Puerto Rican actor Benicio del Toro is reportedly being courted by Disney and Lucasfilm to star in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII, the second film in the Star Wars trilogy by director Rian Johnson.

The Wrap reports that Disney has set its sights on del Toro, although no final decisions have been made between the actor's camp and the movie studios. The Academy Award-winning actor has proven his acting chops for his role as an honest cop in Steven Soderbergh's 2000 crime drama Traffic, for which del Toro bagged numerous awards, including an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

More recently, del Toro has been seen active in genre projects, most notably his cameo role as The Collector in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, although he said he would not return to reprise his role in the upcoming sequel. The actor was also purported to have been offered the role of the villain Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness, although the role ultimately ended up in the hands of Benedict Cumberbatch.

Del Toro will soon appear on the big screen with co-star Emily Blunt for Denis Villeneuve's crime drama Sicario, which debuted to an impressed audience at the Cannes Film Festival in May. He is also working on an untitled movie by Terrence Malick, who directed The Thin Red Line and The Tree of Life.

If the reports are true, Star Wars fans are in for some extra-villainy goodness for the yet untitled film. Del Toro would follow in the footsteps of Adam Driver, star of Girls, who plays the bad guy Kylo Ren in J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

However, not everyone is convinced that del Toro is indeed joining the Star Wars galaxy. As Entertainment Weekly reports, neither Disney and Lucasfilm nor del Toro are rushing to seal the deal on paper. In fact, the Hollywood magazine says its sources have gleaned nothing much from the meetings between the studios and the actor.

The Star Wars franchise has been known to sign up big actors for the film. If del Toro ultimately declines, or if the studios revoke their reported offer, Her actor Joaquin Phoenix is another candidate reportedly being eyed, claims Variety. For now, the unspecified villainous role seems to be open to anybody.

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Photo Eva Rinaldi | Flickr

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