Warning: this article contains spoilers for Andor episode nine, “Nobody’s Listening!”
Episode nine of Andor ratchets up the galactic tension yet again, masterfully displaying the effects of the Imperial machine on all of our beloved (and not so beloved—looking at you Syril Karn) characters. The pot is quickly coming to a boil, and Mothma & Kolma are feeling the heat as they scramble to cover up their discreet rebellion funding.
Tay Kolma reveals to Mothma that there’s one particular withdrawal of 400,000 credits that sticks out like a sore thumb, and they’ll surely be found out if they don’t bury it in paper. He suggests that the best way to make the missing sum look innocuous is to make a deposit of the same amount—but Mothma quickly reminds him that she’s not that rich, and that she would need an under-the-table loan to come up with that amount. Luckily, Kolma anticipated this, and has already made contact with a financier that may be able to assist. That mysterious ally? A Chandrillan thug named Davo Sculdun.
So who is Davo Sculdun? Well, we only know what the episode tells us—he’s a brand new character. But we can use that information and some context from the broader galaxy far, far away to make a few deductions about the role that he’ll play in the birth of the rebellion.
According to Kolma, Sculdun is “the wealthiest thug of them all,” which is a hefty claim in such a large galaxy. When Mothma asks what Sculdun will think of a senator suspiciously missing 400k, Kolma answers, “he’ll think you’re just like everyone else he works with.” It seems Sculdun is the scumbag to know when it comes to illicit financial maneuvering, and his clientele tends to be the less-than-savory type.
The crime-lord archetype is certainly not new to Star Wars, but Andor gives us the opportunity to take a more nuanced look at the rebellion’s relationship to the gritty side of the galaxy. Perhaps this development will see Mothma give herself some ethical wiggle room in her personal rebellion—up until now, she’s been determined to play things as straight as possible, attempting to keep her ledger clear of hands-on rebel activity. Thanks to her role in later stories, we know that she steps boldly into leadership of the Rebel Alliance—so that character development is definitely coming at some point. Fans of expanded material like the Star Wars books and comics will already be aware that the Rebellion, under Mothma’s command, joined arms with some unsavory characters in order to resist the Empire’s tyranny—the Hidden Hand syndicate supplied them with weapons during Target Vader, and Crimson Dawn (lead by Qi’ra) became a major ally to the rebels in the years leading up to the battle of Endor.
So, the rebellion is getting their hands even more dirty—but could Sculdun already be in league with some bigger players? During Andor’s time period, there are five major known crime syndicates at large: the Hutt Clan, Crimson Dawn (presumably still lead by Maul, as Andor takes place only 5 years after Solo), the Black Sun, the Pykes, and the Crymorah Syndicate. Unfortunately, the major syndicates only care about money, and who has more money than the Empire? Nearly all of them are already working in cooperation with the Empire at this point. It would be a shame if Sculdun ends up double crossing Mothma and Kolma—but it certainly seems like a possibility given the moral territory that the two are wandering into.
We’ll no doubt have an easter egg or two in reference to the wider criminal underworld when we meet this shady character and his wife, who we know will appear portrayed by Rosalind Halstead thanks to a casting leak back in March. Regardless, I’m sure the situation will be tense as ever, as Andor tends to follow a three-episode pressure cooker formula that hasn’t failed us yet.
Make sure to come back to Dork Side of the Force for our thoughts on the next few episodes. May the Force be with you!