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Characters In Andor Season 1 That Mean More Than You Think

Set after the events of the prequel trilogy and just before "Rogue One" — which leads directly into the original trilogy — the Disney+ series "Andor" occurs during a pivotal moment in "Star Wars" history, one populated with plenty of fan favorites including Darth Vader and Princess Leia. Rather than focus on these well-known figures, however, showrunner Tony Gilroy was mandated by Disney execs to avoid acts of fan service in favor of introducing a brand-new lineup of rebels, Imperial officers, droids, and scoundrels, further expanding the constantly growing "Star Wars" universe.

While this sets Cassian Andor's tale apart from established storylines, many of these new characters still have strong ties to existing "Star Wars" families and famous events. From minor figures previously only seen in "Star Wars: Legends" material to unexpected cameos from major "Star Wars" actors, here are the characters in Season 1 of "Andor" that mean more than you think. Spoilers ahead.

Colonel Wullf Yularen

Originally played by Robert Clarke in "A New Hope," Colonel Wullf Yularen gained an extensive backstory via multiple appearances in various "Star Wars" media. Fans of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" know that Yularen (voiced by Tom Kane in the animated series) was originally a Republic officer who served with Jedi General Anakin Skywalker. Yularen coordinated many attacks and earned a distinguished service record.

Unfortunately, when the Republic fell, Yularen became part of the new Empire and was eventually granted the rank of colonel. By the events of "Andor," Colonel Yularen — now played by Malcolm Sinclair — has been charged with unearthing acts of sedition in the Senate and stamping out the growing resistance. In the seventh episode, "Announcement," Yularen addresses the Imperial Security Bureau (ISB), informing them that Emperor Palpatine is now granting ISB officers full access to the Empire's army and naval resources to root out potential rebels.

Although his appearance is brief, Yularen plays a major role in the events of the story when he informs his Imperial officers that; "Any criminal act with even indirect effect on the Empire will henceforth be branded a Class One offense. All prison sentences are immediately reevaluated." This ultimately leads to Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) being sentenced to six years in an Imperial facility simply for looking suspicious.

Colonel Yularen continues to serve the Empire in the animated series "Star Wars: Rebels," in which he's tasked by Grand Admiral Thrawn with finding the rebel spy known as Fulcrum. Ironically, "Fulcrum" turns out to be Yularen's star pupil Agent Kallus. Ultimately, Yularen meets his end when the rebels blow up the first Death Star at the end of "A New Hope."

Mon Mothma

Mon Mothma may be the biggest "Star Wars" character to appear in "Andor." Initially portrayed by Caroline Blakiston in "Return of the Jedi," Mothma later returned in the prequel trilogy, "Rogue One," "Star Wars: Rebels," and "Andor," this time played by Irish actor Genevieve O'Reilly.

Originally a senator representing her homeworld of Chandrila, Mon Mothma promoted peace and democracy during the Clone Wars. After the Empire rose, Mon Mothma retained her seat in the Imperial Senate and secretly helped organize what would become the Rebel Alliance with Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) and Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård). Although most of her previous appearances have been limited to cameos, "Andor" grants Mothma considerably more screen time as she attempts to smuggle money to help the rebels while arguing with Rael about the brutality of his resistance methods.

Since she's still a public figure, Mothma must also cultivate the image of a "polite, sometimes indecisive senator" to avoid suspicion. Ultimately, Mothma would resign from the Imperial Senate, publicly denounce Emperor Palpatine, and work directly with the Rebel Alliance. Her efforts earned her plenty of respect and she was elected first chancellor of the New Republic Senate.

Vel Sartha

"Star Wars" movies usually follow the Skywalker family, with the films focusing on the exploits of Anakin, Luke, Leia, and later Ben Solo. However, "Andor" places the spotlight on a different bloodline — the Mothma family tree. This includes Vel Sartha (Faye Marsay), a member of Luthen Rael's resistance network and the Aldhani rebel infiltration team who's later revealed to be Mon Mothma's cousin.

Unlike Mon Mothma, who aids the Rebel Alliance in secret, Vel takes a more direct route, stealing a large number of credits from the Imperial payroll with her team in the sixth episode, "The Eye." She's successful, but sadly she loses several members of her team in the process. Later, she's tasked with killing Cassian to tie up loose ends, which, of course, doesn't happen.

What Vel really wants to do is run away with her girlfriend Cinta Kaz (Varada Sethu). However, she's reminded that the fight against the Empire must come before her own needs, showing how much she — like Mon Mothma — must sacrifice in order to serve the Rebel Alliance. According to Faye Marsay, Vel is an important character because she represents another step forward in terms of representation. "People love who they love, and I think it's important that we don't forget that, and we just normalize the normal," she told /Film. "I think 'Star Wars' is a great platform for that because it means so much to so many."

Leida Mothma

Although she makes her live action debut in "Andor," Leida Mothma (Bronte Carmichael), the daughter of Mon Mothma, has been around for longer than most audience members might suspect. In 1993, fans learned that Mon Mothma had a daughter in the "Dark Empire Sourcebook," a supplement for West End Games' "Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game." Her name was later revealed in the 2002 reference book "The New Essential Guide to Characters." When George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, all this information was classified as "Star Wars Legends" material and became non-canon. With the reintroduction of Leida in "Andor," however, the character is once again part of official "Star Wars" canon.

