Benedict Cumberbatch earned a rapturous reception from the adoring masses in Hall H during his maiden Comic-Con appearance at the DreamWorks Animation panel on Thursday (24) and hinted at future visits.

When asked by an audience member towards the end of the panel – the first by a Hollywood studio at this year’s show – if he would return as Sherlock next year, the British actor said “Possibly.”

To the business at hand. Cumberbatch was in San Diego to talk up his first ever voice role in an animation. He plays Classified, a secret agent wolf who aids the eponymous Penguins Of Madagascar, due out in November.

“I like the idea of unpacking a spy and trying to make him more human, if that makes sense with a wolf,” he said.

Cumberbatch said he jumped at the chance to work with John Malkovich, another Comic-Con debutant in attendance who voices the part of the villainous Dave the octopus.  

Malkovich, perhaps more introspective and at times sombre than the Hall H community was used to seeing, mused on the ability to explore the script and find multiples expressions.

On that note, co-director Simon J Smith said Malkovich’s movements inspired the animators in the way they would build Dave. “He’s just gold,” said Smith, who was in attendance with co-director Eric Daniels and Tom McGrath, who voices the lead penguin, Skipper.

McGarth revealed he was offered the role years ago in the original Madagascar film after first-choice Robert Stack died [in 2003]

“Jeffrey [Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation CEO] gave me the role because I’m cheap,” he said.

“We’re all cheap when it comes to Jeffrey,” quipped moderator Craig Ferguson, who voices Gobber in How To Train Your Dragon 2, before introducing a rough assembly of the first six minutes of the film.

Earlier footage showed a break-in to Fort Knox and a chase through the Venice canals.

The presentation kicked off with footage from Home, starring Jim Parsons from TV hit The Big Bang Theory as the voice of Oh, a friendly, error-prone alien who hooks up with a girl named Tip, voiced by Rihanna – who was unable to attend.

Director Tim Johnson said there was roughly six more months of work to be done, adding to laughter: “It’s a second-and-a-half of film.”

Home also feature Steve Martin as Oh’s nemesis, Captain Smek. The film is scheduled to open in March 2015.

In what was essentially an interstitial between the Home and Penguins Of Madagascar segments, studio executives showed an encased prop of a gauntlet from B.O.O.: Bureau Of Otherwordly Explorations.

That film features the voices of Seth Rogen, Melissa McCarthy and Bill Murray and is earmarked for a June 5, 2016 debut.