Cumberbatch's career now and Jones's career in late '76/early '77 are almost identical. Jones's only advantage is the a fore mentioned The Great White Hope
. Otherwise, their bodies of work, awards, etc. are pretty much the same. Their voices are their most prominent feature and the one thing most people recognize them for.
Jones was known by lots and lots of people and his voice was very recognizable, but he was not the "house-hold name" he is today. At the time he took Star Wars
rather), he was struggling to find work. If you walk up to people and said, "James Earl Jones" probably six in ten of them would say, "Who the fuck is James Earl Jones?"
Likewise, Cumberbatch is recognized by lots and lots of people, but he is not a house-hold name. But people do recognize his voice.
In any case, the OP implied one has to be a superstar to be a good villain. I was trying to use a relevant and comparative example to prove otherwise.
Perhaps I should have said Margaret Hamilton or Andrew Robinson and caused less of a fuss.