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How Diego Luna’s ‘Rogue One’ Performance is a Celebration of Latino Culture

The actor has previously said that he's "the luckiest Mexican in all of the galaxy."

Diego Luna

Chelsea Lauren/REX/Shutterstock

All through the “Rogue One” press tour, Diego Luna has expressed how appreciative and grateful he is to be a part of such a huge franchise. The Mexican actor portrays Captain Cassian Andor, an intelligence officer for the Rebel Alliance who, alongside Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), leads a diverse group on a mission to steal the Death Star plans.

As Remezcla writer Yara Simón wrote in her piece, “This Is Why Diego Luna’s Role in ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ Is Historic for Latino Actors,” Mexico or Latinos may not exist in the “Star Wars” universe, but it’s inspiring to see a Latino actor take on a huge role.

“Luna’s the second-most featured character in the tale. For the rest of the movie, he’s never too far behind Erso,” she wrote. “Making him the Latino hero we deserve, and the Latino actor who has had the most prominent role in any of the eight ‘Star Wars’ films released in the last 39 years.”

Last year’s “The Force Awakens” also featured actor Oscar Isaac, who was born in Guatemala, as Poe Dameron, and Jimmy Smits, of Puerto Rican descent, also portrayed Senator Bail Organa in “Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones” and “Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith.” Yet, Luna has more on-screen time and is considered the male lead in the latest spin-off.

READ MORE: Diego Luna Reveals How ‘Rogue One’ Reflects the ‘Racial Diversity’ of the ‘World We Live In’

Simón’s article also celebrates Luna’s natural accent, which she states many Latinos can identify with and feel connected to. “Perhaps what most stands out is his way of speaking. When the first trailers came out, fans immediately noticed and celebrated that Luna spoke with his natural accent,” she noted. “It’s refreshing, especially when a Spanish accent is still used largely for comedic effect across film and television in the US. A humorous tone wouldn’t exactly work with this entry into the series, and yet the film doesn’t make a big deal about his accent. And no one struggles to understand him.”

READ MORE: ‘Rogue One’ Review: The First ‘Star Wars’ Spinoff Is a Scrappy Space Adventure That Plays Things Painfully Safe

Luna himself has also expressed his excitement to see a Latino in the franchise, telling Ellen DeGeneres, “A Mexican in ‘Star Wars,’ come on! And in a role that actually lasts more than 10 seconds.”

He’s also connected with Mexican fans by describing his character as a great cook, with chilaquiles (a traditional Mexican dish) being the best thing he makes. Additionally, during the “Rogue One” Twitter Q&A he said that Andor loves the music of Mexican rock band Café Tacvba and called the film “chingona,” a slang word for badass. Whenever he adds a real piece of himself into the role or narrative he does it in an appreciative way, and understands what it means to be a Latino in “Star Wars.”

“My presence in this movie shows that they’ve heard us,” he told El Pais. “Each time that we buy a movie ticket, we are saying that we want to see an industry that reflects who we are. It gives me hope. That said, I am the luckiest Mexican in all of the galaxy.”

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