Diego Luna on the diversity in Rogue One: ‘A more modern approach’

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I haven’t seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story yet so please be mindful of spoilers for anyone who didn’t get there this weekend. To celebrate the opening of Rogue One, People magazine has issued a Star Wars: Secret of Rogue One special edition at newsstands currently. The movie was number one this weekend – no surprise there – with an estimated $155 million domestic box office after making $71 million opening day. It earned an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes and all the buzz I’ve read on social media has been very enthusiastic. They are saying this one’s darker, on par with Empire Strikes Back, which is fine by me – ESB is still my favorite of all the SW films so far. I’m trying to lower my expectations but I think it’s too late, I am so excited for this film.

Before the movie opened, star Diego Luna (Captain Andor) sat down with People and discussed being part of a diverse cast. Diego believes diversity is important because it’s more representative of what we see in our daily lives.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story star Diego Luna tells PEOPLE Now that he’s proud to be a part of a film with such a diverse cast.

“The films are changing because the audience is changing, and the audience wants to feel represented,” says Luna, 36. “Today you go to the cinema, and if you’re not looking at the screen, and you turn, you see that diversity there, you know? And that has to be portrayed in the frame.”

British actress Felicity Jones, Danish actor Mads Mikkelson, British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed, Chinese stars Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen, Americans Forest Whitaker and Alan Tudyk, and Aussie Ben Mendelsohn all appear in the upcoming blockbuster, which doesn’t follow the storyline from last year’s The Force Awakens but takes place in the same universe.

“I think it’s a great move from the previous Star Wars to these,” he says. “It’s a much more modern approach. It’s not just the diversity, the different kind of accents. The role of the woman in this film. I think it’s a film that talks more about the reality we live in, the world we live in.”

Luna adds of the six original movies, “It’s kind of nice to see all the films of Star Wars because it’s like a stamp of how time has been passing and how things have been changing.”

[From People]

It is true that you can run through all of the Star Wars films and see a social progression. That point also makes me laugh, though, because from a technical standpoint, there are many progressions – like special effects and the acting skills of the stars.

Like I said, I haven’t seen the film yet *thrusts fist to the sky* so I will take Diego’s word that the movie is a good cross-section. The trailers look to be. However, I think I think these films are further aided by the fact that its cast is also enlightened. The actors seem committed to bringing Star Wars into the 21st century (let’s just take a moment to appreciate the irony in that last statement). Felicity Jones has proven herself to be a great spokesperson for women-helmed blockbusters and both Donnie Yen and Riz Ahmed have championed the film as well. Sudos to the Rogue team for not only a great film but for landing great ambassadors. Speaking of Felicity, the highest paid actor of Rogue One, she is hosting the first SNL of 2017. You know you’ve made it when you host SNL.

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Photo credit: WENN Photos and Getty Images

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30 Responses to “Diego Luna on the diversity in Rogue One: ‘A more modern approach’”

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  1. Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

    *sigh* Diego, marry me?

    The more i hear about it the more I am stoked to see it. (Haven’t seen it yet)

    • Booklion says:

      Take tissues with you!! I wont spoil anything but there are so many emotional moments in this film that you are bound to tear up at one point.
      I saw it last night and havent stopped thinking about it yet – it is incredible!

    • Mia4S says:

      Any interest in starting a haram? Because damn I love him! 😏

      He also nailed the PR tour, charming as hell.

      Diego I know you love directing but I’m going to need you to be in at least two…hundred…movies in the next few years. For diversity!..and because you’re really sexy…and for diversity!

  2. Grant says:

    I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer but I feel like there could have been a bit more diversity. I appreciate that there were multiple actors of color but despite Jyn Erso, there really weren’t any other major female characters–and no women of color. Sure, we had Mon Mothma and one or two female fighter pilots, but I would have appreciated maybe one or two more females in Cassian Ando’s band. The movie was kind of a sausage fest.

    • tealily says:

      I did appreciate the female pilots, though. Although it makes ya wonder what happened in the world of the film between this film and ‘A New Hope’ that there were only dudes in that group.

    • Chinoiserie says:

      There could have been more women but there was like 2 new white male charcaters that were important and one was the villain so I don’t know how they could have done better there.

  3. SBS says:

    Yes, it is diverse, but it wouldn’t have hurt to have a few more women. As it is now it’s Felicity and a bunch of men.

