It turns out that even though James McArdle has a jealous lover’s heart in “Andor,” he is a completely different character in “The Force Awakens,” with completely different motivations. In “The Force Awakens,” the actor took on the very small role of Niv Lek. Even though there isn’t much that is revealed about this particular character during the film, he is worth noting, if only because he takes part in the Resistance attack on Starkiller Base, which is an absolutely critical engagement.
As a pilot of a T-70 X-Wing Starfighter, Lek flies over Starkiller Base during the daring assault to stop the superweapon that makes the Deathstar look like a Jack-in-the-Box. The character’s name is actually “Kelvin” spelled backwards, which is a nod to “The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams’ grandfather, Harry Kelvin (per Wag Magazine). If you’re thinking that tidbit sounds familiar, it’s because over in the “Star Trek” side of sci-fi franchises, the alternate universe created by Abrams’ 2009 film is generally referred to as the Kelvin timeline, as explained by Space.com, since it spawns after the destruction of the U.S.S. Kelvin.
The character of Lek is definitely a far cry from the one McArdle plays in “Andor,” mainly because to fly directly at Starkiller Base requires a fair amount of bravery and the potential of self-sacrifice, while McArdle’s character in “Andor” is pretty craven. On the bright side, McArdle getting to join the “Star Wars” franchise is the culmination of a childhood dream, as reported by iNews.
It makes one wonder if McArdle will may continue to pop up in “Star Wars” properties, considering he has already been an X-Wing pilot for the Resistance and a jealous lover. Maybe a Sith or Jedi role could be next?