Benedict Cumberbatch Steals the Spotlight at SDCC 2014

Photo by Stephanie Coats
Photo: Stephanie Coats

Yesterday, the San Diego Comic Con truly began and it belonged to one man: Benedict Cumberbatch. In his first ever appearance at the pop culture convention, Mr. Cumberbatch was all smiles, jokes, and charm during the DreamWorks Animation panel for Penguins of Madagascar.

First, let’s talk about the movie. Picking up where Madagascar 3 left off, the four clever penguins we know and love are ensnared in a game of global espionage. Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private must face off with Dr. Octavius Brine aka Dave (voiced by John Malkovich) who is out for revenge. The penguins join up with the ultra chic spy group, the North Wind, led by Agent Classified (voiced by Cumberbatch), to stop the villainous octopus.

Cumberbatch previously commented on the role saying, “I don’t know what it’s like to be a penguin, but I do know what it’s like to be a super-duper-smooth classified agent.” And we caught a glimpse of that smooth-side during the panel.

On Thursday in San Diego, the actor was introduced in Hall H to deafening applause and more than a few squeals of delight. He sat alongside veteran actor Malkovich, whose participation in the film is one of the reasons Cumberbatch wanted to be involved, and politely answered questions during the Q&A (they were almost all for him). Cumberbatch showed off his sassy side with a few cheeky replies and encouraged fans to ask him about Sherlock even though moderator Craig Ferguson joked the panel would be cancelled if anyone did so. When one fan struggled to come up with a question, he suggested asking about his shoe size!

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Cumberbatch, when asked how he prepped for the role, apparently went method in preparation. “I went to Yellowstone Park to join a pack. Two of my pack members were Christian Bale and Daniel Day-Lewis,” shared the British thespian, showcasing some of his signature sass and cheeky humour. He did eventually get serious about answering, sharing that his radio roles helped him in the transition to voice-over work, though the actor did admit that he “love using his body.”

Cumberbatch appeared to love engaging with the audience members, taking a selfie as part of the panel. He even put one fan on the spot by grilling her after she shared that she was from London.

When asked if he would be back at Comic-Con next year for Sherlock, he got everyone’s hopes up when he immediately replied yes. He then clarified he meant he’ll be back on the show next year but doesn’t know if they’ll come to the convention. Come on, Sherlock needs to be at Comic-Con already!

The film itself is not quite completed, but the fans in attendance were treated to some rough footage as Cumberbatch and the panel watched on as well.

Check out the trailer for Penguins of Madagascar below. The film releases November 26, 2014 in 3D.


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Stephanie Coats

Stephanie Coats is the Lead Events Editor at 4 Your Excitement. She has a B.A. from Hope International University and an undying passion for all things geeky. In addition to 4YE, she also writes for, and works full-time as a communications coordinator.

You can follow her on Twitter for nerdy posts about Doctor Who, Agent Carter, Agents of SHIELD, Harry Potter and more.
Stephanie Coats
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