Thus far, Leida has been portrayed as an angry teenager who feels like she's being used as a tool in her mother's political career. It doesn't help matters when shady banker Davo Sculdun (Richard Dillane) attempts to set up a possible betrothal between Leida and his teenage son in exchange for helping Mon Mothma with her financial woes. Although disgusted by the idea, Mon Mothma ends up arranging an introduction between the two at the end of "Andor" Season 1, showing how much she's willing to compromise in order to support the Rebellion.

Interestingly, Leida also has a brother, Jobin, who appears in the "Star Wars Visionaries" comic book story "Entrenched." Jobin is a rebel soldier who serves during the Battle of Hoth but fails to get off the planet and is later killed by Darth Vader. All of this is currently considered "Legends" material, so it will be interesting to see if Jobin is introduced at some point in "Andor."

Luthen Rael

Fans were ecstatic when they heard that Stellan Skarsgård, perhaps best known for playing Dr. Erik Selvig in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, would be joining the "Star Wars" universe as the rebel leader Luthen Rael. Although he operates publicly as a Coruscant antiques dealer, Rael secretly recruits people like Cassian Andor to help in rebel missions. While he's technically one of the "good" guys, his tactics are often cruel and he intentionally provokes the Empire into hurting the general public so more people will join the Rebellion. He even attempts to have Cassian assassinated to prevent the Empire from learning what he knows, but by the season finale it looks like he may bring Cassian into the Rebel Alliance.

Many of Rael's best scenes take place in his antique shop, which is full of props and items from other "Star Wars" properties. Sharp-eyed fans will have noticed a Mandalorian suit of armor, Jedi holocrons, a Kashyyyk clarion, Gungan shields, and a Jedi Temple guard mask, among other items. This last item could well be a hint about Luthen's true nature and why he's more important than you may have realized.

There's a fan theory going around that Luthen has links with the Jedi. When he gives his big speech to spy Lonni Jung, he says: "I wake up every day to an equation I wrote 15 years ago from which there's only one conclusion, I'm damned for what I do." Because of where "Andor" takes place in the "Star Wars" timeline, 15 years in the past would line up with Order 66, the event that saw the Jedi systemically wiped out by the Grand Army of the Republic. Is Luthen a Force user? Was he involved in Order 66? Only time will tell.

Saw Gerrera

"Andor" sees Luthen Rael travel to Segra Milo where he meets up with extremist resistance leader Saw Gerrera. Originally voiced by Andrew Kishino in "The Clone Wars," Saw once fought against the Separatist Droid Army. Although he worked with the Jedi and Clone Troopers, who taught his fighters new battle techniques, Saw grew resentful of the Republic and later fought against it when it became the Galactic Empire.

At the beginning of "Rogue One," Saw (now played by Forest Whitaker) leads a resistance group known as the Partisans and allies himself with former Imperial engineer Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen). He adopts Galen's daughter Jyn (Felicity Jones) after Galen is captured by the Empire. He later abandons Jyn due to his growing paranoia that others will discover she is the daughter of an Imperial collaborator.

Saw's paranoia is strong by the time he meets Luthen Rael, refusing to work with former separatist Anto Kreegyr. He reconsiders his position in the eleventh episode, "Daughter of Ferrix," but by then the Imperials have learned of Kreegyr's attack and Rael decides to sacrifice Kreegyr's team in a ruthless bid to make the ISB overconfident. Showing he's just as ruthless as Rael, Saw chooses not to warn Kreegyr.

Saw continues to work with the Rebel Alliance in "Star Wars: Rebels," although his brutal tactics place him in opposition to several rebels, including Mon Mothma. By the time Jyn catches up with him in "Rogue One," Saw's life of violence has taken a toll. He's lost his right leg and can no longer breathe without the aid of a mask, making him a disturbing parallel of Darth Vader. Although he chooses to die on Jedha, his appearance in "Andor" indicates we probably haven't seen the last of Saw in "Star Wars" media.

Kino Loy

Andy Serkis seemed poised to become the "Star Wars" franchise's newest big bad when he provided the voice and motion capture for Supreme Leader Snoke in "The Force Awakens." However, his role was cut short (literally) when Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) sliced him in two before the end of "The Last Jedi." So, it came as a bit of a shock when Serkis popped up in "Andor" — not as Snoke, but as Kino Loy, an inmate in the same Imperial facility Cassian gets sent to.

Loy oversees the work of his fellow prisoners and is only interested in serving out the rest of his sentence so he can regain his freedom. However, when he learns that nobody ever gets released, he works with Andor to engineer a prison break. Although he inspires the prisoners to help each other and swim to safety, Loy himself cannot swim and ends up staying in the prison complex.

Considering where "Andor" falls in the "Star Wars" timeline and Serkis' previous role as Supreme Leader Snoke, could Kino's story be tied to Snoke in some way? Not according to Serkis, who has revealed that he created his own personal backstory for Kino Loy. To Serkis, Loy was a foreman who was sentenced to prison for trying to stand up for his workers' rights.

