Action star Donnie Yen clinches Jedi role in Episode VIII of Star Wars: report

Hong Kong actor Donnie Yen will play a Chinese Jedi who meets iconic character Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars movie.
Hong Kong actor Donnie Yen will play a Chinese Jedi who meets iconic character Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars movie.PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG - Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen is to star in Episode VIII of the Star Wars franchise, said a report.

According to Apple Daily, Yen is expected to be in London early next month to start film work.

He will play a Chinese Jedi who meets iconic character Han Solo and becomes his ally, said Apple.

The newspaper did not cite any sources or official confirmation for its story today, and named Harrison Ford as returning to play Han Solo.

It said Yen won the role over eight other actors including Jet Li, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Wang Leehom, Chang Chen, Daniel Wu and Stephen Chow.

He and Li were favoured because of their fighting skills and proficiency in English, but Disney eventually gave the role to Yen, who commands US$4 million (S$5.4 million) per movie, and not Li whose fee is US$10 million.

Apple said Yen, 51, was confirmed for the role about a month ago but is under an agreement not to leak the news.

Disney announced in March that Episode VIII would come out on May 26, 2017, to be written and directed by Rian Johnson (Loope, 2012).

J. J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens opens in the United States on Dec 18.

The cast list of Episode VIII on movie website IMDb features only Oscar Isaac.

The actor plays Poe Dameron in Episode VII and he revealed in March that he will appear in Episode VIII as well, according to IMDb.