Multiple sources are telling TheWrap that Benicio del Toro, who won an Oscar for his performance in Traffic, has been offered the main villainous role in Star Wars: Episode VIII, which Rian Johnson (Looper) has closed a deal to direct for Lucasfilm and Disney.
Discussions are still in early stages for the acclaimed actor, who is well-versed in everything Disney thanks to his part as The Collector in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but execs are reportedly euphoric about handing over the role of a key antagonist to del Toro.
Disney and Lucasfilm went after an A-list actor for the role – Joaquin Phoenix was also a contender, but he passed on the role. Interestingly, del Toro was at one point rumored to be playing antagonist Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness – but we all remember how that one turned out.
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No word yet on exactly which character del Toro would be playing, but the actor is immediately a strong fit for the part of a menacing villain, given his history of playing sickeningly evil individuals in everything from Oliver Stone’s Savages to Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City. It’s not too much to speculate that del Toro would be linked to the First Order, the main villainous organization of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which is directed by J.J. Abrams and will serve to relaunch the iconic sci-fi/fantasy franchise this December.
Del Toro doesn’t come cheap, so one can also assume that whichever role he’s being locked in for will span multiple films. The actor will next be seen in Denis Villeneuve’s drug-cartel actioner Sicario, opening this fall.
Johnson is beginning production on Episode VIII early next year in order to meet a planned release date of May 26, 2017. Tell us, do you think del Toro would be a good fit in the galaxy far, far away, or is this not the actor that fans are looking for?