Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro has been offered a leading villain role in the upcoming Star Wars Episode VIII, according to reports. Little is known of the role beyond its villainous nature, as all things Star Wars remain closely guarded secrets by parent company, Disney. Del Toro has previously ventured into sci-fi under the Disney banner, taking the recurring role of The Collector in the Marvel Universe films.
Star Wars VIII will continue the new trilogy which begins this December with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Writer/director Rian Johnson will direct the film, which is set for production early next year against a 2017 release date.
Del Toro’s casting is somewhat unexpected, as JJ Abrams, helmer of The Force Awakens has declared the upcoming film as setting the tone and characters for a new trilogy of films with Andy Serkis and Adam Driver playing new villains Snoke and Kylo Ren, respectively. Abrams comments, however, go against industry rumors that Disney isn’t pleased with the film, and wants a different direction in the sequels. Del Toro’s casting could signal a departure from the initial story in The Force Awakens.
Original cast members Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher return to the series with The Force Awakens.