Los Angeles - Benicio del Toro is in talks to play the main villain in Star Wars: Episode VIII.
The Guardians of the Galaxy actor is being lined up to play a baddie in the sci-fi sequel, insiders have told TheWrap.
Although discussions are still in the early stages, both Disney and Lucasfilm are said to be keen to sign the 48-year-old star up for the film, which is to be directed by Rian Johnson.
del Toro is believed to be a good fit for the role because of his ability to "conjure menace on a whim" and would continue Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens director J. J. Abrams' diverse vision for the franchise that is being led by John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac.
Star Wars: Episode VIII is scheduled to being shooting early next year while it is slated for release on 26 May 2017, following the release of Episode VII this December.
del Toro - who has previously revealed he may not return for the Guardians sequel - will next be seen starring alongside Emily Blunt in the crime drama Sicario and is also set to appear alongside Idris Elba in Harmony Korine's The Trap.
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