Before Rogue One was in theaters, Disney held a huge press junket for the film in San Francisco. Unlike Star Wars: The Force Awakens, where we interviewed the cast without seeing anything but the trailers, Disney showed us almost thirty minutes of the film at Skywalker Ranch so reporters could learn more about the story and new characters since Rogue One takes place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. Like I said on Twitter and during a Facebook Live chat (which you can watch here), the footage was fantastic and left all of us wanting more.
What I loved about the footage and film is that even though Rogue One takes place before the events of Episode IV, it feels completely unique and original. It looks and feels like a war movie that happens to take place in the Star Wars universe. In the footage, we saw plenty of scenes showing how the Empire is trying to take control of the universe and the brutality that happens when you try and resist. Part of the reason it feels like a war movie is because that’s what director Gareth Edwards set out to make. As you can see him explain in this interview, he shot Rogue One like a documentary embedded in a war zone. And after seeing the footage, I can say he succeeded.
During my print interview with Diego Luna he talked about if he regrets not being able to use a lightsaber in Rogue One, how he landed the role, not being able to tell his friends, what it’s like to work on a highly secretive project, what would surprise people to learn about the making of the film, and what it was like on set working with Gareth Edwards.
If you’d like to know what people thought about Rogue One after the world premiere Saturday night in Hollywood, click here. You can also click here for Matt’s review. And if you missed my video interviews with Mads Mikkelsen and Ben Mendelsohn, Felicity Jones, or Diego Luna, click the links.
COLIIDER: I just looked on Twitter because I was tagging you for people to ask questions, and you have 2 million followers. I had no idea.
DIEGO LUNA: [Laughs] Yeah. I started tweeting with the first film I directed. I found it the best way to promote it and to connect to the audience, and since then it’s been very helpful.
Jumping in, so you’re in a Star Wars movie but you don’t get to use a lightsaber. Are you sort of like, “Really?”?
LUNA: [Laughs] No, man. I get to pilot! I get to pilot and that’s special, come on. They make it like a dream come true for a fan, because you’re piloting and the things moves and you have a huge screen in front of you that covers your view and you’re seeing what will be in the film. If a rock is heading to you, you see the rock coming and you have to avoid it and the ship moves and it vibrates and you push the buttons and things turn on and off. It’s so cool, man, it’s so cool and so much fun because there’s very little left to the imagination, it’s you reacting to real things.
I heard it was your family that shut down the box office from buying too many tickets.
LUNA: Exactly. It’s my whole family [laughs] that went crazy and crashed Fandango, and I’m sorry. It’s weird Fandango wasn’t ready for my family. It’s my cousins in both sides of the border that went crazy.
[Laughs]. Being serious, I’m curious how you got to the part. Did they come after you?
LUNA: I didn’t do anything to be part of this. I was surprised and shocked when I received the call from my agent saying, “Gareth Edwards wants to meet you.” And I thought it was just gonna be like a general meeting, one of those that directors do all the time.
Did your agent say it was for Star Wars?
LUNA: No. I mean, we knew he was preparing this film but we didn’t know anything. They basically just said, “He wants to meet you. Be here at this time.” And I got there and I sat down at a table in a corner where Gareth was sitting, and he’s whispering to me, opening and closing his computer every time a waiter would come, and he starts telling me the whole story from beginning to end. And I go, “Why is he telling this?” this was two years ago and I go, “Why? What is he…?” but he doesn’t say anything. He’s just saying that this guy does this and then this guy does that and I go, “He’s telling it from a perspective of a guy. Is he trying to tell me he wants me to do the guy?” But I couldn’t ask him because I was gonna feel like an idiot if he goes, “No, no, no. That’s gonna be played by this other actor.” So I was like, “Ok, let’s wait, let’s wait.” And at the end he said, “I would love you to do this film, I would love you to play Cassian [Andor], and if you’re willing to go into this journey with me –I’m just the director here, so we have to convince a bunch of people. This is the beginning of a journey, I can’t promise you you’re gonna do this film, but I can tell you that I want to do it with you, so if we work on this we might make this happen.” And I said, “Let’s do it!” I put myself on tape once in Mexico, the one time I went to London –I was in Paris shooting something else and went to London to have a session with him. And after four months I finally received the phone call from him saying, “Welcome to Star Wars” and that was such a happy moment, such an important day in my life. But the next thing he said was, “Don’t tell anyone.”