‘Star Trek’: Benedict Cumberbatch Studied Terrorism For Villain Role

'You don't need to look far to research' terrorists, Cumberbatch tells MTV News about playing the 'Into Darkness' villain.

Is he Khan? Is he Gary Mitchell? For now, he’s John Harrison — and beyond that “name,” the only thing we really know about Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Star Trek Into Darkness” villain is that he is a ruthless and effective terrorist .

So, while we can’t ask Cumberbatch if he studied up on old “Star Trek” episodes and movies to research the character he’s playing in J.J. Abrams’ upcoming sequel — that would be tipping his hand too much, after all — we can ask the fan-favorite “Sherlock” actor about where else in the world he found inspiration for the horrific Harrison. When faced with that question, MTV News learned that Cumberbatch didn’t look much further than Harrison’s own vocation to fuel his performance.

“[Look at] real social history and present history, everything that’s going on: uprisings, people who are trying to spread democracy or fight their cause, not necessarily through political means … he is a terrorist, and sadly, that’s part of the fabric of our modern world,” he explained to MTV when we spoke at a “Star Trek” event in late 2012. “You don’t need to look far to research that one.”

Cumberbatch continued, saying he looked towards “certain terrorist groups in the past” to see how they operated. But he wasn’t only concerned with real-life terrorism. The actor emphasized the importance of turning towards his character’s roots within the “Star Trek” universe itself, saying, “It was important to me to ground him in a reality that’s based more on his story than, say, a parallel in the real world.”

“What should certainly be chilling are the parallels to the modern world,” he added cryptically.

Are you excited or terrified to behold Cumberbatch’s “Trek” villain? Let us know what you think in the comments section or let me know on Twitter @roundhoward!

Check out everything we’ve got on “Star Trek Into Darkness.”


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