(written from a Production point of view)
This page contains information regarding material for the new Star Trek film, and thus may contain spoilers.
Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch (born 19 July 1976; age 39) is an English actor who played Khan Noonien Singh (a.k.a. "John Harrison") in Star Trek Into Darkness. In February 2012, several images and video from the filming of the climactic fight scene between Cumberbatch's Khan and Zachary Quinto's Spock appeared on the web. 
Cumberbatch is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on the BBC drama program Sherlock, which premiered in 2010.
Early life and career
Born in London, England, Cumberbatch is the son of actors Timothy Cartlon and Wanda Ventham. Following education at Brambletye School in West Sussex, he received an arts scholarship to Harrow School, where he began performing in school plays. He made his acting debut at age 13, playing Titania, Queen of the Fairies, in a Harrow production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. He later studied drama at the University of Manchester and continued training as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Cumberbarch began his professional acting career on the stage in 2001 and made the transition to television and film a year later. He was lauded for his performance as Stephen Hawking in the 2004 BBC drama Hawking, which featured his future Star Trek co-star, Alice Eve. He and Eve again appeared together in the 2006 feature film Starter for 10. Cumberbatch also gave a critically-acclaimed performance as William Pitt in the 2006 film Amazing Grace.
Film career (2007–present)
Cumberbatch has worked with two other actors who played villains in Star Trek films. He starred opposite Tom Hardy (Shinzon in Star Trek Nemesis) in the 2007 TV movie Stuart: A Life Backwards; both actors later appeared in the 2011 adaptation Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Cumberbatch also appeared with Eric Bana (Nero in Star Trek) in the 2008 film The Other Boleyn Girl.
Cumberbatch's other film credits include the 2007 adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel Atonement and Steven Spielberg's 2011 drama War Horse. He also provides the voices and performance-captures of Smaug the dragon and the Necromancer in the three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, opposite his Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman. The first film in the trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was released in 2012.
In addition to the upcoming Hobbit sequels, Cumberbatch has a principal role in the film adaptation of Solomon Northup's memoir Twelve Years a Slave, which also co-stars Alfre Woodard from Star Trek: First Contact. Cumberbatch also plays Julian Assange, the controversial founder of WikiLeaks, in the biographical drama The Fifth Estate, and is part of the ensemble cast of the film version of Tracy Letts' play August: Osage County. His other upcoming film projects include Crimson Peak, a horror project from Guillermo del Toro.