the movie wouldn’t have been complete crap.

  • BeastieRunner

    I guess we can expect more JJ Trekkers.

  • Kyle Rayner

    All of the Emperor hatred towards non-human species is developed in the expanded universe and may not necessarily have an effect on the new trilogy. Although when you look at who was running things for the Empire in the original trilogy, there weren’t many aliens but it was never stated outright and is not necessarily canon. Thrawn was not Sith. He was a Chiss.

  • bjwanlund

    I’m not talking about Sith as an alien race. This is well beyond where the Sith were as an alien race. I’m talking about the Sith as Palpatine and Vader were in the original trilogy, i.e. dark-side Jedi. That kind of Sith can be human, or Chiss, or whatever. That’s the version of Sith I was talking about. Sorry I didn’t make that clear enough.

  • Drew_Melbourne

    I can’t follow your trolling. If you thought that ST:ID was complete crap, then surely the fact that JJ Abrams is directing SW7 should have already killed your hope in the project. Instead, you’re focused on a single actor who was one of the better parts of the movie.

    I’m not telling you to like ST:ID (it was pretty mediocre) or to be excited about SW7, but your criteria for how you determine what’s going to be good and bad seem… flawed.

  • lollolo

    It almost seems like all these guys hang out together and decide to make a movie. Just picture them at lunch one day.
    “Hey, man, I’m making a Star Wars for those Disney people. Crazy, huh.”
    “Yeah, but you just made a Star TREK movie. That’s weird.”
    “Oh yeah, dude. They just drove a dump truck of cash up to my house. Hey. I got an idea, why don’t you be the villain in this one, too. It’ll save me time.”
    “Sure, whatever man. Sounds alright.”

  • Zach

    I knew the fanboys would come out of the woodwork.

    First of all, just because someone disagrees with you does not mean they’re trolling.

    Second of all, JJ Abrams has done a lot of stuff that I’ve liked, including his first Star Trek movie and Super 8. Likewise, none of what went wrong in STID made it look like it was his first time directing.

    To contrast, I haven’t seen Benedict Cumberbatch in any role that I would rate better than “okay” or “serviceable.” And his performance in STID was by far one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen. He would fit right in among the cast of Twilight or The Room or Birdemic. It was a performance below the level of a tree in a kindergarten play. It was, in short, a much worse a job at acting than Abrams’ job writing or directing.

    And movies like this really rely on the villain. It wasn’t Luke that made the original Star Wars so popular.

  • Drew_Melbourne

    Ha! Yes, my post pointing out that ST:ID was mediocre is obviously fanboy ranting. Because fanboy’s are always expressing reasonable, muted opinions!

    Of course, JJ Abrams has done good work. Of course, Benedict Cumberbatch has done good work. If you think he was really bad in ST:ID that’s certainly your right to have that opinion. If he’s what ruined ST:ID for you, then I have no doubt that he will ruin SW7 for you too, regardless of the quality of his performance.

    (The good news for you is that BC hasn’t been officially cast yet, so there’s still a possibility that he won’t be in the movie at all.)

  • oh_no_again

    Watch Sherlock: amazing show. Cumberbatch was the only reason I enjoyed ST:ID. It wasn’t that great of a movie and to see Cumberbatch reduced to squeezing peoples heads while screaming was really depressing. He’ll do awesome in SW7 if this rumor turns out to be true.

  • James Dorwart

    In the original Zahn trilogy, it is stated that Thrawn was a general during the Old Republic. When Palps took over, he sent him on a wild goose chase into the Unknown Region (Chiss space included) to be rid of him. By the time Thrawn heard of the Palps “cannonball special” down the reactor (why was that in his throne room anyway) it was several years past the event…. Zahn clearly states Palps was a xenophobe….

  • Zach

    I saw Sherlock. I give the show a “decent” and his performance an “okay.”

  • Zach

    Your insistence that Benedict’s beyond amateurish performance in STID was the best part of the movie is a sign of fanboyism. You can be a fanboy of an actor, you know. You should really watch the Twilight movies, I feel you’ll love the acting in it. Benedict Cumberbatch clearly based his Khan on Robert Pattinson’s Edward.

    If you wanted to even try to change my mind on his acting ability, the key is to recommend things that he was good in instead of loudly insisting that his shitty performance in STID was good. Not that your opinion holds a lot of weight right now, considering your tastes so far.

  • Josh Wray

    He’d make a great Grand Admiral Thrawn!