Ben Acker and Ben Blacker discuss the breakout character’s one-shot!
“It’s all a machine, partner. Live free, don’t join.”
The credo of DJ, the mysterious “slicer” portrayed by Benicio Del Toro in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” defined the character, but audiences were left with a range of questions about this opportunist. Who is he, exactly? Where did he come from? Well, on January 31, in STAR WARS: DJ – MOST WANTED #1, Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, and Kev Walker take a stab at answering those queries.
We caught up with Acker and Blacker to find out what it was like to play in the newest corner of the Star Wars sandbox.
Marvel.com: DJ is one of the breakout characters from “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” but he remains a mysterious figure within the film’s narrative. What was the process like for filling in his backstory?
Ben Acker: We got to take a look at some of the script of “The Last Jedi” to read about DJ in advance of the movie. The script was full of spoilers! It gave us a good jumping off place as far as ideas of what kind of guy DJ is and what kind of story we might like to tell about him. From there it was a collaboration with Jordan D. White and Heather Antos, our amazing editor and assistant editor at Marvel, as well as the fine folks at Lucasfilm.
Ben Blacker: I think the important thing to take from this is that we got to read Rian’s “The Last Jedi” script in advance. But in all seriousness, the biggest thing we got from both the script and from Lucasfilm’s Story Group was nailing down DJ’s basic worldview. That was a guiding principle through several iterations of the comic script.
Marvel.com: Where do we find DJ in this one-shot?
Ben Acker: DJ is causing trouble on Canto Bight. Part of the fun of a story like this one is that we get to explore not just a character but a world as well. Who wouldn’t want to spend more time on Canto Bight?
Ben Blacker: Look, he doesn’t think he’s causing trouble. He’s just doing what he does.
Marvel.com: How does DJ differ from the other Star Wars characters you’ve written before? What makes him unique?
Ben Acker: He’s a twisty-turny guy, looking out for number one, and he’s either a couple of steps ahead or behind at any given time. He’s our first true scoundrel!
Ben Blacker: I think DJ is different to most characters anyone has met in the “Star Wars” universe. DJ truly doesn’t believe in “light” or “dark.” He’s a shade of moral gray that goes further than even Lando in “The Empire Strikes Back” because he’s even more of a mercenary. Everyone is a means to an end. I can’t imagine him having friends, as Lando and Han and some of the other lovable “rogue” characters have.
Marvel.com: Since DJ inhabits a seedier side of the universe, how did you work with artist Kev Walker on realizing that world?
Ben Acker: How killer is Kev Walker? He’s just mind-bogglingly creative and his art is beautiful. I can’t wait for you to see it. We either left a lot of room in the script for invention or we leaned hard on Kev, depending on how you look at it. We made up a casino card game by naming it and having characters reference hands and winning and losing, but Kev created the deck of cards! They’re fantastic. They just look true. I am desperate to get my hands on a deck. That’s pretty much how it went throughout. We did our best to suggest the details of this world and then Kev went in and made them actual, concrete, and lived in.
Marvel.com: If given the opportunity to tell further stories with him, would you guys take DJ out for another spin?
Ben Acker: Definitely. There’s something so compelling about a character in a war story who hasn’t picked a side. Playing with the shades of grey in the Star Wars universe is one of the great things about “The Last Jedi.” I’d love to write more stories about one of the saga’s greyest characters.
Ben Blacker: I’m going to have to read the script for the next movie, which I am announcing here and now is called “Star Wars: Hang the DJ,” and then I’ll decide…know what? Nevermind. I’m in.
Explore Canto Bight in STAR WARS: DJ – MOST WANTED #1, from Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, and artist Kev Walker, on January 31!