Back in late July, news swept the Internet that Benicio Del Toro was wanted to play the main villain in Star Wars: Episode VIII. No other details were revealed at that time. No one knew which character he was set to play, or how he would fit into this story, which is being set up in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But today, the star himself has confirmed that he'll most likely menace Rey, Finn and Poe as their adventures continue in 2017.

Lucasfilm is exculsively focused on marketing Star Wars: The Force Awakens for it's release in December, so we haven't yet learned much about the next chapter in the new trilogy. Lucasfilm and Disney still have a full slate of projects that also include Anthology spinoffs, and they are all in various stages of pre-production. We do know that Rian Johnson is writing and directing the next sequel, and while it is heavily influenced by what J.J. Abrams and his brain trust are doing, it will solely be Rian Johnson's vision that we see on the screen. And that includes a new villain that may very well be portrayed by Guardians of the Galaxy's collector.

Rian Johnson is already knee-deep in pre-production work on Star Wars: Episode VIII, while J.J. Abrams hones his cut of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But we probably won't hear more about the cast until later in the year. And Disney and Lucasfilm probably won't have a full cast announcement until February or March of 2016. This weekend's D23 is expected to focus solely on Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the first spinoff Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One. Though, we might here a few splinters of news in terms of the second new sequel.

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At this time, Benicio Del Toro has not been officially confirmed by Lucasfilm or Disney. Benicio Del Toro did speak with ET Online, though, and he confirmed the news himself. It sounds like he is on the right track in joining this franchise, though we don't yet know if he sides with the Dark Lords of the Sith or if he is a member, possibly even the leader, of the newly established Knights of Ren. This is what he had to say for himself.

"I can't tell you much about it but I think that it might happen. It looks like it's gonna happen so I'm very excited. I can't talk too much about it. The script is hard to get. They told me they'd cut my finger if I talk about it."

When most fans heard that Benicio Del Toro may be joining the Star Wars universe, they seemed genuinely excited about it. And his recent fan-favorite appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy surely solidified the deal for a lot of them. If he finalizes his deal, it sounds like he'll be a welcome addition to the new cast, which also includes John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson. Benicio Del Toro is known for his sometimes menacing presence, and it should fit in nicely with the tone of the Star Wars movies.

Early reports indicate that his role is key, and at this time, while we suspect that Adam Driver's Kylo Ren will likely be back to fight alongside Benicio Del Toro, it does call into question the fates of Domhnall Gleeson's General Hux and Gwendoline Christie's Captain Phasma. Star Wars has never hesitated to kill off it's villains, even if they're extremely popular. Will these two live to see another sequel? We'll have to wait and see!

B. Alan Orange