Rumors, conjectures, all sorts of things have flown, but now Benicio Del Toro is making it really official: he's in Star Wars Episode VIII. And for those who like to keep these things marked on their calendars, he even announced when shooting starts.
He did an interview in Spanish which was translated and sent over to StarWars7News (they're a little outside their depth with Star Wars 8 news, don't you think?):
Interviewer: And are you going to shoot something after that?
Benicio Del Toro: No, just… *pause* Star Wars is coming up, we will see how that turns out. I think we start shooting in March.
Interviewer: And what’s your role in this new Star Wars chapter?
Benicio: Ehhh…. the thing is…. They don’t let me talk too much about it, I’m like the villain.
Interviewer: Oh wow!
Benicio: But…. we’ll see…*laughs*
The site notes something interesting: in Spanish Del Toro's statement is wishy washy. He doesn't say he is the villain, he's saying he is like the villain, and that's not in the way we Americans drop 'like' into sentences as a placeholder. So is it possible that Del Toro's character is a third party troublemaker? Not quite a bad guy but also not a good guy - think crime lord types, for instance. Or is it possible that Star Wars secrecy is so tight Del Toro doesn't even know who he is playing?
We'll find out... eventually.