OPINION: What the Rogue One Prequel Streaming Series Means To Me, a Mexican-American
Disney has made various decisions and announcements this year that has pointed towards their intended focus on their planned proprietary streaming service, which will use their existing and vast library of media to create an experience meant to rival the likes of Netflix and Hulu. Disney content on Netflix will now be vacated in favor of the new Disney streaming service for its exclusive home.
Just this week, Disney further supported these plans for the service, now official named Disney+, by officially announcing a spinoff series for Marvel Cinematic Universe character Loki, as well as a new Star Wars: Rogue One prequel series that will focus on Captain Cassian Andor, with Diego Luna returning to reprise the role. This news was well-received by fans of Rogue One, but the news had me especially elated given my personal attachment as a Mexican-American to the character.
Diego Luna was not the first Hispanic actor to play a significant role in a Star Wars film. The legendary Jimmy Smits portrayed Senator Bail Organa in the prequel films, and the incredible Oscar Isaac appeared as Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens before Rogue One released. Disney had clearly been making a push for diversity with their new Star Wars films, but to me, it felt like a whole new level of inclusion with the casting of Diego Luna as the male lead in Rogue One. We had Hispanic actors in Star Wars before, but now we would have one in a top-billing role present throughout the whole film, not just relegated to a supporting role or important plot-device that gets comparatively little screen time.
On top of that, Diego Luna, a Mexican, was allowed to keep his Mexican accent for the character, without any need for the other characters to ridicule or even acknowledge it. It simply was allowed to exist in a universe where warrior teddy bears and laser swords are accepted without question. It was especially significant in 2016, when immigration as a political issue painted a defamatory target on the people of Mexico. Diego Luna’s recognition of this fan response even went viral, when he shared a message one fan sent regarding her Mexican father praising Cassian’s accent in Rogue One.
Cassian’s existence meant the world to me, a life-long Star Wars fan who barely got to see characters that looked like him on-screen as a kid. There was a time in my youth when my passion for Star Wars was eclipsed by the Spy Kids franchise, largely because the Robert Rodriguez films starring many Hispanic actors gave me characters I closer identified with than the ones the much bigger Star Wars films gave me. But the past few years, Star Wars finally met me and my race in the middle that we had desperately been waiting in.
The media landscape is certainly changing, not just with the development of new technologies, but also in catching up with cultural advancements. Hollywood spent decades underrepresenting women and persons of color, and now the big pushes to finally give these minority demographics their time in the spotlight have been met with much success.
Wonder Woman dominated at the box office last summer, and Black Panther could finally bring superhero films the Oscar-recognition they have worked towards. Coco was a wonderful Mexican-focused film quite well-received, but like Rogue One, its story seemed to have no intentions of leaving room for a sequel. Now with the Rogue One prequel series, it looks like Captain Cassian Andor will have more days in the Tattooine twin suns. Hopefully, those suns don’t set any time soon.
Cory Lara2137 Posts
A royally radical and totally tubular 90s kid, Cory has a passion for all things nerdy, particularly gaming and nostalgia. While an accountant by day, he strives to be as creative and humorous as possible in his free time, be it here writing on Don't Feed the Gamers, or making dumb satirical posts on his Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and Instagram accounts.