“It’s like I’ve been preparing my whole life for this”, says Luna of starring in Rogue One.

Star Wars’ latest offering is a side chapter titled Rogue One. Introducing new characters, the story follows Jyn (Felicity Jones) and her rebel recruiter Cassian (Diego Luna). In an exclusive featurette Luna talks about the emotional and physical process of delving into his character.

“This character is the story I grew up with,” Luna says. “It’s like I’ve been preparing my whole life for this.” Already a huge fan of the Star Wars series, Luna plays an essential character in the plot. He is a member of the rebel alliance who tracks down Jyn to get to her father, the scientist who designed the Death Star. Once Jyn is on board to take down Vader’s evil plans, Cassian tells her, “If you’re really doing this, I want to help.”

Mixing high action with deeper human themes, Luna shares what it was like blending subtle acting while also doing physical stunts to portray Cassian. “It’s challenging because one day you’re doing a very emotional scene but the next day you’re beating some storm troopers.”

In many action sequences, he is the leader of the rebel pack, attacking and shooting the enemies left and right. He is also at the emotional centerpiece of the film, forming a bond with Jyn and helping her cope with her inner demons. “It’s fun”, Luna says, “It has a little bit of everything.”

Doing the physically grueling action work was immersive for the cast and crew, particularly for Luna being one of the lead heroes. “We’re on a deserted island, doing battles and running and chasing,” Luna says. Rogue One features beautiful tropical island locations with epic battle sequences and explosions. Luna trained for the fight scenes which involves running in deeps sand and ocean water, and fighting in hot, humid weather, all while wearing heavy costumes. Luna says he and the cast were “living the experience.”

Diego Luna was the breakout star of 2001’s indie hit Y Tu Mama Tambien. He has since worked in many big films both in Mexico and the US like The Terminal (Tom Hanks), Milk (Sean Penn), and Elysium (Matt Damon). He will star in 2017’s anticipated reboot of Flatliners. In addition to acting, Luna also writes, produces, and directs films.

When asked what it was like to work on Rogue One, Luna laughs giddily and says, “It’s a true adventure and you’re enjoying the ride in a galaxy far, far away.”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is now playing in theaters.