Xaviersamuel_290 Channing Tatum is out as the “Twilight” saga’s “Eclipse” baddie. In? A virtual unknown.

Australian actor Xavier Samuels will play “Eclipse’s” Riley for his first U.S. role, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In Stephenie Meyer’s original novel, Riley is head of a vampire army created by vamp Victoria (remember her from the first flick?) to get back at Bella and Edward for killing James.

See pictures from ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’

The movie’s writer, Melissa Rosenberg, had been holding out for “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” star Tatum as Riley.

“And there are some complexities to that character,” Rosenberg told E! Online in April. “He really is tragic. He’s a puppet for Victoria [bad-girl vampire played by Rachelle Lefevre]. So he has to break your heart a little bit at the end when he realizes that she doesn’t want him. Channing could do that beautifully.”

Filming on “Eclipse” begins in August for a June 30, 2010, release.

Follow Zap2it on Twitter for the latest TV, movie and celebrity news updates.

Related:

‘Twilight: Eclipse’ wants ‘Fighting’ star Channing Tatum
Twilight’s ‘Eclipse’ greenlit for August
Twilight’s ‘Eclipse’ gets director David Slade
‘Eclipse’ to follow ‘New Moon’
Summit develops ‘Twilight’ sequels

Posted by:Andy Grieser