Take this one with a hearty grain of salt until more official confirmation comes our way, but Hong Kong tabloid Apple Daily is reporting that martial artist and action star Donnie Yen has scored a role in Lucasfilm and Disney’s Star Wars Episode VIII, which will be the third of the relaunched Star Wars films to hit theaters.
Rian Johnson (Looper) is directing the film, which will reportedly be shooting in London next month. Yen, best known for the Ip Man trilogy, will supposedly take on the role of a Jedi and have at least one scene with Harrison Ford’s Han Solo. Currently, only Oscar Isaac, playing Poe Dameron, is confirmed for Johnson’s pic.
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According to the report, studio execs were looking at Yen and Jet Li for the role, but Li’s asking price was far higher. Stephen Chow, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Daniel Wu, Wang Leehom and Chang Chen were all also considered for the part. From a studio perspective, adding international flavor to the casts of blockbusters like the Star Wars movies is a no-brainer, given how strongly movies like Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Furious 7 performed abroad this year.
Meanwhile, Twitch Film is saying that, though Apple Daily’s track record is unproven, it had heard separate rumblings that studios were searching for Chinese actors to take on roles in Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars spinoff Rogue One, which just started rolling cameras last week. As such, even if Yen isn’t in Star Wars Episode VIII, there’s a chance he could pop up elsewhere in the galaxy far, far away.