Benedict Cumberbatch will play a “terrorist” called John Harrison in Star Trek.

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The War Horse star has set the record straight about rumours he is portraying legendary villain Khan in J.J. Abrams’ sequel to the 2009 sci-fi hit, insisting he will play a brand new anti-hero on a revenge mission that fans can’t help but sympathise with.

He told Access Hollywood: “I play John Harrison who’s a terrorist and an extraordinary character in his own right.

“He’s somebody who is not your two-dimensional cookie cutter villain. He’s got an extraordinary purpose, and I hope that at one point or other in the film you might even sympathize with the reasons he’s doing what he’s doing – not necessarily the means and the destruction he causes.

“But it was a great ride, not just because he’s the bad guy and the antagonist but also because he has a purpose and it’s hard not to see his point of view at certain points.”

Harrison is also apparently out to cause tension between Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and first officer Spock (Zachary Quinto).

Cumberbatch teased: “He has an interesting relationship with Kirk, and with Spock in a way. He very much plays them off against each other. There’s an element of shadow to him and Kirk.”