Meet Andor's Luthen Rael, The Star Wars Universe's Tragically Unsung Rebel Commander [Exclusive]

It ain't easy being a hero in the overlooked corner of the "Star Wars" universe inhabited by Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and the various figures in his circles. As shown in the Disney+ series "Andor" (and "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" before it), this is a very different kind of tale from the grand, operatic, and mythic storytelling of the main Skywalker Saga films. Here, good guys die without even a moment of glory, the bad guys succeed precisely because of the ruthless precision and efficiency in their mundane bureaucracy, and otherwise straightforward concepts like "good" and "bad" in the first place start to break down dramatically. Without Jedi, the Force, or predestined prophecies to help, the outmanned and outgunned rebels of "Andor" are truly on their own.

Nobody represents this lonely, underdog struggle quite like Stellan Skarsgård's Luthen Rael. The shadowy figure was first introduced early on as a mysterious broker, facilitating Bix Caleen's (Adria Arjona) trafficking of stolen items right from under the Empire's nose. Little did we realize just how much more there was to Luthen than initially met the eye. With the relentless private security force led by Syril Karn hot on Andor's heels, Luthen had no choice but to play the hand he was dealt and reveal the true purpose behind making contact: recruitment to the Rebellion.

In the weeks since, the undercover Rebel leader has rapidly turned into one of the most multifaceted — and mysterious — characters ever introduced into franchise canon. As it happens, /Film can exclusively debut a new behind-the-scenes "Andor" featurette that's all about the enigma of Luthen Rael. Watch it for yourself below!

'Luthen Rael is in constant danger'

Paranoia. Constant fear over being caught. The overwhelming need to protect his identity and, by extension, the survival of the young Rebellion at all costs.

Serving as a secret rebel sympathizer isn't for the faint of heart, as this new behind-the-scenes look at Luthen Rael in "Andor" emphasizes beyond any doubt. Forced into a double life as a dealer of antiquities in Coruscant by day — reminiscent of how Genevieve O'Reilly's Mon Mothma must put on an act in the Senate every day of her life — but as a rebel spy by night, Luthen's activities under the cover of darkness involve a slightly more hands-on approach. That means staging elaborate heists, making peace between squabbling factions, and, generally, waging a grueling and desperate war against the unstoppable might of the Imperial war machine.

With the season finale set to debut in short order, the stakes simply could not be higher for either Cassian or Andor. After successfully pulling off the heist of the Empire's sector payroll, Andor chose that moment to make a clean break from the motley crew (the surviving ones, at least) and go his own separate way. That, of course, represented nothing but bad news for Luthen. Having recruited Cassian personally and put himself at risk, it takes very little moral agonizing at all for Luthen to order a hit on this one last remaining loose thread. Ostensibly on the same side but driven apart by circumstances out of their control, it certainly seems as if both Luthen and Andor are building towards quite the tragic confrontation in this final episode.

'A sunrise that I know I'll never see'

By its very nature, war is full of nameless and faceless individuals who help turn the tide of battle through their anonymous sacrifices. But whereas some play slightly more triumphant roles — think of the "many Bothans" who died to retrieve crucial intel on Death Star 2.0 or Andor helping transmit the plans for the original Death Star at the cost of his own life in "Rogue One" — others will forever be relegated to the shadows, not even meriting a single mention in the pages of history.

Increasingly, that appears to be the fate of Luthen Rael, a rebel leader unlike any other. What's more, his most recent show-stopping monologue in episode 10 confirmed that he remains well aware of this fact, as well. Not only does this acknowledgment instantly turn him into one of the most fascinating and tragic characters in all of "Star Wars," but it finally provides some much-needed context for all his actions to this point. Suddenly, the otherwise black-and-white viewpoint of this galaxy far, far away has been invaded by shades of grey. All but blackmailing his own painstakingly-groomed source Lonni Jung (Robert Emms) with threats against his family should he not cooperate, Luthen proves himself capable of some wildly unethical measures to secure the greater good. With Cassian next in his sights, it remains to be seen just how far either rebel will go to save their own skin.

Based on what we saw in the original trilogy, the Rebellion relied on the selfless efforts of classic heroic archetypes to defeat the fascism of Darth Vader and the Emperor. "Andor" presupposes that, without complicated figures like Luthen Rael, Luke Skywalker might never have been able to take that fateful shot in the first place.