Benicio Del Toro thinks 'Star Wars: Episode VIII' director Rian Johnson will ''infuse the franchise with new steroids''.

The 48-year-old actor has signed up to star in the sci-fi sequel which will be released sometime in 2017 and he thinks the decision made by Disney bosses to draft in 'Looper' filmmaker Rian Johnson to helm and write the script as well as a bunch of other ''talented'' production staff is a good one.

Asked what Rian brings to the franchise, he said: ''I think a cool, sci-fi realism if I may say that, if that makes any sense. You know I love his film 'Looper' and his other work, and I just like talking to him about the film. He's one of those new talented people that 'Star Wars' is hiring, to like, infuse the franchise with new steroids.''

The first new film in the franchise, 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens', is set for release this December and has been directed by sci-fi junkie J.J. Abrams.

Benicio - who stars opposite British beauty Emily Blunt in FBI crime thriller 'Sicario' - is thrilled to have joined the 'Star Wars' universe because the first film in the series, 'Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope', left a ''mark'' on him as a child and he still has the promotional cards of his favourite characters Han Solo and Chewbacca, stored away somewhere.

He told Empire magazine: ''I grew up with lobby cards of Star Wars glued to my wall. Back when they had lobby cards. I still have the whole collection, I mean well I might have lost a few. But I liked Han Solo, Chewbacca, I liked them all. Especially that first 'Star Wars', then 'The Empire Strikes Back' and 'Return of The Jedi', those three were movies that I saw as a youngster and you know kind of marked me. Especially the first one.''