Andor Showcases A Kind Of Star Wars Rebel We Haven't Seen Before With Stellan Skarsgård's Luthen Rael

"Andor," the latest Star Wars show on Disney+, continues to differentiate itself in tone, character development, and attention to detail in its world. The marketing had always painted the series as showing the birth of the rebellion. Luckily for viewers, "Andor" delivers on that promise, not on a superficial level. The birth of the revolution is more than just a group of fighters gathering and taking up arms. That is never more evident than with the character of Luthen Rael, played by Stellan Skarsgård.

The fourth episode of "Andor" highlights a more bureaucratic part of the Rebel Alliance hardly seen in Star Wars media. Episode 4 focuses heavily on Luthen fighting unseen battles, struggles that involve keeping his growing revolution and the fighters themselves alive. A big reason why these scenes from this week's episode are so engaging is because of Skarsgård's performance. The actor's portrayal of the character of Luthen makes these unseen machinations of the rebellion feel all the more important while making the story's stakes feel real.

A Rebel with two faces

After Luthen sends Cassian off on his own, episode 4 of "Andor" splits the narrative to showcase two sides to the burgeoning Rebel Alliance. The first three episodes of the series put Luthen on display as he truly is: a stoic and cutthroat believer in change and revolution. Episode 4 of the series shows us the face Luthen puts on, literally and metaphorically, to get the rebellion where it needs to go. 

On top of being a thrilling spy series, "Andor" showcases the more tedious and political side of funding a rebellion. I use the word "tedious" not because it's hard to watch but to better contrast it with the action-packed finale of the third episode. Watching Skarsgård's character moonlight as an art dealer for the elite on Coruscant is anything but boring. 

Luthen tries to rehearse being aloof and carefree after the events of the last episode, preparing to put on his facade to avoid suspicion. Seeing this sequence play out, complete with Luthen putting on a wig, is humorous and intense. The scene is more than just entertaining — it shows Star Wars fans a different kind of rebel than they're used to seeing. As the series' first two episodes already established, "Andor" isn't all blaster fights and grand battles. There are other moving parts to something so large-scale, and the dedication "Andor" has to show a different side of the rebellion is refreshing.

Less action, more stakes

Even though Luthen's more bureaucratic perspective in creating a rebellion is less action-packed, that doesn't make it any less intense. One key sequence in episode 4 of "Andor" has him conversing with Mon Mothma, one of his key partners and financial backers. Using the guise of purchasing a piece of art, Mothma reveals the Empire's tightening grip on her and her funds. We, as viewers, are given a bleak update on an already grim situation. 

Seeing Andor join a group of rebels with little to nothing to work with in a makeshift outdoors base only helps to accentuate the feeling of desperation Skarsgård gives in his excellent performance.  Stellan Skarsgård's acting, paired with excellent writing and attention to detail, makes Luthen Rael a different kind of rebel. 

The character of Luthen exemplifies everything "Andor" is doing right in making itself a "Star Wars" series that sets itself apart. Skarsgård's Luthen is already becoming one of the most engaging characters in the series, and I can't wait to see how his character handles the empire's walls closing in on him and his fellow rebels. If the third episode is anything to go by, Luthen, for all his financial and political clout as a wealthy aristocrat on Coruscant, is at his most lethal when put into a corner.