It’s hard to know where Benicio Del Toro’s new character stands in The Last Jedi — even when he tells us.
Before the movie began shooting, the actor hinted in a radio interview that he was playing “a villain” in the film, but in subsequent conversations, like this sit-down with Entertainment Tonight, he said, “I don’t know if he’s a villain. People are saying that, but it’s like they read a different script than I read.”
Seems like the Oscar-winner is an unreliable narrator here, but maybe he’s just staying true to his character.
All we know for sure is that Del Toro plays a man who goes by the name “DJ.” And his shabby appearance suggests someone familiar with the underbelly of the galaxy.
As part of EW’s cover story about The Last Jedi, Lucasfilm has revealed a little more.
Here’s the official one-liner on him: “DJ is an enigmatic figure whose tattered, threadbare clothes and lackadaisical attitude conceal a sharp mind and expert skills.”
We also know that DJ is part of the mission that John Boyega’s Finn and Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose undertake to the wealthy, gambling resort city of Canto Bight. But … do they bring him there? Do they capture him there? Do they free him there?
That’s something the film itself will have to reveal. But as part of our cover story, we also got a closer look at the structure Lucasfilm identifies as the exterior of the central casino we’ve seen in other images.
With so much money and jewelry on display, and so many powerful figures gathered from throughout the various star systems, the casino is surrounded by law enforcement. There are landing pads for spike-winged police speeders, with armored security officers patrolling the perimeter. (You can click the image to expand to a high-res version.)
It’s a perfect place for an unscrupulous figure like DJ to practice his craft, and Del Toro’s co-stars did reveal a bit more about his “expert skills.”
“We just need a codebreaker and he’s the best in the galaxy. Unfortunately, he’s very dodgy and only in it for financial gain. He doesn’t fight for any side,” Boyega says.
In Star Wars parlance, a hacker is known as a “slicer,” and this is a side of the lore that the movies haven’t typically explored. Most of the saga has been devoted to the mystical side of things — the Jedi, the Sith, the Force — rather than the technological aspects George Lucas placed within his sci-fi/fantasy.
The saga also usually has clear lines between good and evil, but the uncertainty over where DJ stands has a simple explanation: he’s neither. To him, the heroes and the villains aren’t enemies — they’re opponents.
Until there’s something in it for him.
“He has distinct opinions,” Boyega says. “The Resistance bombs the First Order one day, the First Order bombs the Resistance on another. It’s an ongoing war that will never end. For him, he’s trying to benefit off of that — which doesn’t make him the person you want to trust.”
Tran describes Del Toro’s performance as coiled and disturbing. “When I was onset with that character, I felt like there was a tiger in the room, and I always had to be watching,” she says. “Like an animal, at any moment he could do something, and I didn’t know what.”
With DJ, the unexpected is the best we can expect.
FRIDAY: Rian Johnson on why Rey’s family history matters so much.
Part 1 – Luke and Rey
Part 2 – Finn and Rose
Part 3 – Porgs and Caretakers
Part 4 – Snoke and the Praetorian Guard
Part 5 – Leia and Poe
Part 6 – Benicio Del Toro’s DJ