At this point we haven’t even arrived at the release date for Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet, but with Disney and Lucasfilm laying out an expanding slate of new films, it’s never too early to look to the future. Looper director Rian Johnson is set to take the helm on Star Wars: Episode VIII, which doesn’t hit theaters until May 2017, but just the other day they cast the film’s main villain, Benicio Del Toro. The Oscar-winning actor is in talks to play the primary antagonist, and while we don’t know who he is, we’ve got some ideas.
This is, obviously, sheer conjecture. We don’t even know what happens in The Force Awakens, so trying to predict what is going to happen in the movie beyond that is a bit of a stretch, but looking to the Expanded Universe, there are some intriguing possibilities we wouldn’t mind seeing on screen. Granted, the EU is no longer official cannon, but Lucasfilm has said that it’s open for potential mining for future installments, so it’s possible that we could see one of these characters, or even just specific traits, in the movies sometime over the next few years. And what the hell, half the fun of these new Star Wars movies is trying to figure out what the hell they’re going to do.
Grand Admiral ThrawnGrand Admiral Thrawn is a nasty enough villain to warrant his own series of books in the Expanded Universe, as well as appearances in numerous other installments. An Imperial officer, after the destruction of the second Death Star and the death of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader, he took command of the remaining forces left in disarray intending to attack the fledgling new republic. A cold, calculating military man, Del Toro could play Thrawn as a large-scale villain, orchestrating everything, much like the Emperor before him. Perhaps he could even be the big bag lurking in the background, controlling the First Order, pulling the strings of The Force Awakens villains like Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma, and General Hux.
Tsavong LahTsavong Lah is a brutal piece work that, should he show up in Episode VIII, would be a force to be reckoned with. The Warmaster of the Yuuzhan Vong, also known as the Chosen Race—a fanatically religious alien species that invade that far, far away galaxy from the Unknown Regions and cause quite a ruckus—Lah forms an obsessive vendetta against the Jedi, specifically Han Solo and Princess Leia’s children. In the EU, this is Jaina and Jacen Solo, and while there are rumors that Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) could possibly be Han and Leia’s kids, we don’t know for sure. However, if they are, it’s possible this character, or some equivalent, could come into play. This does seem unlikely due to the logistics of introducing the Unknown Regions, an entirely new race, and not to mention the violent deaths of many characters, new and old, but Benicio Del Toro playing a heavily made-up, vicious alien warrior has too much promise to pass up.
Joruus C’baothAt this point we’re used to seeing Sith Lords show up and cause drama in the Star Wars universe, but what about the insane clone of a Dark Jedi? Created by Emperor Palpatine as a clone of Jedi Master Jorus C’baoth, Joruus C’baoth (they just added an extra "u") was the guardian of a warehouse who, when discovered by Admiral Thrawn, was recruited to help his campaign to destroy the New Republic. The mad clone attempted to lure both Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia to the Dark Side, and between that and his link to Palpatine, he could provide an interesting narrative through line to the new movies. Also, the idea of Benicio Del Toro playing a crazy, bearded, evil Jedi clone sounds like a pretty damn good time to us.
Darth KraytOriginally a fallen Old Republic Jedi named A’Sharad Hett, Darth Krayt was first introduced on the pages of Dark Horse’s Star Wars comics. He’s a character with a timeline that begins in the prequels and extends beyond the original trilogy. Surviving the Jedi Purge after Order 66, which outlawed the Jedi Order following the Clone Wars, he ultimately went to the Dark Side and became a prisoner of the Yuuzhan Vong in the Unknown Region, where he became Darth Krayt. 30 plus years after the original trilogy, it might take some doing to reconfigure his story to fit the timeline, but he is an evil that has sustained and survived, and would be a formidable foe for the heroes of Episode VIII to face off against. He founded the One Sith, rebuilding the enemy of the Jedi, and his presence could certainly set the stage for some epic battles between the Jedi and the Sith.
Talon KarrdeA smuggler and generally unsavory character, Talon Karrde is an outlaw and gangster who specializes in brokering information. More than a hardcore villain, Talon is an amoral businessman selling his services to the highest bidder. He allies himself with the New Republic when it benefits him—he actually saves Luke Skywalker’s life—but he also deals with the Imperial Remnant. He has other ties to Luke through Mara Jade, who Luke eventually marries in the EU, and he actually fights alongside Lando Calrissian when the Yuuzhan Vong invade. So he’s not really a villain, he’s just essentially a shady character and a scoundrel. This doesn’t sound like what Del Toro’s role will be, but you have to admit that watching him play a slimy, not quite trustworthy underworld figure, whose allegiances you’re never sure of, could be a blast. However, it might be too similar to his other Disney-based character, The Collector in Guardians of the Galaxy.