Benicio Del Toro ‘offered villain role’ in next ‘Star Wars’ film

He's apparently wanted for 'Star Wars: Episode VIII', which is set for release on May 26, 2017

Benicio Del Toro is reportedly being courted for the next Star Wars film.

Star Wars: Episode VIII, the follow-up to this year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is set for release on May 26, 2017. Rian Johnson (Looper, Breaking Bad) will take over the director’s chair from JJ Abrams and is also writing the follow-up’s script.

Casting for Episode VIII is still in its early stages, but Del Toro is said to have been offered a role as its main villain after Joaquin Phoenix apparently turned the part down. However, Variety reports that a deal between Del Toro and Lucasfilm “is still far away from coming together”.

Meanwhile, Lucasfilm is also working on a series of Star Wars spin-off films which it has titled the “Anthology Series”. The first spin-off, Rogue One starring Felicity Jones, will arrive on December 16, 2016. A second spin-off film focusing on the origins of Harrison Ford’s iconic character Han Solo, was announced earlier this month. The currently untitled film is set for release on May 25, 2018.

JJ Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens is due on December 18 this year. Check out a behind-the-scenes reel released at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this month here.