Benedict Cumberbatch has scored the villain role in J.J. Abrams’ untitled Star Trek sequel following several months of big names being tossed around to land the role, per Variety.
Cumberbatch, a British actor, is best known for his portrayal of the title character in BBC’s series Sherlock Holmes. Recently he’s been making waves in American cinema, appearing in Oscar hopefuls Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Steven Spielberg’s War Horse.
The villain role in Star Trek 2 was originally linked to Benicio Del Toro whom Abrams had reportedly courted back in October and early November. Contract negotiations between the star and studio Paramount broke down, leading to Edgar Ramirez (Carlos) earning a screen test last month.
Abrams and Paramount have been hush-hush as to the villain’s name. Early rumors last year suggested the villain would be Khan and the potential casting of Del Toro or Ramirez backed them up. With Cumberbatch landing the gig, some new doubt has been cast on the Khan rumors despite some physical resemblance between the actor and the original Khan, Ricardo Montalban.
Cumberbatch joins fellow British actors Noel Clarke and Alice Eve as newcomers on the Star Trek 2 cast. Also joining the cast is Peter Weller of Robocop fame.
Star Trek 2 set constructions was completed prior to Christmas with shooting scheduled to begin later this month. Abrams is directing from a script by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof. All the Enterprise cast members from the first Abrams Star Trek are expected to return including Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho and Anton Yelchin.
Look for Star Trek 2 in theaters on May 17, 2013.