Benicio del Toro In Talks To Play ‘Star Wars’ Villain

A Star Wars villain is usually a memorable character, and, if rumors are true, veteran character actor Benicio del Toro could soon be joining the rogues gallery.

In true Star Wars fashion, nothing has been confirmed, but multiple sources are reporting that del Toro is being considered to appear as a Star Wars villain (if not THE Star Wars villain) in Episode VIII.

According to Variety, it wouldn’t be the first time del Toro has been considered for a villainous role. He was previously in talks to play Khan in the Star Trek reboot sequel. That part eventually went to Benedict Cumberbatch.

Although del Toro missed out on a chance to be a part of the Star Trek universe, he did manage to snag a role in the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe. Del Toro has appeared twice as The Collector, most prominently in Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Nerdist reports that del Toro might not have been Lucasfilm’s first choice for the role, however. According to the site, A-list actor Joaquin Phoenix was previously considered to be the next big Star Wars villain. It’s unclear why they didn’t pursue with Phoenix.

Entertainment Weekly points out that del Toro is still not a lock for the part. The magazine notes that the filming is still a long way off. In addition, directors and producers of high-profile films will also talk to a number of actors before settling on one. In addition to the casting change that took place in the Star Trek sequel, Entertainment Weekly also notes that 12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor had been talked about for a role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The part eventually went to John Boyega.

Adding Star Wars villain to his resume could be seen as icing on the cake for del Toro, whose film roles include parts in Snatch, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and The Usual Suspects. He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2001 for his work in the film Traffic.

Because Disney discarded much of the Star Wars expanded universe when it acquired Lucasfilm in October 2012, it’s unclear which villain del Toro might play. Regardless, it will be 2017 before fans may get to see him onscreen as a Star Wars villain. Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn’t set to premiere until December 18, and the standalone film Star Wars: Rogue One will be released in December 2016.

[Photo be Ian Gavan/Getty Images]