Has Abrams found his new villain?

Now that Benicio Del Toro is out of the running for the role of the villain in J.J. Abrams’s highly anticipated ‘Star Trek’ sequel, the hunt is on to find a replacement, and it looks like the lens flare loving director may have found his man.

Variety’s sources are claiming that Édgar Ramírez has emerged as the frontrunner to take the role, with Jordi Mollà (‘Colombiana,’ ‘Bad Boys 2’) also in the mix. The trade reports that ‘Carlos’ star Ramírez was testing for the role this week, and with the production start date looming, Abrams is expected to makes his decision soon.

Will we be seeing Ramírez playing Khan Noonien Singh in the sequel? Who knows, but it is interesting that Abrams appears committed to casting a Latin actor, mirroring the Mexico-born Ricardo Montalbán, who memorably played the iconic Khan in the original series and ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.’

Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, John Cho, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin and Simon Pegg are set to return, along with newcomers Alice Eve and Peter Weller. Abrams will once again take the director’s chair, helming from a script penned by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof.