While Lucasfilm is poised to tout Star Wars: The Force Awakens during tomorrow’s D23 convention, it appears as though the studio is also making serious moves behind the scenes regarding the next installment of the new trilogy. We learned last month that Benicio Del Toro was being eyed to play the villain in Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is being written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper). However, we weren’t inclined to get our hopes up just yet. Del Toro was famously deep in negotiations to play Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness but the deal fell apart, and he’s already a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so while the prospect of Del Toro starring in Episode VIII was a possibility, it was far from certain.
However, it now appears this deal is actually going to make. Speaking with Entertainment Tonight (of all places), Del Toro confirmed he’s in talks to join the new Star Wars universe and seems confident about it all coming together:
“I can’t tell you much about it but I think it might happen. It looks like it’s gonna happen so I’m very excited.”
The actor went on to note that he couldn’t really say anything about the film because “the script is hard to get,” joking “they told me they’d cut my finger if I talk about it.” Regardless, Del Toro is a phenomenal performer and one imagines he’ll be a swell addition to the Star Wars universe.
Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren is expected to be the principal “Big Bad” of this new trilogy, but understandably Lucasfilm has yet to announce the cast for Episode VIII. Since John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac play the new heroes in The Force Awakens, one assumes so combination of the three will be returning for the follow-up. What we do know is that Lucasfilm has an impeccably talented writer/director at the helm, and he’s thinking big—Johnson previously revealed that they considered shooting in 65mm, but due to logistical reasons they’ll simply be shooting in 35mm instead. Regardless, Episode VIII is shaping up to be a mighty exciting follow-up to Force Awakens.
Star Wars: Episode VIII is slated for release on May 26, 2017.