British actor Benedict Cumberbatch winds up his most successful year yet by playing the iconic dragon Smaug in Peter Jackson's epic fantasy adventure The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second film in the Tolkien-inspired franchise.

Hear Cumberbatch's ominous voice in the Desolation of Smaug trailer

Now firmly in the A-list, Cumberbatch's work in 2013 included roles as the villainous Khan (sort of) in Star Trek Into Darkness and as Julian Assange in the biopic The Fifth Estate; that latter of which saw him lauded for his efforts to portray the Wikileaks founder, while the film as a whole was widely criticised.

He also joined the ensemble cast of two of the year's most acclaimed films; in Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave he stars opposite Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender, and in August: Osage County his co-stars include Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor and Juliette Lewis. Both films have landed nominations for Best Ensemble at the Screen Actors Guild awards and are expected to receive Oscar nominations, too.

Read our Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug review

2014 doesn't look like it will be any quieter for Cumberbatch. The third season of his acclaimed TV series Sherlock – the British drama that propelled both he and fellow Hobbit star Martin Freeman to Hollywood notoriety - arrives in January, followed by roles as Alan Turing, George Mallory and explorer Percival Fawcett in high-profile biopics.

SherlockSherlock helped launch Benedict Cumberbatch's career

He'll also - of course - be back next December for another go-round as Smaug and the even more nefarious Necromancer in the final chapter The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Rumors are also abounding that the British-born actor will reunite with J.J Abrams to work on the upcoming Star Wars reboot, Episode VII, which is gaining momentum since Disney bought LucasFilm for over $4b.