We've been hearing Benedict Cumberbatch's name mentioned in connection to Star Wars: Episode VII since casting rumors began last year. The British star had his first chance to work with director J.J. Abrams playing Khan in last year's Star Trek Into Darkness, and since last September he's been considered a frontrunner for an unspecified part in the next chapter of George Lucas' epic sci-fi saga. Exciting as the prospect of having Cumberbatch be in a Star Wars movie is, however, it would seem that it's not meant to be.
The Sherlock star recently took part in a Q&A as part of Oz Comic-Con in Australia, and according to Tweets from the news site The Iris (via The Playlist) the actor confirmed to the crowd that he will not be in Star Wars: Episode VII. Said the actor,
Of course, thanks to the ridiculous marketing strategy for Star Trek Into Darkness, it's hard to tell if this is real or just a straight-up lie. Cumberbatch and Abrams both spent months and months telling fans and members of the press that the actor would not be playing the villainous Khan in the film, but that did end up being the case. So is Cumberbatch lying here or telling the truth? The Playlist notes that the original rumors said that the star would only have a small role in Star Wars: Episode VII that would eventually get expanded for Episodes VIII and IX. If that is the case, that's definitely something the production might want to keep a secret...
So if Cumberbatch isn't in the movie, then who is? Thus far we've heard that both R2-D2 and Chewbacca (played by original trilogy star Peter Mayhew) will be back for Star Wars: Episode, but what's going on with all of the human characters is still unclear. It was reported back in February that Adam Driver was in negotiations to play the central villain in the movie, but we haven't heard anything about the deal since. Other actors rumored to be up for playing new characters in the franchise include Attack the Block's John Boyega, Downton Abbey's Ed Speleers, theater actors Matthew James Thomas and Ray Fisher, and 12 Years A Slave Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o. Mark Hammil, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are all expected to return, but nothing has been made official yet from Disney and LucasFilm.
Sources have reported that filming is already underway on Star Wars: Episode VII, which is using a script co-written by Abrams and Empire Strikes Back scribe Lawrence Kasdan. Production is now in Morocco - where it's said they are building a expansive re-creation of Tatooine - and then it will be moving to England where principal photography will take place at the legendary Pinewood Studios.
Are you upset that Benedict Cumberbatch won't be in Star Wars: Episode VII? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.