The ball is rolling on Quentin Tarantino’s next pastiche project, Django Unchained, and rumors continue to circulate about who exactly will play the titular ex-slave-on-a-revenge-mission. For now, though, fans will just have to be satisfied with the knowledge that the film has snagged an official release date.

Django Unchained is set to hit theaters on December 25th, 2012 – and much like this year’s Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, it’ll offer extra appeal to moviegoers who are looking for something on the darker and more violent side to watch during the holidays.

So far there have been three actors – Will Smith, Idris Elba, and most recently Jamie Foxx – rumored as candidates to star in Tarantino’s next film. While all three of these gentleman have their share of supporters and detractors, the one thing fans do seem to agree on is that Tarantino excels at making excellent (if often unorthodox) casting decisions. So whomever he ultimately selects for the role of Django has the potential to make the part an iconic one.

Leonardo DiCaprio is the only star who appears to be officially set for Django Unchained, which will feature the multiple Oscar-nominee as a vicious slave plantation baron who owns Django’s wife. Both Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson look to be all but locked for the respective roles of a German bounty hunter (Waltz) who joins forces with Django on his mission to rescue his wife, and DiCaprio’s right-hand man, an older slave and (according to an unconfirmed early screenplay description) an “expert manipulator” who aims to take Django down (Jackson).

Sergio Corbuccci's 'Django' inspired the title of Tarantino's new film.

Tarantino is undeniably talented at taking pulpy genre elements, tropes, and aesthetic hallmarks, and re-mixing them together with his now recognizable brand of sharp dialogue and preference for playing with genre conventions. The result is usually a final product that both pays homage to the classic films he loves, while also working as its own original creation. That was very much the case with pictures like Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, and Inglourious Basterds, so there’s all the more reason for Taratino fans to be excited about what the unique auteur has up his sleeve this time.

We’ll keep you updated on the status of Django Unchained as more information is released.

Source: The Weinstein Company