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Star Wars Andor: what do Arvel Skeen’s tattoos mean?

In Star Wars Andor episode 5, the Rebel Arvel Skeen reveals his tattoos, which all have a very specific meaning within the world of Star Wars

Arvel Skeen in Star Wars Andor

What do Arvel Skeen’s tattoos mean in Star Wars Andor episode 5? While the latest Star Wars series feels rather detached from the wider lore of the science fiction movie franchise, in a good way, there’s still connections to be discovered with each new episode.

One Star Wars character we learned more about in this week’s episode is Arvel Skeen, a member of the Rebellion group who Cassian Andor aligns himself with. Not only do we discover his motivations for wanting to bring down the Galactic Empire, but we also spotted some intriguing ink on his body too.

If you’re curious what Arvel Skeen’s tattoos mean, we’ve got the answers for you right here.

Krayt head

The first tattoo Cassian recognises is the one on Skeen’s chest, a barcode like tattoo which Cassian refers to as the symbol of a “Krayt head”. In Star Wars lore, the Krayt head was one of three relics the Tusken Raiders stored in their cave. It was the head of the Krayt dragon, a large reptile who terrorised the planet of Tattooine.

This particular mention of Krayt should not be confused with the planet Crait from the Star Wars movie The Last Jedi. Star Wars bosses like to make things complicated, don’t they?

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By the Hand

The next tattoo Skeen shows Cassian is a piece of artwork that somewhat resembles a hand. That symbol, which Cassian refers to as “By the Hand,” is connected to the Dark Side of the galaxy and, in particular, may link to none other than the Star Wars villain Grand Admiral Thrawn, who you might recognise from the Star Wars animated series.

The “Hand” we think Andor is referring to here is quite possibly the Empire of the Hand. This confederacy was overseen by Thrawn, as a means to colonise unexplored areas of the galaxy.

Grand Admiral Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels

As Cassian recalls his time at the Sipo youth centre, Skeen says, “They built a lot of cages,” which implies the pair both spent some time in captivity through the activity of the Empire of the Hand.

If you’re keen to find more clues to the wider world of Star Wars in Andor, check out our guide to the Easter eggs in Luthen Rael’s collection or dive into our guide to the Andor season 2 release date. Or learn more about Emperor Palpatine if you want to go to the Dark Side.