Star Wars Episode VII isn’t even in theaters yet—but a big new bad guy is being cast for the next Star Wars episode. Word has it Benicio Del Toro has been offered a villainous role in Star Wars Episode VIII, which Rian Johnson will direct for release on May 26, 2017.
Del Toro, an Oscar winner for his role in Traffic, was rumored to be up for the role of Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness and did play the creepy Collector in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. According to The Wrap, he currently has an offer to play the role, but has yet to accept. He’s a fan—and filmmaker—favorite to play menacing, crazy characters though, so either way this casting makes perfect sense. (Also of note, Variety reports Joaquin Phoenix was up for the role, and Heroic Hollywood says he passed.)
Here’s the bigger question. We know Kylo Ren, General Hux, Captain Phasma and Supreme Leader Snoke are all bad guys in Episode VII, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. How does this new, obviously important villain, fit in? Could it be Snoke’s boss? Sort of the Emperor character of the sequel trilogy? Is it an old character from the past? Remember the Emperor was first introduced in The Empire Strikes Back, not A New Hope, so a late reveal would have precedence.
Johnson, who wrote and will direct this middle film in the trilogy, is expected to start filming early next year.