Benedict Cumberbatch is experiencing a lot of firsts: It's his first time visiting Comic-Con. It's his first time voicing an animated character in a children's movie. And it will (maybe...) be the first time that Marvel announces Benedict is joining their roster of superheroes.
We talked with Benedict on the DreamWorks Animation press line, and he told reporters that while he's "excited" to pop his Comic-Con cherry, he hasn't been able to fully experience it all just yet. But he plans to: He already bought a mask so he can walk around the convention floor unnoticed.
He wouldn't tell us what that mask is.
(So if you want to meet Benedict Cumberbatch at Comic-Con, just start unmasking every single person you see in costume on the convention floor. Eventually one of them has to be him.)
Benedict is here, in part, to promote The Penguins of Madagascar, in which he voices a wolf named Agent Classified (a far cry from his other upcoming movie, The Imitation Game, though they do both feature spy games and government secrets. So maybe they're not that different after all!)
"I've got all my bases covered!" he told us about the two. "I do like espionage, don't I? [Penguins] was because I'd never done an animated film, I'd never done a voice-over for an animation...I love the penguins in the Madagascar films and I like the sketches and the ideas they had for this sort of Bond stereotype who has his comeuppance, because there's a little too much dress and not enough action to him. I like the idea of chipping away at the spy cliché."
(Pause for a moment to imagine Benedict Cumberbatch at his home watching Madagascar and just laughing. You're welcome.)
And even though he's played quite the roster of characters, he says Agent Classified might be the weirdest: "It's odd because it doesn't look anything like me. Not because it's a wolf...but I could see bits [of myself] in Smaug, because I did lots of facial capture as well as full-body motion capture for that. So even being a dragon, despite being a biped mammal, I saw myself in that fire-breathing serpent."
But the fanboys are far more curious about whether Benedict has a Comic-Con surprise up his sleeve: Rumor has it that, during their much, much, much anticipated Hall H panel on Saturday, Marvel will announce that Cumberbatch has been cast as sorcerer Doctor Strange.
"What rumors?" Benedict laughed when asked what he made of it all, though he did say that "anything could happen" and he's leaving San Diego today, but will be back at Comic-Con on Saturday.
"Doctor Who?" he continued coyly.
Ladies and gentlemen, we think this is (unofficially, but let's be real, kind of officially) your Doctor Strange. And if he's not, Marvel owes Benedict Cumberbatch a big thank-you for keeping the rumor mill spinning until they could announce the real Doctor.