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Rogue One: Diego Luna Wasn't Sure He Was Right For Star Wars Until His Audition

When the production team behind "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" began assembling the cast list for the film, some "Star Wars" fans were likely surprised to see Diego Luna's name on the list. That's largely because, to that point in his career, Luna had mostly avoided booking roles in such overt blockbuster fare, opting instead to front smaller projects like his 2001 breakthrough film "Y tu mamá también."

He had, however, dabbled in big-budget filmmaking, claiming supporting roles in Kevin Costner's 2003 Western epic "Open Range," Steven Spielberg's 2004 drama "The Terminal," and Neill Blomkamp's 2013 sci-fi thriller "Elysium." Blockbuster dalliances aside, it seems even Luna was surprised when he got a call for a role in a "Star Wars" project, openly admitting as much during a recent Variety "Actors on Actors" chat with fellow "Star Wars" galaxy alum Hayden Christensen.

As Luna recounted his "Rogue One" casting, he noted his initial meeting with director Gareth Edwards was so secretive that he didn't really know it was about a "Star Wars" project. As it became clear a role in the galaxy was indeed on the table, Luna claims he initially balked, telling Edwards plainly, "I don't see myself here. I love these films, but how do I fit here? No one has my accent." Edwards was eventually able to change Luna's mind about the part by convincing the actor he wanted to make a grounded "Star Wars" film more in tune spiritually with "Y tu mamá también" than a traditional "Star Wars" adventure.

Diego Luna has become one of the Star Wars galaxy's greatest assets

Compelling as that concept was, the behind-the-scenes struggles endured by Gareth Edwards and the "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" team are pretty much the stuff of Hollywood legends, with script doctor and director Tony Gilroy eventually hired to come in and right the ship well into the film's production. Despite the struggles, Edwards' grounded approach to "Rogue One" didn't change too dramatically, with the end result remaining true to his vision of a high-stakes thrill ride fueled by palpable human drama.

Diego Luna's work as the roguish Cassian Andor was a big reason the film resonated with "Star Wars" fans. Unfortunately, the character's fate was firmly sealed by the film's end, with many assuming we'd seen the last of Cassian. That turned out not to be the case, with Luna reprising the role for Gilroy's Disney+ prequel series, "Andor," which many fans say ranks among the best of modern-day "Star Wars" fare.

During his chat with Hayden Christensen, Luna credited Gilroy's vision for the success, saying that Gilroy's intent to make audiences fully invest in characters and forget the show is set in the "Star Wars" realm are game-changers. "Every time you had to explain too long what you wanted to do," Luna said, "[Gilroy] would be like, 'There's no room for that. It has to be simple. It has to be easy. It has to be real.'" Luna added, "If it started to feel imposed or weird or from 'a galaxy far, far away,' then we were doing the wrong thing." And if you've seen Luna at work in "Andor," there's zero question the actor is exactly where he's supposed to be.