If you’re one of the millions of people who saw Rogue One: A Star Wars Story over the holidays, it probably didn’t escape you that the film’s male lead had something unusual for a male lead in an action movie: a heavy accent.
Mexican actor Diego Luna used his real-life accent while playing conflicted Rebel leader Cassian Andor. When that fact comes up in interviews — as has often been the case — Luna typically explains that Rogue One was deliberately designed to reflect a diverse universe, and that ditching his accent was never on the table, from either his or the film’s producers’ point of view.
It sounds simple enough on paper, but in actuality, getting to see a Star Wars hero save the day with a distinctive Mexican accent is a huge deal — especially for audiences who rarely see themselves reflected onscreen in a role that isn’t a tiny part or, worse, the butt of some joke.
So it’s understandable that Luna “got emotional” when reading about the following fan’s experience, which the fan posted to Facebook after watching Rogue One with his Mexican father:
This anecdote has spread far and wide online since Luna shared it, and it’s easy to see why. Apart from being heartwarming, the story of a Mexican man getting to see a fellow Mexican front and center, saving the day in front of millions of excited fans, is a perfect encapsulation of how diverse casts can make a tangible difference in people’s lives. And as Luna himself told Metro in December, while casting a man with a Mexican accent to play the lead in a blockbuster movie might be rare, it also just “speaks to the world we live in” — which hopefully means it won’t be rare for long.