Last night, Benedict Cumberbatch had his first ever experience of San Diego Comic Con, sitting on the panel for the new Dreamworks film Penguins of Madagascar – sort of like a geek-Jesus popping down to the geek-Vatican for a chat about Sherlock, Star Wars and Penguins.
It was highly hyped of course, but didn’t disappoint. Here are 15 things we learnt.
Benedict Cumberbatch fans are a devoted bunch
Ok, no suprise there. Fans had reportedly been queuing since 6am to get into Hall H, the most sought-after hall at San Diego Comic Con with a capacity of 6,500. Apparently, many of them also were dressed in Sherlock costumes, making it perfectly clear that the hall wasn’t packed because of an intense love of animated penguins.
Host Craig Ferguson even went as far as to say, “If anyone mentions the S word, Comic Con will be cancelled.” The potential prelude to the most geeky riot ever.
This is what it sounds like when Cumberbatch walks into a room of Cumberbatch fans
Loud, right? How would he cope? With a little help from his friends Tom Hiddleston, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, of course.
“There’s going to be a Cumber-burning or something,” he joked during an interview with MTV ahead of his panel. “They told me about the scale of it but nothing can prepare you for how big the hall is.”
Luckily, he had friends that knew what they were talking about when it came to this sort of thing. “I’m friends with Tom Hiddleston, James McAvoy and [Michael] Fassbender and they’ve all done it,” he said. “They said it’s crazy, it’s kind of amazing.”
The guy is a gentleman
As we said earlier, most – maybe all – of the attendees in Hall H were there for Cumberbatch. This meant that when the Q&A session started, six of the eight questions were directed to Cumberbatch, who was obviously a bit embarrassed about hogging the attention from fellow panelist John Malkovich. As such, he tried as hard as he could to bring Malkovich into the conversation as much as possibly, politely sharing a few questions with the star.
It was the first time Cumberbatch and Malkovich had met
Despite starring in the same film together, Cumberbatch and Malkovich had not actually met during the making of Penguins of Madagascar, with the two having recorded their voice parts separately. After they expressed their mutual respect for one another, the Sherlock star said that it wasn’t quite what he thought their first time meeting would be like and that he would have preferred to have been asking the veteran actor about Steppenwolf Theatre Company rather than what it was like to play an evil octopus.
Cumberbatch went method for his portrayal of a talking wolf
When asking how he prepared for his role as a debonair animated wolf, Cumberbatch joked: “I worked in Yellowstone park as a wolf for a while. I was accepted by the pack quite quickly. It got a bit hairy, no pun intended, when I became the alpha male. Eventually I realised that two of the other wolves were Christian Bale and Daniel Day-Lewis.”
He also channeled Timothy Dalton
Agent Classified, Cumberbatch’s character in Penguins of Madagascar, is a suave, smooth-talking James Bond pastiche. The actor said that, as well that attracting him to the role, he also liked that Classified had a heightened pompous version of his own voice with “a bit of Timothy Dalton thrown in.”
He is keeping quiet when it comes to those Doctor Strange rumours
It has been rumoured for a while now that Cumberbatch’s next big movie break will be as Marvel’s Doctor Strange, a genius neurosurgeon who, under the guidance of an ancient hermit, learns the art of sorcery. It would be a big deal for Cumberbatch – his very own film franchise to go along with his TV one. The actor, himself, though, is skilfully dodging all questions put to him about the rumours. When one interviewer asked if he was playing Doctor Strange, he replied “Doctor who?,” while he offered a more solid answer to MTV: “As far as I’m aware, even if that was the case, it couldn’t work out because I’m doing a little play called Hamlet in London. So I don’t think I could, even if that was in the cards. It sounds like a fantastic project. It’s a shame if I miss out, but who knows?”
Keep in mind, though, that actors have made untrue denials about roles before. Could we be in for a surprise at Marvel’s panel on Saturday?
He would, however, be up for playing Batman
When asked by a member of the audience which superhero he would like to play (an obvious reference to the Strange rumours), the actor left a pause so heavily pregnant its water might as well have broken all over Hall H. When he did finally answer, he said, “Nurse Normal? That was a joke on Doctor Strange…Uh, Batman. Batman I guess, yeah.”
Cumberbat? We can totally see it.
He’s not in Star Wars: Episode VII, but could be in future films
Along with every other actor ever, Cumberbatch was rumoured to star in Star Wars: Episode VII. Such speculation wasn’t too far off, though, as he revealed that he had had a discussion with JJ Abrams about appearing in it but that it was not to be. But there’s no need to lose hope. He pointed out that there were another two films to go – hinting that he could very well be travelling to a galaxy far, far away in the future.
Khan could return
Was Star Trek Into Darkness the last we saw of Cumberbatch’s bassy-voiced Kahn? Apparently not. He points out on the panel that Kahn was only frozen, not killed, and could easily be defrosted in the future.
He thinks Johnny Depp is beautiful
Cumberbatch has recently finished filming crime drama movie Black Mass alongside Hollywood legend Johnny Deep. As you may expect, he had nothing but praise and admiration for his co-star, saying, “what a beautiful human being he is.”
His godmother taught him how to make fudge brownies
“When I’m cooking, I get very geeky about measurements… I started with fudge brownies of all things. I was a kid and that’s what my godmother taught me.” Was it a mix?, the interviewer asks. “Oh, no, no, no, no shop-bought nonsense for me.”
He can do mean impressions of Gollum and Jar Jar Binks
Fast-forward to 15.28.
In the midst of spectacularly failing MTV’s geek quiz, Cumberbatch adds to his ever-growing list of brilliant impressions by taking off Star Wars abomination Jar Jar Binks and Lord of the Ring’s Gollum.
He will be walking the Comic Con floor in a mask
Yep, Cumberbatch has bought a mask and will be wearing it as he explores Comic Con for the first time. He wouldn’t reveal what mask it is, so the only hope for fan in San Diego is to go around unmasking every damn man they see.