The UK version of GQ published some outtakes from a recent Benedict Cumberbatch article where he paints his chances of being in Star Wars as rather unlikely:
“Urgh! I mean, I think everyone is talking about it apart from JJ and me! Look, I mean, maybe when there’s a script we’ll know for certain, but from what I understand the heroes are really, really young, so that’s late teens early twenties, and then I don’t know, maybe there’s a baddie in there? But I think both JJ and I realise we’ve just done that with another massive sci-fi film, so that obviously hinders things a bit. I mean, there’s a possibility, of course there is, and JJ knows how much I would love to be a part of it, simply because, more than Star Trek, it really was something I grew up with. It does make me want to do it even more as well [that people want him to do it]. I don’t know.
We do know that there are a lot of characters of various ages in the film. I’m not sure anyone has even suggested that Cumberbatch is playing “Thomas,” which is who he’s really commenting on. The assumption has always been he was the “baddie,” which he kind of addresses. I think this discredits a lot of what we have been hearing online for a long time. Do you think he would lie after complaining about having to lie about Star Trek II? I detected a lot of regret about that from both Abrams and Cumberbatch. It certainly sounds like he’s campaigning for a role though. Maybe his people are the ones that are feeding the rumor mill? I wouldn’t count him out, but I wouldn’t count him in like the rumor mill has, time after time.
I don’t even know how many of them he is developing at the one time. I’m pretty sure he’s working up one part of three and the spin-off films, there’s a shit load more.”
Clearly Cumberbatch says he doesn’t know what’s up, so we can’t dig too seriously into these words. But he insinuates Abrams has some say in the spin-off films. That’s weird and interesting. It either means Abrams is really taking over Star Wars in a big way, or it speaks to how little Cumberbatch really knows about what is going on.
I think there is no way in hell Abrams could direct Star Wars VII and a spin-0ff. That’s just insane. Abrams doing the entire trilogy is something I never thought was entirely a sure thing, but that’s more work in a shorter amount of time than any director has done with Star Wars ever (Lucas gave himself three year intervals on the prequels). I think it is likely Bad Robot is producing the spin-offs and I think Cumberbatch’s comment might be indicative of such.