'Andor' 's Diego Luna Says Being Part of the 'Star Wars' Universe 'Is Something I'm Never Going to Get Used To'

"I still go back to feeling like a lucky kid that suddenly got to play in the playground he was         dreaming of," Luna tells PEOPLE of starring in the Star Wars prequel series Andor

ARCHIVO - Diego Luna posa para promover la película "Wander Darkly" en el Festival de Cine de Sundance, el 24 de enero de 2020 en Park City, Utah. Luna hace la voz de la ardilla Chip en la cinta animada “DC League of Super-Pets” (“DC Liga de Súpermascotas”). (Foto por Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP, archivo)
Photo: Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP

Diego Luna is living out his childhood dreams in the Star Wars' prequel, Andor.

Playing the lead role of Cassian Andor in the series, Luna, 42, speaks with PEOPLE in this week's issue about how it feels to be in the Star Wars universe after growing up as a fan of the franchise.

"I still go back to feeling like a lucky kid that suddenly got to play in the playground he was dreaming of. It's that kind of feeling because I did grow up with this universe," Luna says. "It's part of my past so deeply, that being asked to do what I love the most in this universe is something I'm never going to get used to. And I shouldn't."

"I'm always going to be excited in a very specific way [that] I can't be excited about in any other job," he continues. "But it also means something really important in that what seemed like a very big risk, it's paying off."

(L-R): Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgard) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Diego Luna in Andor. Disney+

Luna "made many jokes about all the possibilities" of telling Cassian's story since starring in 2016 standalone film Rogue One [A Star Wars Story], admitting that back then, "We had no clue if it was going to work or not."

"I had no idea. We were taking risks. We were doing a show that was different ... There's no Jedis around ... it's just regular people," he explains. "At the same time, it connects with the cinema and the stories that have mattered to me in my life."

"It's an interesting hybrid between the cinema I grew up looking at and doing and also the cinema that will blow my mind in terms of the scale and the scope of it. And this story hopes to have both," Luna shares.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story..L to R: Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk)..Ph: Jonathan Olley..© 2016 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. null Copyright: 2016 Lucasfilm Ltd. & u00E2u201Eu00A2, All Rights Reserved. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY **EXCLUSIVE TO PEOPLE SPECIAL ROGUE ONE ISSUE**
Lucasfilm Ltd.

"To go there and be of interest and about action again, like Star Wars [does] best. But at the same time, [it's] very intimate and character-driven and very personal and small sometimes, in a way that you didn't know if it was going to work," he continues. "And then [the] Rogue One payoff, it has a huge follow. There's so many fans that appreciate the tone of it, the darkness and breathiness. And right now, it feels different because we know that's possible."

He adds: "We know Rogue One went well. That's why we are here. So there's room for something like this in the universe of Star Wars and it feels great to be part."

The new Disney+ series will follow the journey of Andor, a man tasked with breaking into the Empire to hurt the government from the inside — all in the name of justice.

Taking place before the events of the 2016 film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the galaxy is in turmoil as violence and discomfort span across planets. The Empire is at the helm, but a rumble begins throughout the citizens who simply won't stand for their oppression any longer.

"We're going to visit five years before Cassian Andor goes on the mission that we see him in Rogue One," Luna says of Andor's plot.

Luna also says it was "always good to know that the story of Cassian back then had a beginning and an end, that I was committing to something I could conceptually understand," when learning about his character's backstory while filming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

"It made complete sense in that second," he continues. "It's not necessarily [a] character driven story, ... [but] you get hints and bits and pieces of each character, where they come from. Cassian has an accent no one else has, therefore he has to be from somewhere else."

Ultimately, learning more about his character has become an enjoyable — and worthwhile — process.

"[Cassian] says in the moment, 'I fight since I was six years old. I'm part of this fight since I was six years old.' And you go like, what? What does that mean? But he doesn't explain," he notes. "So it is very interesting now, to go and explain how someone can get to the point of sacrificing everything for a cause. How does someone get there? And that, to me, was an exciting challenge."

The first three episodes of Andor debut Sept. 21 on Disney+, with following episodes airing each Wednesday.

For more on Diego Luna, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

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