4:01 pm EST, February 26, 2014

Adam Driver to play lead villain in ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’

By Andrew Sims | Edited by Karen Rought

Star Wars: Episode VII’s first cast member appears to be Adam Driver, who’s in final negotiations to play the villain.

According to Variety, the 30-year-old Girls actor will take on a villainous role “in the vein of” Darth Vader.

UPDATE: Driver’s Girls co-star Lena Dunham appears to have confirmed the news…

Driver has been in the running for a part for a couple of months, but his deal has only come together recently after ironing out scheduling issues.

Those scheduling concerns reportedly involved making sure he had time to film future seasons of HBO’s Girls (in which he plays the boyfriend of Lena Dunham’s character) while balancing – potentially – Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX.

The San Diego-born actor was last seen on the silver screen in the Coen Brother’s Inside Llewyn Davis. In case you don’t remember, he’s the one that kept repeating, “Please don’t shoot me into outer space!” in the background of the “Please Mr. Kennedy” number. Seems that J.J. Abrams didn’t catch that.

There are several ways to look at the “Darth Vader-esque” casting announcement. It may mean that he’s been cast across several movies as the main antagonist for the continuing series, or it could mean he will play a masked baddie that may be voiced by a different actor altogether, like they did with David Prowse and James Earl Jones in A New Hope. Or it could just mean that he’s a major villain. There are lots of ways to digest this news, and also plenty of ways to speculate on what it could mean for the Star Wars universe.

Though the new Star Wars trilogy was announced in 2012, no announcements about its cast or story have been made by Disney. There was one big hiccup when Episode VII was pushed from summer to winter 2015 in light of a slower-than-expected development process.

At last check, director J.J. Abrams said the script had been finished. Filming is expected to begin in the spring in England.

Numerous actors have reportedly taken meetings for a role in Episode VII (and possibly beyond), including Gary Oldman and Jesse Plemons.

The only cast member we know of officially? R2D2.

Star Wars: Episode VII will open in theaters December 18, 2015.

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