Slash Film

If there’s one phenomenon that unites “Star Wars” fans, it’s their ability to latch onto characters they very well may never see again. The fandom’s fascination with “glup shittos” (that is, characters with very little backstory or screen time) has become something of an inside joke in recent years. But it’s also become the backbone of Lucasfilm’s new strategy for its films and shows. The new “Star Wars” series seem equally fascinated with the characters on the margins on the franchise, especially in its latest, “Andor.” The new show has brought the spotlight on a slew of obscure characters that never really got their due — particularly Mon Mothma, portrayed in the series by Genevieve O’Reilly.

Mon Mothma is one character that many fans can likely recognize but probably have a hard time placing. That’s because she’s been popping up in films and shows ever since her first appearance in “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.” Wherever the Rebellion is, she’s often there too — but she’s been overshadowed by the vocal, guns-blazing rebels on the front lines.

That said, Mothma has always had a small, scrappy fanbase of her own. Those fans knew there was more to her character, a delicacy and an empathy that made her a valuable asset to the Rebellion. With “Andor,” it seems like someone at Lucasfilm totally agrees. “Andor” has released an exclusive featurette all about Mon ahead of the season finale, which /Film is pleased to debut. Let’s dive into Mon’s role in the Rebellion and the dangerous journey she’ll be facing in the future.

A Cage Of Her Own Making

While O’Reilly’s first outing as Mon Mothma — in “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” — ended up on the cutting room floor, it’s important to note that Mon has been in the fight against the Empire from the very beginning. She was among the group of senators working to sustain democracy in the galaxy, along with the late, great Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) and Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) — and though their efforts obviously backfired, her work has continued in the shadow of the Empire.

Years after the fall of the Republic, Mon is living in what O’Reilly describes as “a cage of her own making.” Her political career has survived the transition to the Empire, and Mon continues to fight to preserve the rights of beings across the galaxy wherever possible. But as passionate as she is about her humanitarian efforts, it’s all more or less a misdirection. Because Mon is also secretly funding the Rebellion, diverting money from her family trust to help Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) build his network.

Bankrolling a secret antifascist enterprise is no mean feat given the tightening constraints happening all throughout the galaxy. It’s forced Mon to stoop to methods she’d never previously imagined, and work alongside skeevy individuals she’d never be caught dead with. As Luthen often reminds her though, a war against the Empire isn’t really the sort of thing you can fight cleanly. Hands will get dirty; lives will be lost. It’s this truth that Mon will continue to struggle with, especially once the Rebellion comes out of the shadows to wage that war in earnest.

A Different Way To Fight

Notably, Mon has another connection to the Rebellion in the form of her cousin, Vel Sartha (Faye Marsay). Vel throws her body into the battle “in a way that Mon aches to do,” working on the ground to advance the cause. Passion aside though, does Mon actually have the stomach for it? It’s difficult to imagine her in the trenches with the rebels of “Rogue One” — or, more importantly, maneuvering her allies like disposable pawns. That’s because Mon is concerned with people’s lives above all. It pains her to sacrifice even one person, or send a small battalion into a battle she knows they’re doomed to lose — even if it means winning the war down the line.

Because of this, Mon is destined to clash with her more extreme rebel counterparts. Her tense debates with Luthen — and the doubt that takes hold afterwards — are setting the stage for even more conflict to come. We’ve already seen one play out in “Star Wars: Rebels,” when Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) publicly challenges Mon’s refusal to draw blood, given the casualties it could incur. Saw naturally believes that a militant approach is the only way forward. He describes Mon’s strategy — which strives for a peaceful solution — as cowardice, but Mon remains firm in her ideals.

“If we degrade ourselves to the Empire’s level,” she asks, “what will we become?” It’s a fair question, especially since we’ve seen what a lifelong crusade against the Empire eventually does to Saw. Though he and Luthen are willing to do whatever it takes to get this job done, they’re invariably giving up their souls in the process. Of course, their efforts are necessary to defeat the Empire — but by that logic, the same must also be said for Mon’s.

‘Her Gilded Cage Is About To Crumble’

We’re so used to seeing this Rebellion fight openly against the Empire, sacrificing their lives and charging into battles guns blazing. But that’s not Mon Mothma. She’s spent her life fighting in the shadows, killing the Empire with kindness. It’s a much slower process — and, of course, her staunch morality can grate on the nerves — but it’s also exactly what makes her so fascinating.

Mon’s vice grip on her own moral code makes her something of a beacon for a Rebellion with no problem fighting dirty. It’s easy to focus on the war at hand, but Mon is there to make sure that they’re not consumed by it. There has to be something left at the end of all this. They’re playing the long game after all, and sometimes restraint is part of it. But that doesn’t mean that this battle isn’t personal for Mon.

Going into the “Andor” finale, Mon’s found herself in a sticky situation. Her efforts to secure funds for the Rebellion have created a paper trail that leads right back to her — and it seems like her only salvation lies in the hands of the uber-shady Davo Sculdun (Richard Dillane). Whether she agrees to the indecent proposal he offered in the series’ tenth episode, or finds a way forward on her own, it’s clear that no one is getting through this fight unscathed. Not even our lady in white.

Read this next: Andor Character Guide: Meet The Cast Of The Rogue One Prequel Series

The post Meet Andor’s Mon Mothma, the Star Wars Senator Turned Rebel Leader [Exclusive] appeared first on /Film.

/Film – ‘Slash Film: Meet Andor’s Mon Mothma, The Star Wars Senator Turned Rebel Leader [Exclusive]’
Author: Lyvie Scott
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November 21, 2022

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