There was a lot in writer-director Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi that irked long-time fans of the franchise. Johnson took some risks with the movie and deviated quite a bit from the established Star Wars formula, which a lot of fans weren’t ready for. Some critics felt it was the greatest Star Wars movie ever made, while others thought it was a mess.
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One of the few things fans did universally enjoy about the movie was Benicio Del Toro’s mysterious character, known only as DJ. So with that in mind, we present Everything To Know About Benicio Del Toro’s Star Wars Character.
8 He’s a “slicer”
The official description of what DJ does for a living is “underworld slicer.” While the word “slicer” sounds like it refers to some violent profession, it’s actually just the Star Wars Universe’s equivalent of a computer hacker, which makes a lot more sense.
The Star Wars-y word for a hacker actually ties in nicely with a poetic knife metaphor that Benicio Del Toro used to describe the character’s moral compass: “He’s like a knife. If you grab him by the blade, he’ll cut you. If you grab him by the handle, he can be very, very useful.”
7 He doesn’t have a name
Rian Johnson conceived Benicio Del Toro’s character to be nameless. But since you can’t write a character in a screenplay with no name, because then the actor wouldn’t know their lines or stage directions, Johnson wrote “DJ” in all of his scenes.
If there’s one thing Disney’s Star Wars movies have struggled to do, it’s expand George Lucas’ fictional universe in ways that feel exciting and fresh as well as tonally and stylistically consistent with what came before. But having a character with no name harkens back to Lucas’ earliest influences in samurai movies and westerns, yet it’s never been done, so it feels consistent.
6 His nickname “DJ” stands for “Don’t Join”
Star Wars fans will look for clues anywhere in the run up to a new movie. They will pore through interviews with the cast and look at all the Lego sets for any hints at what scenes might be coming up in the movie. They especially look out for clues about the mysterious elements being kept under wraps.
For example, plot details about Episode IX have been scarce, so fans are looking for any indications about the story they can find. Leading up to The Last Jedi, fans noticed the words “Don’t Join” written on the hat of Benicio Del Toro’s character’s Funko POP! Vinyl figure. This seems to reflect his political philosophy – and it’s also why this nameless character’s nickname is “DJ.”
5 He doesn’t take sides
There’s a reason we can’t trust DJ and it’s not that he pretends to be on Finn and Rose’s side when really, he’s on the First Order’s side -- it’s that he’s on nobody's side. He simply doesn’t believe in political allegiances and will work on the side of whoever’s paying him the most.
According to the book Star Wars The Last Jedi The Visual Dictionary, he doesn’t care what anybody’s agenda is or what’s best for the galaxy, because he doesn’t believe in choosing sides: “He thinks larger causes are for fools, since society is just a machine looking to turn everyone into a cog.”
4 Benicio Del Toro sees it as the high point of his acting career
Benicio Del Toro has enjoyed a long career that would make most actors green with envy. He’s won an Academy Award, worked with some of the finest directors out there (including Steven Soderbergh, Denis Villeneuve, and Alejandro González Iñárritu), and combined a steady stream of independent dramas with huge blockbusters.
But as far as he’s concerned, it was all leading up to ultimately joining the Star Wars saga. That was the high point of it all. He said, “It is the culmination of my acting career. I was invited to join something very interesting – something spectacular – and it is a true honor.”
3 He has a stammer for a reason
The DJ character has a stammer throughout The Last Jedi, and according to Benicio Del Toro, that was no mistake.
He said in an interview that it was a specific character choice: “That was a choice based on the fact that he’s a genius when it comes to code-breaking, right? So, I thought that he would have an imperfection... In my experience, I’ve met people who are really good at something and might have a... a quirk, or something like that... a tick, y’know... People that are deficient in one way are extremely efficient in another way. And that was the reason why the stammer was explored.”
2 He might show up in Episode IX
This December, Episode IX will have a lot to answer for. Not only will it have to end Disney’s Star Wars sequel trilogy in a satisfying way, it will also have to win back the fans who were turned against the movies by The Last Jedi. It also has to tie up all the loose ends, of which there are plenty.
Needless to say, J.J. Abrams has his work cut out for him with the ninth chapter in the Skywalker saga. Since the last time we saw Benicio Del Toro’s DJ, he was betraying Finn and Rose, he might show up in Episode IX, just so those characters can serve him some ice-cold revenge and get closure.
1 He’s not necessarily a villain
A lot of people read DJ’s character in The Last Jedi to be a villain, because he was seen to have shaky morals when he betrayed Rose and Finn. But Benicio Del Toro said in an interview that this is a very “simplistic” view of the character, because thinking rationally, he can’t be expected to sacrifice himself for the Resistance. He hadn’t been involved in their cause for very long – certainly not enough time to decide if he’s willing to die for it – so when he was threatened by the First Order, the way Del Toro sees it, he just reacted realistically.
He said, “Suddenly, he’s put in a situation where you have a gun to your head. Will he die for the Resistance? He’s not part of the Resistance. So, why die for something that’s just... He’s been a part of it for 15 minutes. Suddenly, he’s gotta give his life for it? No, he cut a deal.”