It was recently announced that Benedict Cumberbatch, of the new Sherlock Holmes series on BBC, will have a role in the next Star Trek movie, possibly as archenemy Khan. He won’t be the first Sherlock to have a connection with popular science fiction films. Star Wars has had three prominent actors who also played Sherlock Holmes at various times in their careers.
Christopher Lee was Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. He played Holmes in Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace, 1962. Later in his career, he played Holmes two more times in Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady, a television movie from 1990, and Incident at Victoria Falls, another television movie in 1991.
Peter Cushing was Grand Moff Tarkin, commander of the first Death Star in A New Hope. He played Sherlock Holmes a number of times, over a span of twenty-five years in: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), the first Holmes film made in colour, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (1968), sixteen episodes of a BBC series of which only six episodes remain and in The Masks of Death (1984) a made-for-television movie
Michael Pennington who was Moff Tiaan Jerjerrod, commanding officer of the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi played Holmes in The Return of Sherlock Holmes, a television movie from 1987.
There are a couple of other Star Trek connections as well. Christopher Plummer, best known for his role in The Sound of Music, played Sherlock in Murder by Decree, 1979. He was also General Chang in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
Mr. Spock has to be the twentieth century character most resembling Sherlock Holmes. Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock in the original Star Trek series and the later movies, actually played Sherlock Holmes on stage in a Royal Shakespeare production in 1976.
In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Spock gives us a clue to his background, when he says, “An ancestor of mine maintained that if you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains – however improbable – must be the truth.”
Perhaps Zachery Quinto, who plays Spock in the new Star Trek movies, will take his turn as Sherlock.
For more Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes Actors – The Best and the Worst (on my other blog)