One down, two to go.
According to an exclusive from The Wrap, Benicio del Toro is in talks to play “the villain” in Rian Johnson’s Star Wars Episode VIII.
The Wrap’s sources, who are “multiple individuals familiar with [the] casting process,” say that “discussions are still in very early stages.”
Benicio del Toro as The Collector in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Benicio del Toro is chiefly known for his acclaimed and Oscar-winning role in Traffic, a drama about illegal drug trade. He has also been in The Wolfman, and Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy as the colorful (and creepy) Collector.
As to what sort of villain Toro will allegedly be playing, The Wrap has not released that information. I personally am of the school that believes Supreme Leader Snoke (played by talented mocap genius Andy Serkis) is the main villain of all three films in the sequel trilogy. If that belief turns out to be fact, then del Toro could be playing any number of different sub-villains: a gangster, a smuggler, a First Order officer. Even a Sith Lord or apprentice is not out of the question at this point in the game (think of how old Count Dooku was as an apprentice to Darth Sidious; Christopher Lee was in his late seventies-early eighties, while del Toro is only forty-eight).
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If, however, del Toro is playing the villain of the series, then that changes the game somewhat. After all, Emperor Palpatine, who can be considered the villain (meaning the ultimate source of all the antagonism) of the original trilogy, didn’t even make an appearance until The Empire Strikes Back. It’s entirely plausible that Supreme Leader Snoke is merely a servant to someone higher up, or that he is defeated in The Force Awakens, allowing someone else (someone worse) to take his place.
Whatever status del Toro’s character will hold in the hierarchy of villainy, I am confident that, if he is indeed to be a member of the Episode VIII cast, he will deliver a fantastic performance. I’ve only seen him as The Collector in the Marvel cinematic universe, but the creepiness that he infused into the part is enough to convince me that he would make an excellent villain.
As always with reports and rumors, we await official confirmation from Disney and Lucasfilm.
Star Wars Episode VIII is set to premiere May 26th, 2017.