While his final fate remains unknown, it's highly unlikely he'll somehow become Snoke in the future. That being said, we don't actually see him die during the big prison break sequence, so there's a good chance he'll pop up again in "Andor" Season 2, perhaps coming to the aid of the title character.

Ruescott Melshi

One cameo that may have flown over the heads of viewers is the appearance of Ruescott Melshi (Duncan Pow). In "Rogue One," Melshi is a sergeant in the Rebel Alliance and a friend of Cassian. He leads the rebel extraction team that saves Jyn Erso from a labor camp at the beginning of the film and later volunteers to help Jyn and Cassian steal the Death Star plans from Scarif.

In "Andor," we learn that Melshi and Cassian met in the Narkina 5 Imperial Prison Complex where they both served in the same work section. Later, Melshi escapes thanks to a prisoner uprising led by Andor, which helps explain why the two men trust each other so much in "Rogue One." Sadly, Melshi perishes along with all the other rebels on Scarif when the first Death Star obliterates the base they're on. Despite his death, Melshi's legacy lives on, and he's actually more important than you may have realized.

In the reference book "Star Wars: The Rebel Files," we learn that the extraction plan he developed to rescue Jyn Erso could be used for similar Resistance operations against the First Order. He may be gone, but he left a lasting contribution to the rebel cause and to the franchise as a whole. Considering how many "Star Wars" characters have received expanded backstories after their demise, it's possible we haven't seen the last of Ruescott Melshi in other "Star Wars" media.

KX Security Droid

One of the best breakout characters in "Rogue One" is K-2SO, the reprogrammed Imperial security droid who aids the rebels in their attacks on the Empire. Voiced by Alan Tudyk, "Kay" rivals C-3PO in both sarcasm and cynicism. Even so, he's a loyal friend to Cassian and ultimately sacrifices himself to make sure the rebels get the Death Star plans. Cassian feels a kinship with K-2SO and becomes genuinely distraught when the droid is killed.

Armed with this knowledge, it comes as a bit of a shock when we learn that Cassian's first encounter with a KX Security Droid is a decidedly unfriendly one. In the episode "Announcement," an Imperial Shoretrooper has a KX Security Droid arrest Cassian simply for looking suspicious. After the Shoretrooper requests that the droid "hang on to this one," the KX unit takes the order a bit too literally and grabs Cassian by the throat, nearly strangling him.

Could this brutal droid be the same K-2SO who will one day be Cassian's friend? Current "Star Wars" canon indicates that Cassian reprogrammed K-2SO in the comic book "Rogue One — Cassian & K-2SO Special." The comic's events take place after Cassian joins the Rebellion, so it's possible the droid that arrested Cassian and Kay are two different units. Then again, with the way ironic relationships work in "Star Wars," it's very possible that the same droid who got Cassian sent to prison will one day save his life.

Shoretrooper on Niamos

Speaking of that Shoretrooper who has a KX Security Droid hang on to Cassian, it turns out he has a pretty strong link to the "Star Wars" franchise — or at least his voice actor does. While he's uncredited, series sound editor David Acord has confirmed that popular "Star Wars" voice actor Sam Witwer provides the trooper's voice.

Fans of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," "Star Wars: Rebels," and "Star Wars: Battlefront II" will know that Witwer has voiced both Darth Maul and Emperor Palpatine. He also provided the voice of Maul in "Solo: A Star Wars Story" (while actor Ray Park returned to portray Maul physically). Witwer has also played other "Star Wars" characters in animation and video games, notably playing the fan favorite character Starkiller in "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed" and "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II."

With Star Wars media constantly expanding, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that we end up learning more about this particular trooper in an upcoming comic book or short story. Who knows — he could even show up again in the upcoming second season of "Andor."

Ars Dangor and Sly Moore

These next two characters don't actually appear on screen in "Andor," but they are mentioned and their history in the "Star Wars" universe is a disturbing one. A member of the Ruling Council of the Galactic Empire, Ars Dangor served as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's senior advisor during the Clone Wars. He continues to serve Palpatine after the rise of the Empire and appears briefly in "Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel," the prequel to "Rogue One."

Likewise, Sly Moore is an Umbaran who served as the Senior Administrative Aide and Chief of Staff to Palpatine in the final years of the Galactic Republic and knew that Palpatine was a Sith Lord. A Force Adept herself, Sly Moore could use the Force to manipulate the minds of others and became a member of the Grand Vizier Mas Amedda's private chamber after the formation of the Galactic Empire.

In the fourth episode of "Andor," entitled "Aldhani," Mon Mothma discovers both Sly Moore and Ars Dangor are on the guest list for her husband's dinner party. The news disgusts Mothma since both Moore and Dangor hate Mon Mothma and work to undo her attempts to help others. Specifically, the two are involved in cutting off the Ghorman shipping lanes, causing many worlds to starve. Their actions later cause Mothma to publicly denounce the Empire in the "Star Wars: Rebels" episode "Secret Cargo" and openly support the Rebellion.