When I was growing up, the cultural impact of star wars as a global phenomenon is something that seemed to be part and parcel of life. The first films I was exposed to were the original star wars movies-my father, who immigrated from Mexico with my mother in 1989, used them as a tool to learn English through a story he already knew and lovedhaving seen the films in Spanish during their theatrical release in Mexico.
So star wars movies were a constant throughout my childhood, and coincidentally, this was the case with a young Diego Luna when he was part of various Mexican telenovelas that aired on Spanish networks that my family watched. AWhen I was growing up, Luna starred in movies that shaped my cinematic tastes like Y Tu Mamá También, Book of Life, and yes, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. So to interview him Andorthe previous spin-off of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, was a crucial and complete moment for me.
When Luna was announced as the lead in A thugplaying the rebel spy Cassian Andor, it was huge for the Latin American community; for my family in particular he is hailed as a local mexico hero so seeing a mexican in star wars was really a big deal. When I spoke to the actor about it, he shared that it meant a lot that he cared about that in the culture — and how very important it was to him, too. “star wars represents in my early childhood, around the age of five, six, I believe, the tool to belong, to be part of the world of my cousins, ”he told io9 over the phone. “I’m the youngest in the family, so I had a lot of cousins all over [Mexico]. They were all fans of star wars, most of them at least. And get to know star wars has been essential, you know? Like IIt had to happen so I could interact with these guys. Many star wars fans, especially those who also come from large families, will know that sentiment well.
“So I started watching it already wanting to like it,” Luna said. “And then little by little, because it became very important in my growth in public, I started watching cinema through star wars in a sense. It was very important, and I believe that the origins of my desire to make films [are] based on what I saw as a kid that blew my mind – and star wars is on this list.
“As a kid, I remember waiting months to get my first case of Darth Vader,” he added, describing what I think (and star wars staff toy expert Germain Lussier agrees) was so early The Empire Strikes Back room. “It was a case of Darth Vader’s mask that had pencils inside that I would take to school. I would paint with them at home. I remember as if it had become my portfolio [school carrying case]. Yeah, I was addicted [Darth Vader] Scared me so much but at the same time it was intriguing and my favorite character. (We also know he has a thing for Jabba the Hutt.)
As A thug fans will remember, Luna couldn’t share the screentime with his favorite villain in this movie, since his first appearance in the star wars the universe ended with the sacrifice of his life to stick him to the Empire. After the sacrifice of Cassian Andor in the movie steal the death star blueprintsMoon never planned to continue the character story. “To me, it was pretty clear that the the case was, ‘Oou are here to make a film. It has a beginning and an end and that’s it. And I was happy with that and I never disputed that, ever,” he explained. “And then when I got the phone call, it was to ask if I would be willing to explore the possibility of doing something like this. And, you know, it just made sense because A thug is the story of an event—an event where you meet all these great and interesting characters who are willing to sacrifice everything for a price. It’s about how this mission, how this event happened and the challenges of getting there, you know, but you don’t explore or understand the scenes here and there too much.
Andor was definitely a hero star wars fans wanted more; an oft-heard criticism of the film was that it featured and then, well, mostly killed off a fantastic ensemble, which included talents like Felicity Jones as initially reluctant hero Jyn Erso, Riz Ahmed as former Imperial pilot Bodhi Rook, Donnie Yen as Force-sentient warrior Chirrut Îmwe, and Jiang Wen as his partner Baze Malbus. Prequel star Jimmy Smits, last seen in Obi Wan Kenobialso returned to reprise his role as Bail Organa.
“This long format allows you to dig deeper into these kinds of crucial decisions that had to be made for this character to get there,” Luna said of the upcoming Andor TV series. “And it allows us to explore what needs to happen to a character to get to that point where they’re willing to sacrifice everything. You know, because we have to remember, he’s not a Jedi. There’s no There’s no superheroes here, no superpowers, no mystical powers or anything like that. It’s just regular people, you know, regular people who have to do something special, something special. extraordinary. And this trip is quite interesting to see.
When Andor was first announced, Moon described it as “the story of a migrant”, and it still rings true to the story it wants to tell. “No one asked me when I was promoting A thug, why does Cassian speak with such a different accent from the others? You know, there’s no one around with his accent. Nobody. Where does he come from? How come he calls these people his family? Nobody asks that.
Luna explained that Andor’s origins are explored in the early episodes of the series, where we see a young Andor forced to flee his home at a very young age. It all comes back to some key lines of dialogue he had in Snape One. “He says, ‘I’ve been fighting since I was six.’ What does that mean? Was he forced to grow up before everyone else, because who fights at six years old? You know, who asked to fight at six when you were supposed to be a kid? All of these questions are going to be answered now about this very traumatic childhood,” he said, referring to how Andor will reflect the type of diaspora experienced by migrants in Latin America and around the world throughout history. “The character is full of that energy. You know, it’s clearly someone who is forced to move, like many in this show. So that is a important part of the story and definitely something you can respond to and hopefully deliver.
The series has 12 episodes in its first seasonleading to his second season already confirmed, to do just that. I asked Luna how her the ongoing collaboration with showrunner Tony Gilroy impacted him when crafting this spy thriller origin story set in the world of Star Wars. “[Gilroy] pays so much attention to detail,” Luna said. “His writing is so complex but everything has a reason. Every question has an answer. It’s very juicy when you approach the material written by this man because it has this complexity that takes time. He challenges you as a reader and as an actor. Well, it’s nice to have this material in front of you to do work where you have such a lead. Because at the end of the day it’s also freedom, in terms of where you can go with it because you have the tools. you have the answers. Therefore, you can commit to your choices and go all the way, knowing there is something out there to catch you.
In fact, the more grounded show that would later intersect with much larger star wars events is what Luna is most eager to explore. “It’s very special in this universe to have this standalone on its own. You know, like A thug has been support-alone in the world of cinema star wars, with the series we have the same thing. It’s a series that has a beginning and then we’re going to do 24 episodes. We will go through the five years preceding RogueOne, and we have this freedom to [have] different tones that aren’t the first thing you think of when you think of Star Wars-and at the same time, still have that epic adventure and action that makes star wars what it is.”
The feeling of pride and excitement for Andor is something I couldn’t help but share with Luna as we finished our call. He is a star wars toy now too, I reminded him, and asked how he felt about it, having once been a kid with his own action figure collection. “It’s a weird thing – IIt’s something you can’t get used to, having toys that look like you because that doesn’t happen often,” he laughed. “It’s definitely a fun ride to do when you have kids, because we can share every step of the process with them and they’re as enthusiastic as I am. I really like being able to integrate them into my world in this way.
When we picked up I thanked Luna and he sent my whole family greetings. It meant so much that a child of the 90s whose Mexican father introduced her to this universe when he came to America – and whose love for movies came from this galaxy, far, far away – has spoke with Diego Luna, and it really made it feel like we’re finally considered a big part of star wars.
Andor will start broadcasting September 21 on Disney+.
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