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Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern join cast of ‘Star Wars VIII’

“Star Wars: Episode VIII,” which began production at Pinewood Studios in London on Monday, will feature many of the familiar faces from “The Force Awakens” as well as franchise newcomers Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern and feature film relative unknown Kelly Marie Tran, though Internet series diehards know her from numerous webcasts.

Tran’s acting/improv training in Los Angeles includes stints at Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade and iO West. According to EW.com, Tran had a recurring guest spot on NBC’s sitcom “About a Boy” and appeared on an episode of IFC’s “Comedy Bang! Bang!” and 2013’s “Ladies Like Us.” She was most recently featured in Lifetime’s digital series “Fall Into Me.” Fans of CollegeHumor.com videos will also be familiar with Tran’s work.

Benicio Del Toro | Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP, File
Benicio Del Toro | Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP, File

The new film is written and directed by Rian Johnson, known primarily for his work on the hit series “Breaking Bad,” as well as the films “Brick,” “The Brothers Bloom” and “Looper.” “Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams returns as executive producer.

Returning (so far) will be Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis.

“Episode VIII” is due out Dec. 15, 2017.