The Star Wars series is making serious efforts to add more diversity to its cast, and it’s paying off.
Diego Luna, star of upcoming Rogue One, said it’s making all the difference.
The cast of Rogue One is not just stacked with impressive talent, including British actress Felicity Jones, British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed, Chinese actors Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen, and American actor Forest Whitaker, but also a diverse crew of people of color. In a red carpet interview with Variety at the premiere, Luna emphasized the importance of diversity in film.
“Leaving differences aside, we can be stronger, by celebrating our differences and understanding those differences make us richer, stronger and more powerful,” he said. “We can do whatever we want. There is no limits. It’s a beautiful film about unity and celebration.”
Hollywood is facing criticism for a lack of diversity, but there is hope.
Last year’s Academy Awards became synonymous with #OscarsSoWhite when all nominated actors were white, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts finally got serious.
In June, it announced 683 new members, of which 46 percent are female, and 41 percent are people of color. As a result, the pool of Oscar voters is much more diverse.
Luna, who is of Mexican descent, tells People the change is good, because the industry is depicting a more realistic representation of society.
“The films are changing because the audience is changing, and the audience wants to feel represented,” Luna said. “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.”
In last year’s The Force Awakens, John Boyega was hailed by critics for his work as Finn. Boyega was awarded a Screen Nation award this spring for best male performance. Boyega has also been a vocal advocate of diversity in Hollywood.
Can’t wait to see this diverse crew take on the galaxy.