Editor’s note: The below contains spoilers for the first three episodes of Andor.Although the Star Wars saga is based on mythological stories of good and evil, Andor adds a little more nuance to what defines heroism and villainy. The characters that we’ve met in the series thus far are morally gray, and unclear in their intentions. In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Cassian (Diego Luna) admits that he has done terrible things on behalf of the Rebel Alliance. We see just a brief glimpse of his disreputable activities in the first episode of Andor, when Cassian kills two Preox-Morlana officers in a street brawl.

Among the most interesting figures in Andor’s rogues’ gallery is the enigmatic resistance leader Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgard). Luthen is involved in some sort of illegal operation that Cassian is drawn into. Although we don’t know much about Luthen’s motivations quite yet, it’s clear that he will be a major part of the series moving forward. The teaser trailers have indicated that Luthen has conversations with both Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) and Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker).

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Getting an actor of Skarsgard’s caliber is also a major win for Tony Gilroy and the Andor creative team. While the Star Wars franchise has never failed to attract acclaimed performers, Skarsgard shows the same amount of dramatic range in the first batch of Andor episodes as he does in his most beloved work.

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What Is Luthen’s Operation?

In the second episode, “That Would Be Me,” Cassian’s companion Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona) arranges a meeting with Luthen. Luthen is only referred to as a “buyer,” and Cassian notices that his arrival puts the local Imperial Officers on high alert. Bix’s business relationship with Luthen is clearly covert; she lies to her boyfriend, Timm Karlo (James McArdle), about her activities.

As he prepares for the meeting, Luthen sits in the middle of a public transport and listens to the conversations of other travelers. He’s not too keen to speak up, and sits back and watches the landscape instead of making any remarks. This signifies that Luthen has learned the consequences of being too friendly. He doesn’t want to reveal any identifying information about himself that could provoke any investigation.

When Luthen Meets Cassian

Luthen and Cassian meet in a shadowy warehouse on Ferrix in the third episode, “Reckoning.” Unfortunately for Luthen, Cassian isn’t quite as experienced when it comes to masking his activities. He inadvertently reveals his location when he sends a message to his adoptive mother, Maarva (Fiona Shaw). Luthen forces Cassian to give up his comlink, and destroys it, adding that anything he says could be tracked.

Cassian believes that he is selling the NS-9 Starpath Unit to Luthen, but he’s surprised when Luthen reveals that he came to Ferrix to look for Cassian specifically. Luthen reveals details about Cassian’s past, including the death of his adoptive father Clem (Gary Beadle), that put him on edge. How does Luthen know all of this information? We don’t have time to find out, because this is when Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) and the Pre-Mor security officers surround the warehouse. Cassian and Luthen are forced to join forces during a climactic firefight.

Their escape reveals that Luthen has no shortage of combat experience. He creatively uses the pulley system in the warehouse to take down the Pre-Mor officers, and insists that Cassian kill Syril. Cassian isn’t quite that cold-blooded yet and chooses to let Syril go free. However, that’s not the only trick that Luthen has up his sleeve. He rigs a speeder to detonate in the middle of the street, which kills the security officers that surround it. This allows Cassian and Luthen to escape on another speeder.

Cassian boards Luthen’s ship as they make their departure. Luthen has clearly been planning this escape route, but the only question is what he has planned for Cassian. Although it doesn’t look like he’s involved with a formal group of any sort, Luthen may have ties to the future members of the Rebel Alliance.

Who Plays Luthen Rael?

Stellan Skarsgard is one of the most accomplished actors of his generation. He’s a frequent collaborator of the controversial auteur Lars von Trier, and co-starred in his films Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Melancholia, and the Nymphomaniac duology. However, younger viewers might recognize Skarsgard from his roles in popular franchises. He appears as Bill Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean series and the quirky scientist Dr. Erik Selvig in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Skarsgard has earned serious awards recognition recently, thanks to his powerful performance as Boris Shcherbina in the HBO miniseries Chernobyl. Skarsgard also received a Primetime Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie, and won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a television series, miniseries, or TV movie. His other notable work includes Ronin, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Good Will Hunting, and The Hunt for Red October.

Andor premieres new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+.

 

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