Rian Johnson Bringing “Cool, Sci-Fi Realism” To Star Wars: Episode VIII


Rian Johnson, director of Brick, The Brothers Bloom and more recently, Looper, has been thrust into the big leagues after landing the gig for Star Wars: Episode VIII, and actor Benicio Del Toro can’t think of a better fit for Disney’s galaxy far, far away. The Sicario star is on board to play the sequel’s lead villain (or is he?), but beyond that there’s little-to-no information about the actual plot.

Fear not, though, because if Del Toro is to be believed, we’re in for a special kind of treat with Episode VIII, after the actor revealed that Johnson is bringing a healthy dose of “cool, sci-fi realism” to the studio’s prized space opera.


Much like the brand of realism that anchored the director’s time-hopping Looper in 2012, Del Toro claims that fans can expect a similar tone with Star Wars: Episode VIII, though stopped short of revealing his own role in Disney’s grand rebooted universe.

In an interview with Empire while promoting Denis Villeneuve’s hardboiled drugs thriller, here’s what the actor said:

“[He’s going to] bring a cool, sci-fi realism, if I may say that,” del Toro explained of Johnson’s aesthetic. “I love his film Looper, and I just like talking to him about the film. He’s one of those new talented people that Star Wars is hiring to infuse the franchise with new steroids.”

Beyond the much-contested part of the villain, the casting department on Star Wars: Episode VIII is a hive of activity, with Gugu Mbatha-Raw acting as the latest actress in contention for the lead female part. She’s joined by Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), Orphan Black starlet Tatiana Maslany and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl breakout Olivia Cooke, though there’s nothing conclusive to report at this time.

Star Wars: Episode VIII will arrive in theaters with all of its “cool sci-fi” glory on May 26, 2017.