Filming for Star Wars: Episode VIII has finally begun today in London, and to kick off the media frenzy that is sure to ensue, Disney has officially announced two new cast members: Benicio del Toro and Laura Dern.

Obviously, it’s too early to know just what sort of characters each actor will portray, but it’s clearly just the beginning of a wave of news and rumors we’ll be slammed with over the next several months until Episode VIII releases on December 15, 2017.

This will be Del Toro’s second foray in a recent Disney franchise after his appearance as The Collector in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. He is set to reprise that role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, set for release May 5, 2017.


Dern has noticeably kept out of major franchises since her time in the world Jurassic Park. After 2001’s Jurassic Park III she has appeared mostly in supporting roles in independent yet solid films such as The Fault In Our Stars and Wild.


Star Wars: Episode VIII is directed by Rian Johnson and will see stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac return along with Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Adam Driver. There are also rumors of a possible appearance by a particular Star Wars actor from previous films (think The Chosen One), but for now that rumor has not moved past mere speculation.

As filming for Episode VIII continues eyes are set on the franchise’s next release: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Starring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn and a host of other recognizable faces, Rogue One follows the team that daringly set out to steal the Empire’s plans to the Death Star (the result of which is the plotline of Star Wars: Episode I- A New Hope).

Rogue One hits theaters December 16.