It’s weird to remember a time not so long ago when live-action Star Wars content felt like a true rarity.
Alas, the iconic sci-fi franchise found a fortunate home on Disney+, opening up exciting opportunities to offer the fandom ambitious and high-budget episodic adventures. We’ve already seen the likes of The Mandalorian, Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett, but now it’s time for Tony Gilroy’s Andor.
Serving as a prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and taking place five years prior, we’re reintroduced to the titular Cassian Andor, with Diego Luna reprising the role.
Although he’ll be familiar to many, a wealth of other characters will encourage audiences to seek answers. Namely, Luthen Rael…
Who is Luthen Rael in Andor?
Luthen lived through the Imperial Era and is introduced into the mix as Bix Caleen’s dealer contact.
The series chronicles Andor’s past pre-Rogue One and how he came to be involved in the Alliance, which we now know Luthen proved an instrumental part of.
Although we’re sure to learn more about him – curiously, he’s nowhere to be seen during the events of Rogue One – we do get to know the buyer a little. This is actually the first we’ve ever seen the character in Star Wars and he’s been determined to make contact with Cassian for a while and is finally able to do so when Cassian asks Bix to sell him an NS9 Starpath Unit so he can flee Ferrix.
Upon their first meeting, Luthen tells Cassian that he wants to work with him because he’s “special”. As Cassian is being targeted by Syril Karn, Luthen essentially offers him a chance to escape: join the Alliance and take down the Empire.
Luthen’s prior knowledge of Cassian and a range of other details of the galaxy tell us that he’s well-connected, intelligent and has his finger on the pulse.
“He is the character that links many characters,” Tony said of Luthen, as reported by the Radio Times. “And he comes at the revolution with an incredible intensity. When you meet him, he’s got a secret identity. He has a very upscale gallery where he sells galactic antiquities. But the hunt for antiquities gives him permission to go off and fly around and do different things.
“Luthen has been out in the galaxy for the past thirteen years talent scouting, building relationships, buying stolen military equipment from one place, selling it someplace else, making sure that people talk to each other, building this huge network.”
Who plays Luthen Rael in Star Wars?
Luthen is played by the one and only Stellan Skarsgård.
The 71-year-old Swedish actor should be a stranger to very few and has notably starred in such movies as Dune (he played Baron Vladimir Harkonnen), Avengers: Age of Ultron and the Thor films (Erik Selvig), Melancholia (Jack), Mamma Mia! (Bill), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (Bootstrap Bill), and Deep Blue Sea (Jim Whitlock).
On the other hand, TV toles include Chernobyl (Boris Shcherbina), River (John River), and Red Brazil (Villegagnon).
‘It had much more atmosphere’
Stellan previously spoke to The Daily Beast about his history of watching Star Wars movies:
“Of course I’ve seen all the Star Wars films, because I’ve had children in the ‘80s, and the ‘90s, and the 2000s, and the 2010s. I’ve had children in five decades, which means you’ve seen all the Star Wars films — and seen all the toys as well.”
He continued: “But when I saw Rogue One, it had much more atmosphere and seemed a little more mature — and that was Tony Gilroy, who’s the showrunner on this one. So, hopefully this one will be a little more than little plastic people falling over.”
Andor is streaming exclusively on Disney+.