Is Benedict Cumberbatch The Next Bond Baddie? [Rumor]

Sure, most of us here in the states don’t know who Benedict Cumberbatch is, aside from some poor sap with an unfortunate name, but he’s actually one of the best actors to be found across the pond. We’ll meet him soon in Star Trek into Darkness, in which he plays the villain. If all goes well, we’ll get a pretty decent idea what kind of Bond villain he’ll make, too.

Because whisper has it, he’s in the running.

So far, Daniel Craig’s outing as the sixth James Bond has proven successful both with critics and at the box office. Starting in 2006 with Casino Royale, Craig’s rebooted Bond marked the most dramatic change in the character throughout his 50-plus-year history. 2008’s Quantum of Solace broke Bond tradition again, being the first direct sequel to a Bond film. It wasn’t as good as Casino, but it was still pretty good overall, despite director Marc Forster’s concerted effort to destroy it.

The only thing lacking in Craig’s Bond films thus far? A decent villain. Mads Mikkelsen gave us a quietly menacing Le Chiffre, but as a villain, he was more red-herring than central threat. Mathieu Amalric gave a great performance as Dominic Greene, but he was hardly a physical match for Daniel Craig, and honestly, I kept waiting for a “real” bad guy to emerge from behind a curtain.

Next up? Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva. Skyfall isn’t out until late October, but the trailer and Bardem’s Academy Award-winning performance as preternatural hitman Anton Chigurh in 2007’s No Country For Old Men make a case for Bardem’s Silva being a step in the right direction.

The 44-year-old Craig has signed on for at least two more Bond films after Skyfall, so who will he be going up against next? According to Yahoo! Movies, Benedict Cumberbatch is being very seriously considered. Cumberbatch is thought to be “perfect” for a villain role in the 24th Bond film, and an insider added: “Work on the next film will begin next year and the plan is for Benedict to be on board. He grew up watching Bond, so it would be a childhood ambition fulfilled.”

The insider added that the 36-year-old star would “jump at the chance.”

Cumberbatch would be a popular pick over the pond, but as to how we’ll take him as a villain domestically, that’ll depend on Star Trek into Darkness. It releases in May 2013.