Star Wars Episode 8's Villain to Be Played by Benicio Del Toro

The Guardians of the Galaxy star confirms bad guy role.

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As the release of Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens draws ever closer, speculation has begun on what the next part of the Star Wars saga will have in store. Rian Johnson was announced as Episode 8's writer and director last year, but now Benicio Del Toro has revealed that he has been cast as one of the film's main villains.

The star's involvement was rumoured in August, but he has now confirmed the news. In an interview with Spanish site rac1.org, Del Toro stated: "Star Wars is coming up, we will see how that turns out. I think we start shooting in March. I'm like the villain, but we'll see." This will be Del Toro's second involvement in a massive Disney-produced fantasy franchise, following his role of The Collector in the Marvel smash Guardians of the Galaxy.

Last year, Johnson--best known for his sci-fi thriller Looper--spoke about being hired to direct Episode 8 in an interview with fellow director Terry Gilliam on the TalkHouse podcast. "I'm figuring it out as I go. I'm dancing on top of the avalanche a little bit," he said. "It's a balance of remembering what inspires you about [the original films]. But you can probably go to the wrong place by feeling too responsible to it. You have to keep your head loose enough to tell a story you actually care about."

Star Wars Episode 8 is due for release on May 26, 2017. In the meantime, Episode 7 hits cinemas on December 18, 2015, while the first standalone Star Wars spin-off, Rogue One, will be released on December 16, 2016.

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