by Zach Johnson | Wed., Jan. 4, 2017 5:35 AM
Diego Luna is living proof that "representation matters."
Even before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released in the U.S. Dec. 16, critics praised director Gareth Edwards' cosmopolitan cast, which includes Riz Ahmed, Felicity Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker and Donnie Yen. The movie has earned $801.9 million at the global box office, and it's expected to earn much more.
For Luna, playing Rebel Alliance Captain and Intelligence officer Cassian Andor was everything he hoped it would be—and oh so much more. "All the work with the stunts, it's so cool. It's like choreography. Killing a Stormtrooper it's so nice, but you have to rehearse, right? But that feeling of running and suddenly [shooting] and the guy falls, it's so special. I've dreamed of that my whole life," the 37-year-old actor told E! News' Erin Lim in December. "Getting to a place where everything around you is Star Wars and doing it over and over and over, it was perfect."
The movie doesn't just feel perfect: Critics and fans agree that it looks perfect, too. Visually, Rogue One makes quite an impact (for a number of reasons). Luna was reminded of that Tuesday when he shared one fan's story on Twitter, admitting, "I got emotional reading this!"
In less than 12 hours, the fan's story was retweeted over 22,000 times.
"I took my father to see Rogue One today. I've wanted to take him for a while. I wanted my Mexican father, with his thick Mexican accent, to experience what it was like to see a hero in a blockbuster film, speak the way he does. And although I wasn't sure if it was going to resonate with him, I took him anyway," Luna's fan began. "When Diego Luna's character came onscreen and started speaking, my dad nudged me and said, 'He has a heavy accent.' I was like, 'Yup.'"
"When the film was over and were walking to the car, he turns to me and says, 'Did you notice that he had an accent?' I said, 'Yeah, dad, just like yours.' Then my dad asked me if the film had made a lot of money. I told it was the second highest grossing film of 2016 despite it only being out for 18 days in 2016 (since New Year just came around). He then asked me if people liked the film. I told him that it had a huge following online and great reviews. He then asked me why Diego Luna hadn't changed his accent and I told him that Diego has openly talked about keeping his accent and how proud he is of it," the fan continued. "And my dad was silent for a while and then said, 'And he was the main character.' I said, 'He was.'"
"And my dad was so happy. As we drove home he started telling me about other Mexican actors that he thinks should be in movies in America," the fan said. "Representation matters."