Hollywood’s love affair with the charismatic and quirky Benicio de Toro didn’t fully blossom until his turn as the mumbling Fenster in the 1995 Oscar-winner The Usual Suspects. From there del Toro has amassed quite the career, playing pivotal, supporting roles as well as headlining feature films of his own, including the 2015 hit Sicario.
So, what’s on everyone’s mind as del Toro embarks on a press tour to promote the Sicario sequel, Days of Soldado? Why, whether or not he’ll reprise his role as the enigmatic “DJ” in Star Wars: Episode IX, of course.
Benicio del Toro’s portrayal of the criminal slicer and ne’er-do-well DJ was easily the highlight of the heavy-handed Finn/Rose/Canto Bight sub-plot in last year’s The Last Jedi. While many thought, and hoped, that the idiosyncratic, stuttering DJ would join the ranks of Han Solo and Lando Calrissian as a franchise scoundrel, the character instead followed in the footsteps of fellow new-trilogy supporting character Captain Phasma; too little screen time, no character backstory or development, fans yearning to learn more.
There is a great opportunity to be had with the DJ character as production nears commencement for Episode IX. While the original intention may have been to have Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron fill the rogue’s role in the new trilogy, he’s simply too much over-eager flyboy and not enough, well, scoundrel, dispossessed of the moral ambiguity necessary to make such a character compelling. Benicio del Toro’s DJ, however, perfectly fits the bill.
Whether or not that happens remains to be seen. When asked about the rumors of DJ returning for another go in Episode IX, del Toro replied, simply:
I have no answer for those, not because I’m withholding information, but there’s nothing on my plate right now…. But would I like to? Yes, sir.”
I think most of us would like to see that happen, too.