Who is Stellan Skarsgård playing in Andor? Luthen Rael explained
Get the inside scoop on the show's intriguing "puppet master".
Star Wars has no shortage of enigmatic rogues, but it's about to welcome yet another. We're talking about Andor character Luthen Rael, who is played in the Disney Plus series by superstar actor Stellan Skarsgård.
The mysterious character has been a major presence in the Andor trailers, where he is shown to be someone who will sacrifice everything for the good of the rebel cause.
Naturally, he'll be a formative figure in the life of Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), who goes on to become one of the galaxy's most noble heroes for his involvement in stealing the Death Star plans – as seen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Skarsgård's role has been shrouded in mystery in the lead up to Andor's release, so here's everything you need to know about Luthen Rael before streaming the new series on Disney Plus.
Who is Luthen Rael?
Luthen Rael is a spy who enlists Andor for a dangerous mission, described by series creator and head writer Tony Gilroy as the "master puppeteer" of the action-packed story.
"He is the character that links many characters, and he comes at the revolution with an incredible intensity," Gilroy says of Luthen. "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.
"He deals with Mon Mothma on one end, and he finds Cassian on the other end. The timing of their meeting is very providential for both of them."
From these comments, we can gather that Luthen is a key figure in the formation of what will eventually become the Rebel Alliance, although Skarsgård himself has hinted that the character operates in shades of grey.
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What has Stellan Skarsgård said about joining Star Wars?
Stellan Skarsgård is no stranger to major franchise work, having held a recurring role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Dr Erik Selvig and recently portraying Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in sci-fi epic Dune.
Upon joining Star Wars, Skarsgård said: "I love Rogue One because it's interested in the human conditions and the human conflicts. So, when I talked to Tony Gilroy, the things he talked about when he talked about the character were very interesting for me.
"Tony showed me what he had written, which was complicated and mysterious in a way because he doesn't reveal everything about this character, and still after twelve episodes you don't know everything. But the way he thought about the character and what was the inner conflict of the character was interesting to me."
Just as Cassian Andor shocked audiences in Rogue One with his sudden murder of an informant, fans should expect Luthen Rael to also do some questionable things over the course of this series.
Skarsgård added: "He's complex and there's a lot of contradiction in him, which attracts me because I really don't like the idea of good and evil people. That sort of binary way of looking at humanity, I think, is an incredibly dangerous way to look at humans.
"So, I'm very grateful for the ambiguity of the character. He lives a kind of double life or maybe triple life, we don’t know. He actually is two characters in a way in this story, which makes him a lot of fun to play, going between those two, rather different, characters."
Who is Andor actor Stellan Skarsgård?
These days, Skarsgård is best known to audiences as Marvel character Dr Erik Selvig, having played the role in three Thor movies and two Avengers crossovers.
However, his career actually dates back to the 1970s, when he made his screen debut in smaller films produced in his home country of Sweden.
He began acting in English-language projects in the mid-1980s, with early gigs including The Unbearable Lightness of Being and The Hunt for Red October.
Among Skarsgård's biggest hits are the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, where he played Bootstrap Bill Turner, and ABBA musical Mamma Mia.
Andor is available to stream on Disney Plus from Wednesday 21st September 2022. New episodes weekly. Sign up to Disney Plus for £7.99 a month or £79.90 for a year.
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