Representation matters. In recent years, Disney and Lucasfilm have made strides to make a galaxy far, far away a far, far more inclusive place. Gareth Edwards's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story boasts the franchise's most multicultural cast to date, with actors Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, and Donnie Yen leading the charge for more diverse characters in the Star Wars universe. A recent story shared by Luna shows just how important those casting decisions are for us ordinary people here on Earth.
Tumblr user riveralwaysknew posted a story about how she had taken her Mexican father to see Rogue One and he was stunned to see Luna, a Mexican actor, in a lead role. Luna later shared the post on his Twitter account, adding "I got emotional reading this!"
"When Diego Luna’s character came on screen and started speaking, my dad nudged me and said, 'he has a heavy accent,'" the fan wrote. "I was like, 'Yup.' When the film was over and we were walking to the car, he turns to me and says, 'did you notice that he had an accent?' And I said, 'Yeah dad, just like yours.'" She added that her father was "so happy" that the film not only showcased a Mexican actor and his accent but that it also had made so much money at the box office. "Representation matters," riveralwaysknew concluded.
Following the viral reach of her original post, the fan uploaded a touching video of her father reacting to Luna's tweet on Wednesday (January 4). "I think it's extraordinary what he did," her father says in Spanish. "I'm delighted that he maintained his Latino accent in the film."
The post is an important reminder of how powerful representation is, especially for marginalized groups who aren't used to seeing themselves depicted as heroes on-screen. And this isn't the only powerful story Rogue One has inspired: Upon seeing a Pakistani-British actor play a pivotal role in saving the Rebellion, comedian Kumail Nanjiani took to Twitter to express how Ahmed's role made him tear up in the theater.
So, yes, representation does matter. And hopefully, stories like this will inspire Lucasfilm to keep diversifying the world of Star Wars so that in the not-too-distant future it won't be rare to hear a Mexican accent or see a Pakistani face in a galaxy far, far away.