Our Flag Means Death star Vico Ortiz built a whole lifestyle around Star Wars

With Max ending the much-beloved pirate series Our Flag Means Death after two seasons, the cast is considering their next career steps. For Vico Ortiz, who played nonbinary fan-favorite pirate Jim Jimenez on the show, that includes thinking about a long-held dream of getting involved with Star Wars — a franchise Ortiz says has heavily shaped their life and their family’s lives.

On the 2024 JoCo Cruise, a yearly fandom event where Ortiz was one of the guest performers, a fan asked during a Q&A event whether Ortiz had a wish list for future roles.

“Dream-role-wise, I would love to be in the Star Wars universe at some point. That’d be so dope. I’ve been a big Star Wars fan since — I feel like it’s in my veins,” Ortiz told the audience.

The Puerto Rican actor and drag king, also known for the queer comedy series These Thems and for roles on The Sex Lives of College Girls and S.O.Z: Soldados o Zombies, traces their Star Wars fandom back to childhood.

“One side of my family is big Star Wars fans,” they said at the Q&A. “And a lot of them, their choices in life, similar to mine, have been because of Star Wars.

“Long story short, the reason I’m vegetarian and the reason I sword fight is because of Star Wars. When I was 11, I read this book called Star Wars and Philosophy. That absolutely rocked my world. I was like, I want to be a peaceful warrior. I want to be a Jedi. I want to learn how to sword fight and meditate and eat plants and be one with the Force.”

Vico Ortiz talks to a fan on the 2024 JoCo Cruise Photo: Beth Gordon/Skinny Dog Photography

Ortiz says becoming a would-be Jedi as a preteen created some problems even in a Star Wars fandom family. “So I did it! I became vegetarian in Puerto Rico at age, like, 12. The diet there was mostly pork,” they said with a laugh. “So my parents were like, ‘All right, it’s gonna be interesting!’ And my grandmother was more appalled that I changed to being vegetarian than anything else [in my life]. They were like, ‘Whatever, you’re gay, but you’re not going to eat my chuleta? This might be the last chuleta I cook for you!’ And I’m like, ‘Wow, the manipulation!’ But they were OK with me being a homosexual and all the things. Funny, priorities, you know what I’m saying?”

Ortiz doesn’t have a specific Star Wars role or narrative in mind — they say they just want to be a Force user. “If I ever get to pretend to use the Force and have things move, I would die happy,” they said. “This is TMI, maybe, but in that same journey from Star Wars, and wanting to become a Jedi, I also got into, like, quantum physics […] I would go to my room, and sit and put a pencil in front of me, and really be like, OK, quantum physics, everything’s connected. It’s like atoms, and I am this pencil, this pencil is me, and I would really try to move it with my mind. I did that for a whole summer.”

Asked if they’ve ever engaged in the common Star Wars fandom practice of pretending to use the Force to open automatic doors (a habit even Kenobi star Ewan McGregor cops to), Ortiz outright cackled.

“Absolutely,” they said. “All the time! Sometimes I do it, like, very quietly. I used to be very intense, and walk in there like [big, glowering gesture] whoom, you know? But now I’m just like [small, casual gesture] tchh. I moved that, that was me. I still very much do that. I will never stop, probably.”

Vico Ortiz belts out a number at Celebrity Karaoke on the 2024 JoCo Cruise Photo: Beth Gordon/Skinny Dog Photography

While Ortiz said a Star Wars character would be the dream role, they also volunteered that they’re fine with continuing to play roles like Jim on Our Flag Means Death and Vero on These Thems — parts they describe as educational, in terms of normalizing trans and nonbinary people for mainstream audiences who haven’t seen many of those characters on screen.

“I love to play around,” they said. “I think there’s more representation now, but I don’t mind doing roles that are educational in one way and another. I definitely want to keep pushing the envelope and being like, Yeah, we’re literally like everybody else. We drink coffee, we pay taxes, we get anxiety and everything, those everyday experiences of the human life. So I want to keep doing roles that represent that. It’s not like me sitting and being like, This is what trans nonbinary means, and then pulling up a PowerPoint to explain all of that. That’s totally fine, and it’s good to have those roles, because we gotta find education here and there. But also, education is just like, us breathing and existing.”