Score one for the Dark Side.
Variety reports that actor Adam Driver is close to signing on to play the lead villain role in J.J. Abrams' Star Wars Episode VII. Little is known about Driver's character, but according to the article, it's "said to be in the vein of iconic Star Wars villain Darth Vader."
The 30-year-old actor is best known as Adam Sackler on the HBO series Girls, and also appeared as Samuel Beckwith in the film Lincoln and Al Cody in Inside Llewyn Davis. Reportedly, Michael Fassbender and Hugo Weaving were also under consideration for the role.
Driver is the first of the Episode VII cast to be revealed and more announcements are expected over the next month. The movie is scheduled to begin filming in April at London's Pinewood Studios and is expected to feature the return of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in their iconic roles of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa and Han Solo.
There had been rumors of Driver's involvement, but the delay in making a decision was due to scheduling issues with Star Wars and Girls. According to the article, it wasn't just Season Four that was the problem, but also future seasons, since future Star Wars films could create conflicts. Apparently, the scheduling issues have been worked out and a deal should be finalized shortly.
Abrams recently announced that the script he co-wrote with Lawrence Kasdan was finished and that they would soon begin focusing on casting decisions. Michael Arndt wrote the original draft, with Kasdan and Abrams taking over last fall after a "difference in opinion of which characters to emphasize."
Star Wars Episode VII is currently expected to arrive in theaters on December 18, 2015.