The much-awaited cast of “Star Wars 8” has finally been revealed while the seventh installment of the franchise continues to earn in the global box office.

Lucasfilm and Disney announced on Monday the new additions in the upcoming sequel of the iconic franchise. The new cast includes Oscar-winner Benicio Del Toro and “Enlightened” star Laura Dern, Entertainment Weekly reported.

The casting of Del Toro did come as a surprise. Variety reported last summer that the actor had landed a role as a major villain in the “Star Wars” epic saga. Although Disney had not confirmed his casting on Monday, Del Toro hinted in an August interview with Entertainment Tonight that he is ready to join the Dark Side.

“I can’t tell you much about it but I think that it might happen. It looks like it’s gonna happen so I’m very excited,” the actor told ET.

Disney also released a video teaser which showed a different angle of the final scene from “The Force Awakens.” The scene featured the meeting between Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).

There have been rumours that Luke Skywalker’s wife will return in Episode 8. Speculations have it that Rey is actually Luke Skywalker’s daughter and Mara Jade may be the mother.

Meanwhile, “Star Wars: Episode VIII” began principal photography on Monday, USA Today reported. Apparently filming is also in  progress  in London.

Rian Johnson will direct and write Episode 8, which continues the storyline introduced in Episode 7. “Rey took her first steps into a larger world in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will continue her epic journey with Finn, Poe, and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the continuing Star Wars saga,” the studio publicity statement said.

Returning cast members are Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie and Andy Serkis. Aside from del Toro and Laura Dern, newcomer Kelly Marie will be making her debut in the upcoming episode eight.

“Star Wars 8” is expected to be released Dec. 15, 2017.

“Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” has set box office record and became the widest grossing film of all time. It surpassed the US$2 billion mark (AU$281 billion) in worldwide box office and has domestic release earning of more than AU$1.26 billion (US$900 million). On top of the global revenue, “Star Wars” merchandise and other consumer products also contributed another AU$4.1 billion (US$3 billion).