Is Luthen’s kyber crystal actually a spy device?

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I was chatting with the wonderful host of Rogue Fun: A Star Wars PodcastAlice, about episode 4 of Andor, “Aldhani”. We touched on the subject of Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) and his mysterious kyber crystal which he gives to Cassian (Diego Luna). There was something about this whole scene that we didn’t like. The logic of Luthen’s choices, his dialogue with Cassian, and his conversation with Vel (Faye Marsay) didn’t add up. Like the good fans that we are, we went full of Charlie’s conspiracy theory memes from Philadelphia is always sunny on this idea.

What if Luthen’s kyber crystal was fake and there was some kind of bug planted on it to spy on Vel’s crew? Or does it have some sort of tracking device inside?

Listen to me.

Luthen already has Cassian aboard the mission by paying him 200,000 credits for his involvement. But when they get to Aldhani, that’s when Luthen’s ways change. He stops and removes the kyber crystal around his neck. He gives it to Cassian, explaining the important story behind the item and why it’s worth no less than 50,000 credits. He says categorically that it is worth more to him than any money.

Afterwards, Luthen explains that the kyber crystal is a down payment, but then he wants it back. He insists with Cassian twice that he wants it back. Which is very strange because that’s not how deposits work. When you give someone a deposit, they keep the amount. It is not returned to you.

Continuing on this plot train, we come to the conversation between Luthen and Vel. There are several key bits of dialogue he says to her. The first was that he was already planning to close his operation. That’s why he urges her to take Cassian so he doesn’t have to destroy his plans. They need this victory against the Empire.

He then specifically brings up the possibility that someone on his team could “fold” and retire at the last minute. That’s why Cassian is there to replace them. This implies that Luther has doubts about Vel’s team.

But the weirdest thing is that Luthen gives Vel full permission to kill Cassian if she needs to. If he really sees Cassian as “disposable” as he puts it, then why give him an incredibly valuable kyber crystal in the first place if there’s a real chance he won’t get it back? We the audience know Cassian will be fine because it’s a prequel show to A thug. But in the context of history, Luther does not have that luxury.

So what does all this mean in my theory?

To spin my mad conspiracy, the kyber crystal could be a morality test for Cassian. If Cassian is running, then maybe the crystal has some kind of little tracking device inside the support part of the necklace. That way, Luther can find him if he needs to.

But my biggest idea behind all this is that Luthen plants the kyber crystal on Cassian to spy on Vel’s team. There could be some sort of built-in listening device. Luther clearly has doubts about this mission. Maybe he thinks there’s a mole in his group and he’s trying to figure out who it is. Or maybe he wants to see if she’s really up to the task for future projects.

This is a spy thriller. Something like a bugging 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 in fact a spy device then of course it is worth more to Luthen than any money. Knowledge is the most invaluable thing in this scenario. He would need to know if there are spies among him to operate his rebel cell. It’s exactly the kind of subterfuge I would expect from a character like Luthen.

I could also read way too much into these scripts and be full of shit. Luther is a double agent character. He could have lied to Cassian, Vel, or both just to make the plan go any way possible.

To be honest, I don’t really believe in this conspiracy Alice and I came up with, but it was great fun speculating about it. Like I said, it’s a spy show. I would expect some kind of buggy element or listening device to come into play at some point in this type of series.

No matter what, it’s this kind of craziness that keeps the fandom entertaining while waiting for the next episode.

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