benicio del toro

Although Star Wars: The Force Awakens is still months away from release, a new rumor claims Disney is already looking toward Episode VIII. The Wrap reports Benicio Del Toro is in talks to play an unspecified villain role. Yes, please!

Del Toro is more than capable of slotting into the Star Wars universe, having proved his acting chops in films like Traffic, Savages, 21 Grams and more. And he's no stranger to the sci-fi world, having played The Collector in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy. Del Toro has phenomenal range as an actor, and has an understated ability to be dramatic without overdoing it. He's subtle, and can add plenty of menace to the world of Star Wars.

It's worth noting that a separate report claims Joaquin Phoenix, who is no stranger to villain roles, has also been approached by Disney for the same role. However, Phoenix apparently passed it up, according to Heroic Hollywood.

What's notable about the rumor, aside from Del Toro's potential involvement, is what it says about Episode VII. We already know characters like General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) are all set to make appearances in Episode VII, so how would Del Toro's character fit in? And does this mean that some of the characters mentioned above die in The Force Awakens?

I would say that's unlikely, which means Episode VIII will be stuffed with quite the fantastic roster of bad guys.

Rian Johnson, who is famous for 2012's Looper, is set to direct Star Wars: Episode VIII, which doesn't come out until 2016. Perhaps The Force Awakens, which is set for a Dec. 18, 2015 release, will give us some hints as to what villain Del Toro might play.