Why The D Is Silent In Django Unchained

The Blaxploitation/spaghetti western mash-up Django Unchained clocks in at 165 minutes. But accounts from its executive producer, writer-director, and cast have made it clear much of the script has been excised and much of the footage left on the cutting room floor. Harvey Weinstein once floated the idea of releasing the film in two parts, Kill Bill style. Quentin Tarantino has publicly toyed with eventually releasing an extended edition, which Samuel L. Jackson guestimates would be about five hours long. But what was cut?

Vulture scoured over interviews and the script, and discovered abandoned backstories for Kerry Washington's Broomhilda and Zoe Bell's mysterious tracker character, as well as characters who got cut or merged along the way and scenes that promised more gruesome violence. But there's one plot point in particular that would interest some, including outraged Katt Williams, and that concerns the spelling of Django's name.

Recently Williams attacked the movie—which he clearly has not seen—for a bunch of reasons including this bizarre complaint, "How could you have a silent letter before black people could read?" Well, when covering that news item, I pointed out that Django is taught to read by his educated friend and mentor, the German dentist and bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. Well, in the script it was Schultz who crafted the spelling for Django, telling him the silent D would add "a little character." But this scene was ultimately trimmed from their bonding sequence.

Of course, the name's meta reference is an allusion to the spaghetti western hero of Django played by Franco Nero, who has a cameo in Django Unchained's already iconic "the D is silent" scene. Still, for fans of filmmaking and those just curious about story construction, this is an interesting tidbit.

Kristy Puchko

Staff writer at CinemaBlend.