‘Star Wars: Episode 7′ Cast Adds Benedict Cumberbatch? [Updated]

Published 2 years ago by , Updated September 3rd, 2013 at 1:58 pm,

Sherlock BBC Season 4 Star Wars: Episode 7 Cast Adds Benedict Cumberbatch? [Updated]

It wasn’t long after J.J. Abrams had been confirmed to direct Star Wars: Episode VII that rumors began to circulate, with regard to the possibility that select cast members from his Star Trek movies will join him in a galaxy far, far away. One of the more popular options is Benedict Cumberbatch, as the fan-favorite star of the BBC’s Sherlock television mini-series (and the antagonist in Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness) is an outspoken fanboy of George Lucas’ intergalactic saga.

We’re now hearing that Cumberbatch may, in fact, be the first new addition to the Episode VII cast, which also includes returning Star Wars players Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill (though they are technically unconfirmed for the time being). Moreover, there are a few reasons to think that the latest Episode VII rumor is more than all smoke and no fire, unlike the recent online rumblings about Zac Efron and Ryan Gosling having been offered roles.

For one, Film Chronicles – the site responsible for breaking this story – refers to Cumberbatch being onboard for Episode VII, but without using the word “rumor” as a crutch in case their source turns out to be incorrect. As Bleeding Cool (which picked up the story earlier) points out, Film Chronicles “focus almost exclusively on reviews, interviews and well-sourced content rather than speculation or rumors” – meaning, if the site is willing to take a leap of faith this big, then it’s presumably because the Film Chronicles staff has good reason to believe that the story will pan out.

Moreover, it was just under two weeks ago (at the time of writing this) that Cumberbatch departed director Guillermo del Toro’s Gothic haunted house feature Crimson Peak – a project that will be in production at the same time as Episode VII – with no official reason being offered, with regard to why Cumberbatch had suddenly dropped out (hint, hint). Finally, although it’s not (yet) official, the leaked Episode VII casting breakdown includes two roles that would make sense for Cumberbatch, age-wise: a “Forty something male, fit, military type” and a “Thirty something male, intellectual. Apparently doesn’t need to be fit” (Cumberbatch is still in tip-top condition following his Into Darkness muscle gain).

Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison in Star Trek Into Darkness1 Star Wars: Episode 7 Cast Adds Benedict Cumberbatch? [Updated]

Benedict Cumberbatch as [REDACTED] in ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’

Longtime Screen Rant readers know that our staff would gladly turn out to see a movie called Benedict Cumberbatch Reads the Phone Book, so it should come as little surprise to learn that we are onboard with Cumberbatch bringing his powerful screen presence and mix of dignity/humor to the Star Wars universe, no matter what his role is. Therefore, it’s just icing on the cake that the actor also possesses a strong appreciation for the lasting impact of Lucas’ space opera.

As he previously stated, in an interview with Total Film:

“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 simple – 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. Everything Harrison Ford did I just thought was the coolest thing ever.”

Until further notice, however, it’s best to treat this Episode VII news as an enticing, yet unconfirmed rumor and nothing more (or less, for that matter). That said, in case you need more reason to justify hoping that this story may well be accurate: Cumberbatch, in addition to having an established working relationship with Abrams, is best known for the characters he plays and not for his celebrity persona (yet, anyway). In other words, he’s as much the sort of actor who has traditionally been cast in a Star Wars movie as the recently-rumored young candidates Alex Pettyfer and Rachel Hurd-Wood.

Reports continue to circulate that Disney and Lucasfilm are on the verge of making a major casting announcement for Episode VII, so stay tuned for an update on this story (good or bad) in the near future.

[Update: Additional details indicate Cumberbatch may play a Force-using villain for the entire trilogy!]

[Update 2: Cumberbatch's reps are denying it. But that would happen if he was cast and Disney didn't want to announce anyway so... it's still a 'wait and see' situation.]

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Star Wars: Episode VII is tentatively slated to reach theaters by Summer 2015, though it could wind up delayed until the Winter Holiday Season (according to the latest reports). Again, we’ll be sure and keep you posted on the situation.

Source: Film Chronicles [via Bleeding Cool]

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: Star wars
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  1. I think Benedict would make for an awesome Jedi/Sith! Also I’m certain that Ryan Gosling has removed himself from consideration for a role in SW7

    • Again, Star Wars is “going with the flow” instead of being original and bold.

      People didn’t like CG: they go back to the overusage of miniatures.
      People didn’t like lucas: they use JJ Abrams.
      People didn’t like Hayden Christensen: they hire Cumberbatch.

      But nobody stops and thinks: SHOULD they use primarily miniatures in an industry that is embracing CG? Should they hire Abrams, who botched up Star Trek’s tiemline and characters? Should they hire Cumberbatch, a well-recognized actor who already established himself as Khan?

      I have yet to hear a single good piece of news in the Disney-Lucasfilm dead.

  2. I sure as hell hope he isn’t a jedi(unless he goes rogue) or any character who’s remotely likeable, I can’t stand the guy but he’s great at playin bad guys, I’d be psyched if he’s a sith/antagonist.

  3. The way BC stole the role of kahn i hope he’s a sith, imperial remnant or the clone PALPATINE !

  4. ‘military type’ hey? would make a cool imperial officer type character with that British accent of his. Thinking back to War Horse

  5. Awesome. If true, score one for JJ.


  7. I really like Benedict Cumberbatch and think he’ll bring a lot of gravitas to the role. However, this feeds into my fear that JJ Abram’s Star Trek/Star Wars universes will be indistinguishable from one another. Here’s hoping Michael Arndt ‘s script is truly original (and character-based).

  8. Read the book series starting with Heir to the Empire. Cumberbatch IS Admiral Thrawn.

    • indeed!

  9. Stunt Casting

  10. He’d make a great Admiral Thrawn. Like, a really, really great Thrawn. Alas that won’t happen.

    However he’d also make a good Jag Fel, I mean, he’s a little old. But…

  11. The more Benedict Cumberbatch the better he is an amazing actor to watch on screen and never disapoints.

  12. I’m pretty sure that the new movies are going to draw characters from the Expanded Universe (not stories though). Hasn’t anyone noticed just how much Cumberbatch looks like Grand Admiral Thrawn? Not only that, but Cumberbatch has a very cold, calculating voice, which is how Thrawn’s voice is described in multiple books. I think it’s a very good bet that we could see Cumberbatch playing Thrawn in 2015.

  13. I agree on the deflection and denial perspective. The big 3 also went through the same ordeal when E7 was first announced last year.

  14. I’d like it if he were the leader of the Imperial remnant.