    • Anna says:

      I’m really happy this movie is as diverse as it is especially for a franchise like Star Wars but I still feel like this film is only really “revolutionary” for white women and MOC. There’s barely any WOC in the film and I hope the films in the future are more diverse

    • Whatever says:

      Exactly! There is some increased diversity bc of racial differences, which is great, but the gender diversity is poor. One lead woman and approx 7 dudes isn’t diversity.

  4. Steph says:

    Diego has changed a lot. Nice to see he’s not an ass… Anymore.

    • Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

      Do tell?

      • Steph says:

        Diego and Gael Garcia weren’t well like by the press here in Mexico when they became international indie stars. You would always here rumors of both of them never wanting to talk to the press or beign mean. I tend to believe it because you never heard that abou Salma or Demian. But that was some years ago.

    • Lucy says:

      Yeah? Huh. Well, they were pretty young back then. I guess the must have grown up at last!

      • tealily says:

        Yeah, that’s what I was going to say. He was, like, 20. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt until he gives me a reason to feel otherwise!

  5. Nene's Wig says:

    Saw it last night – loved it!!! I thought it was really well done, and the story fit so well with the already established Star Wars movies.

    PS – Donnie Yen was my fav!! :D

    • detritus says:

      Donny Yen’s intensity is giving me feels.
      I haven’t seen him in action yet, is he marvellous?

    • Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

      Am a massive Donnie Yen fan, he is soo underrated as an actor and am glad he’s not only in it but had a chunky enough part to show his stuff.

      • Nene's Wig says:

        He was so wonderful! I was feeling all the feels. I’m so glad this film’s cast included amazing actors like him – there definitely needs to be more of this!

    • lightpurple says:

      I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.

  6. Miss Grace Jones says:

    I would hardly call having yet another white female lead diversity. I would love to see everyone stop talking about how diverse a movie because it has a woman in it when 9 times out of ten it’s your typical thin pale blonde or brunette white woman and for people to stop asking for more ‘women in film’ when that’s never been the true issue seeing as white women have had leads in films since the twenties–it’s the fact that there are so few roles for WOMEN OF COLOR expecially those that don’t pass the paper bag test that’s the problem. Seeing another mediocre white actress in the lead getting praise for being a face or more diversity in film is what initially put me off it.

    • Lena says:

      It’s not just a white women lead though, but also a lot of cool male characters of colour. While I truly wish they had included more female characters and especially of colour, if you compare this movie to the old Star Wars, the difference is obvious. By the way, they included footage of female pilots in this movie that were cut out off the old ones, so in the old ones they couldn’t even include female pilots in a small role and now they had two films with female leads (and the trump faction is boycotting them for it). I think criticism for the lack of more female characters and especially non-white ones is warranted, but not seeing the difference to old movies is strange.

      • Miss Grace Jones says:

        Maybe I’m not seeing the difference because as a black woman even if there weren’t many women in shows or movies growing up, you could bet your bottom dollar those women were white. So no I’m not wowed by seeing ‘women in film’, I’m wowed by seeing women of color of which this movie and most of the ones lauded as being feminist for having women in it does not.

    • ash says:

      @ Miss Grace Jones this comment is everything…..

      I think all this stems from everyone lumping in diversity together, when there is glaring issues with POC’s not being represented adequately in Hollywood….

      in a broader sense, I’ve seen this type of diversity glossing before, at my job. Working for a government client…. there was talk of not enough minority leadership…. so they put an old white woman in a high ranking position was like yeaaaaaaaaaa here ya go. But there were already women in leadership and the criticisms were more WOC and POC…. it was bizare to say the least.

  7. Ennie says:

    I liked his role. Good to see hispanics getting more recognition out in films. So under represented when you learn that they compose almost 18 % in the US.
    Hoping for Hispanic women in a sci-fy movie, why not?
    Btw my fav character was the robot. He was sassy AF.

    • Steph says:

      Zoe saldana

      • Ennie says:

        True, she’s Dominicana! Still hoping for more to come ;)
        Lupita N’yongo is also Mexican born and was in the other movie, but she was not raised in Mexico and neither is culturally Mexican it is still nice that she was cast and all that.

      • N says:

        Lupita speaks spanish fairly well from my understanding, plus she is the one who called herself mexikenyan lol so she has a lot of affinity towards mexico which is cool. She could branch out and do spanish speaking roles.

  8. Miss M says:

    I am dying to see this movie. But I am waiting to go on Christmas Eve, :)

    Thanks for giving us Diego today, Hecate!