Benedict Cumberbatch will lend his voice to Shere Khan for Warner Bros. upcoming The Jungle Book: Origins.
If we're being honest, I think we can agree that Benedict Cumberbatch kinda has an amazing voice. He has a vocal range that can come across as soothing and threatening all at the same time, something which made him perfect as Smaug in The Hobbit. It also makes Cumberbatch an ideal voice actor for other villainous roles, which explains why he'll be Shere Khan in Andy Serkis' The Jungle Book: Origins.
The Jungle Book is one of the most famous works of English author Rudyard Kipling, and has been adapted to film several times since its 1894 publication. Most versions of the tale introduce a conflict between Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves in the Indian Jungle, and Shere Khan, a tiger obsessed with killing the human cub. The 1967 animated film is probably the best known, although it took liberties with the original characters and was more family-friendly than Kipling's dark original.
Cumberbatch's addition will also help the film stand out from a second Jungle Book project at Disney. Serkis' film, produced by Warner Bros., is competing against an adaptation directed by Jon Favreau, featuring Idris Elba as Shere Khan and Bill Murray as Baloo. That's not to say each version tells the same story; the title of Jungle Book: Origins heavily implies a prequel focus, presumably in the vein of Wicked or Dracula Untold.
Regardless, Cumberbatch and Elba should provide excellent performances of Shere Khan, even if viewers ask "Wait... didn't we see this already?" I also imagine Cumberbatch's role in the film might fuel several Sherlock Khan memes: It's just too good an opportunity to pass up.
The Jungle Book: Origins will reach theaters in October 2016, while Disney's adaptation launches in October 2015.
Source: Hollywood Reporter