“He’s Crafty and Mercenary”: Ben Blacker on Marvel’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi – DJ #1

The co-writer of Marvel's special scoundrel-starring one-shot talks to StarWars.com.

In a surprise announcement last week, Marvel revealed Star Wars: The Last Jedi — DJ #1, a special one-shot written by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker (Star Wars: Storms of Crait) and illustrated by Kev Walker (Star Wars: Doctor Aphra). The comic is set for release on January 31, 2018, and will follow the mysterious new scoundrel DJ, played by Benicio Del Toro in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. All we know so far is that the story is set prior to the events of the film, and a still from the movie (see below) was unveiled as a variant cover. Being StarWars.com, we wanted to know more — so we fired off some quick questions over e-mail to co-writer Ben Blacker.

StarWars.com: Without spoiling anything, what can you tell us about the story?

Ben Blacker: DJ is a character new to the Star Wars universe, created by Rian Johnson for The Last Jedi. Our one-shot will show you what DJ was doing right up to the moment before we meet him in the film. You’ll definitely get some insights into DJ’s worldview, which is a more complicated and, in many ways, darker perspective than we’ve seen in the Star Wars universe.

StarWars.com: Considering we know so little about DJ in The Last Jedi, how did you approach crafting the story, and how did you collaborate with Lucasfilm to develop it?

Ben Blacker: There was a lot of back and forth with Lucasfilm about both the setting and the character. The story takes place on a planet seen in the new movie, so there was a lot of info to learn about that location and how it works. More conversation, however, went into DJ’s character and the way he interacts with the world. He isn’t a “man of action” like so many Star Wars characters. He’s crafty and more than a bit mercenary. Lucasfilm did a great job in sort of boiling down DJ’s worldview to one sentence and, hopefully, that character thesis statement comes across on every page.

And, as usual, Story Group was terrific about suggesting new alien species, vehicles, and the like that tie this story to the greater Star Wars universe.

StarWars.com: You’ve written all kinds of Star Wars characters at this point — young heroes in Join the Resistance, Luke and Leia in the upcoming Storms of Crait comic, and even the stormtrooper from A New Hope who bumps his head. Is it exciting to write a brand new character from a new film and really get to help define him?

Ben Blacker: Of course! Rian Johnson created him, and those are enormous shoes to fill. We’re happy just to occupy them for 30 pages. Hopefully, as with any character we didn’t create, we’re able to leave some small aspect that informs the way the character is approached for future writers.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

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