Despite there still being five months before Star Wars: The Force Awakens unleashes itself on cinemas, the franchise hype train continues to build up pace - next stop, Episode VIII.
Word comes from Hollywood hounders at The Wrap that Disney and Lucasfilm have approached Puerto Rican Oscar-winner Benicio del Toro (Traffic, The Usual Suspects, Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas) with an offer to play the central villain of Star Wars: Episode VIII.
Set to be written and directed by Looper filmmaker Rian Johnson, little is known about the next instalment in the main story arc of the ever-expanding Star Wars world beyond its release date: 26 May 2017, exactly 40 years after the release of Star Wars: A New Hope.
In something of a potential spoiler (so look away now before you turn all Dark Side on us), The Wrap also has word that the next episode will be led by the return of John Boyega as the double-crossing Stormtrooper Finn, Daisy Ridley as Rey and Oscar Isaac as X-wing pilot Poe Dameron.
With Johnson expected to have a hand in writing Episode IX, del Toro's villain could play a major role in the conclusion of the new trilogy - but that's assuming he'll take the part and that Star Wars won't want to have a new-villain-per-film that partly undermined episodes I, II and III. It's much easier to develop a bad guy if you don't chop them in half after sixty minutes.
We'll bring you more word on news from the galaxy far, far away as soon as it reaches us. Until then, sit back and soak yourself in the latest trailer.
[Via: The Wrap]