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Star Wars Episode VII may have found its villain

Actor Adam Driver may not be a household name, but if a new report about the 30-year-old is to be believed, that may change very soon.

Variety reports that the Girls star is in negotiations to appear in Star Wars Episode VII as the main villain, a role that dozens of actors have been rumored for, including Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Fassbender. Driver’s name has been connected with Star Wars for months now, but scheduling concerns apparently presented the biggest hurdle to officially casting him. Driver can be seen as Adam Sackler in HBO’s Girls, which is currently airing its third season and has already been confirmed for a fourth to air in 2015. The filmmakers were reportedly trying to work around the filming schedule of the TV show, as well as making sure scheduling doesn’t become an issue in the future, assuming the character returns to later Star Wars films and Girls continues past four seasons. 

Sources have now confirmed to Variety that the scheduling issues have been resolved, and a signing is expected within the next few days.

So far Disney has remained silent about any and all Star Wars casting news, fully embracing the World War II adage, “Loose Lips Sink Ships.” In this case, however, the “ships” should be replaced by “jobs” or even “careers,” making casting rumors difficult to confirm. But with director J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan having finished the script for Episode VII, official casting news is imminent. This is Star Wars, after all. Once deals are finalized, the movie could film in North Korea and there would be leaks. It’s too big a property with too passionate a fanbase to not find out at least some of the major details, especially those that leave a public paper trail.  

Driver has had a relatively meteoric rise, and was considered “hot” in Hollywood even before this rumored involvement with Star Wars. He began his professional career just five years ago, and quickly gained the attention of Hollywood studios following a handful of stage and TV performances topped off by a role in Clint Eastwood’s 2011 J. Edgar, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Driver went on to have a breakout year in 2012. Along with roles in four major films – including the critically acclaimed Frances Ha and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln - Driver was also cast in the Lena Dunham HBO comedy. Based on that performance he was nominated for a 2013 Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Driver can next be seen in theaters later this year in Jeff Nichols’s (Mud, Take Shelter) Midnight Special, along with Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton, and Michael Shannon. He was also tapped to appear in Martin Scorsese’s Silence, with Andrew Garfield and Liam Neeson. 

There’s no word on exactly who Driver will play, but sources claim he would appear as the primary villain. The role is said to be in the vein of Darth Vader, which could mean Driver will play a member of the Sith. Of course, like the casting news itself, the filmmakers have not confirmed that.