I was chatting with the wonderful host of Rogue Fun: A Star Wars Podcast, Alice, about episode 4 of Andor, “Aldhani.” We got on the topic of Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) and his mysterious kyber crystal that he gives to Cassian (Diego Luna). There was something about that entire scene that felt off to us. The logic of Luthen’s choices, his dialogue with Cassian, and his conversation with Vel (Faye Marsay) weren’t adding up. Like the good fans we are, we went full Charlie conspiracy theory memes from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on this idea.
What if Luthen’s kyber crystal is fake and it has some kind of bug planted on it to spy on Vel’s crew? Or it has some kind of tracking device inside of it?
Hear me out.
Luthen already has Cassian on board the mission by paying him 200,000 credits for his involvement. But when they arrive at Aldhani, that’s when Luthen’s mannerisms change. He pauses and takes off the kyber crystal from around his neck. He gives it to Cassian, explaining the important history behind the item and why it’s worth no less than 50,000 credits. He point-blank says it’s worth more to him than any money.
Then, Luthen explains the kyber crystal is a down payment but then follows up that he wants it back. He insists to Cassian twice that he wants it back. Which is very strange because that’s not how down payments work. When you give someone a down payment, they keep the amount. It’s not returned to you.
To continue on this conspiracy train, we get to the conversation between Luthen and Vel. There are several key pieces of dialogue he tells her. One was that he was already planning on shutting down her operation. This is why he pushes her to take Cassian so he doesn’t have to destroy her plans. They need this victory against the Empire.
He then specifically brings up the possibility that someone on her team might “fold” and back out at the last minute. This is why Cassian is there as a replacement for them. This implies Luthen has doubts about Vel’s team.
But the strangest bit is Luthen gives Vel full permission to kill Cassian if she needs to. If he really sees Cassian as “disposable” as he says, then why give him an incredibly valuable kyber crystal in the first place if there is a real chance he won’t get it back? We, the audience, know that Cassian will be fine as this is a prequel show to Rogue One. But in the context of the story, Luthen does not have that luxury.
So, what does this all mean in my theory?
To spin off my crazy conspiracy, the kyber crystal could be a morality test for Cassian. If Cassian runs, then perhaps the crystal has some sort of small tracking device inside of the holder part of the necklace. That way, Luthen can find him again if he needs to.
But my bigger idea behind this is Luthen is planting the kyber crystal on Cassian to spy on Vel’s team. It could have some kind of listening device built into it. Luthen clearly has doubts about this mission. Maybe he thinks there is a mole in her group and he’s trying to find out who it is. Or maybe he wants to see if she’s really up to the task to lead for future projects.
This is a spy thriller show. Something like a bugged device planted on a person to spy on someone else is a common storytelling plot in these kinds of tales. If the kyber crystal is actually a spy device, then of course it is worth more to Luthen than any money. Knowledge is the most priceless thing in this scenario. He would need to know if there are any spies in his midst to keep his rebel cell running. This is the exact kind of subterfuge I would expect from a character like Luthen.
I could also be reading far too much into these scenarios and be full of poo-doo. Luthen is a double-agent character. He could have been lying to Cassian, Vel, or both of them just to make the plan go off by any means possible.
To be honest, I don’t actually believe in this conspiracy that Alice and I came up with, but it was very fun to speculate about. As I said, this is a spy show. I would expect some kind of bugged item or listening device to come into play at some point in this type of series.
Whatever happens, it’s this kind of crazy that makes being in fandom fun as we wait for the next episode.
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