UPDATE! Benedict Cumberbatch Denies Involvement with Episode VII, but Hints that Simon Pegg is In. Pegg Responds!
At the San Diego Comic Con, people asked Benedict Cumberbatch – who was apparently in-talks to have a role in the new Star Wars movies at one point – if he had any interest in being involved with a movie in the franchise after not apparently making the part. His answer proves to be interesting, but for completely different reasons than you might expect – and they allow an old rumor to come back to the forefront.
MTV News reported an exclusive interview with Cumberbatch asking if the Khan actor had a possible future in J. J. Abrams’s rebooted Star Trek universe, to which he jokingly replied that he would if they were to microwave the cryogenically-frozen warlord (though he was open to entertaining the possibility if they pulled it off correctly). After the interviewer shared a laugh with Cumberbatch, he then asked the British star if the rumored team-up with J. J. again was actually something that happened, or if the media made it up. His reply:
“J.J. and I are friends, so yeah, possibly, but I think J.J. is very good at creating something original out of something known, and I think apart from his continuing use of Simon Pegg — and who can blame him, frankly — it made sense not to do it.”
So in the short run, we hear that Cumberbatch is not going to be in Episode VII, though he has a chance of showing up in a movie later on down the line. In the long run, we’ve got the implication that Simon Pegg, who was previously rumored to have visited the Abu Dhabi set, is going to be in the movie.
Now, giving Benedict Cumberbatch the benefit of the doubt, he could have just been referring to Pegg’s tendency to appear in works that Abrams has worked on – most notably, Benji Dunn in the Mission: Impossible series and Scotty in the reboot of Star Trek. But again, note his word choice – he said “continuing”, not “continued”. The active verb tense implies that there’s a recent bit of information supporting his claim. And considering that Pegg, Abrams, and Cumberbatch are all friends, what’s to say that they might have made a little small-talk about the movie? There’s a chance that Cumberbatch knows a little more than he’s letting on.
Nonetheless, Pegg has had experience with the Star Wars universe already (ranting about The Phantom Menace aside), giving new life to Dengar in The Clone Wars. While it’s unlikely that he’d show up as the same character 35 years later, the possibility for Pegg to fit into the new Star Wars is a little more well-rounded than ever.
Apparently, Simon Pegg caught whiff of the rumor when New York magazine’s Vulture website asked him about the rumor. His responses are interestingly worded, and give more support to his possible inclusion in the film.
Vulture: Regarding Benedict Cumberbatch’s recent comments about you being on the set of Star Wars, are you in the next movie?
Pegg: Yes, Benedict said something at Comic-Con and on MTV.
Pegg: Well, J.J. uses me in different roles, and we’re good friends. I feel like my face in Star Wars would pop people out of the movie. Look, I love Star Wars, and I don’t want people to watch and go, “oh, there’s Simon Pegg’s face”. The film is cleverly cast with these amazing, unknown actors.
Vulture: So, you’re not in the movie?
Pegg: [Smiles.] Of course I visited the set. It’s amazing, and I love Star Wars. I want to see everything happening. It looks wonderful, and you need to believe those characters. Any type of stunt casting might just pop you out of the movie.
The coyness of his personality inspires a little more speculation. Notice how he repeatedly mentions that his face isn’t going to appear in the movie, but says nothing to deny that his voice may be heard, or anything to that effect. Keep in mind that the voice work of some famous actors have made their way into these movies – Brian Blessed and even John Wayne among them. Even more suspicious is that he completely changes the subject for the last question – when asked about whether or not he’s in the movie, he instead takes a page from Kevin Smith and gushes about the set of the new movie (without giving anything away). We may not see Simon Pegg’s face in the movie, but could it be possible that we could see him as some kind of droid or alien? In any case, it seems like Simon Pegg definitely knows more about the movie right now than he’s letting on, and he’s going to have a bit of fun with teasing us, whether he’s in the movie or not.
Grant has been a fan of Star Wars for as long as he can remember, having seen every movie on the big screen. When he’s not hard at work with his college studies, he keeps himself busy by reporting on all kinds of Star Wars news for SWNN and general movie news on the sister site, Movie News Net. He served as a frequent commentator on SWNN’s The Resistance Broadcast.