We’re a month away from Andor hitting our homes on Disney+. The series promises a healthy blend of characters both new and old, such as Stellan Skarsgard’s Luthen Rael and Saw Gerrera. One of the most popular characters set to factor into the story in a major way is Mon Mothma.
Many may remember Mothma as the white-clad Republic leader in Return of the Jedi, played by Caroline Blakiston, yet her role in the Star Wars galaxy is much more significant than just that. And she’s set to tip the scales of power in Andor, too.
Genevieve O’Reilly is once again the woman tasked with the job. This isn’t O’Reilly’s first rodeo as Mothma, though, so let’s look back at all the times she has played the character in Star Wars.
Revenge of the Sith
O’Reilly’s first appearance as Mon Motha came in 2005’s Revenge of the Sith. The final cut features her as a background character. However, she was initially at the crux of an entire subplot of the film that ultimately disappeared.
Representing Chandrilla in the Galactic Senate, Mothma was one of many politicians beginning to fear that Palpatine had grown too powerful. She originally appeared in a number of scenes with the goal of recruiting Senator Amidala to join a budding Rebellion of politicians to combat him.
As George Lucas elaborates on in this behind-the-scenes clip, that plot was ultimately sidelined to focus more on Anakin’s journey. Yet, O’Reilly still expressed a great sense of gratitude for having had the chance to embody the character even in such a small manner.
In an interview with Collider, O’Reilly spoke about how that experience informed her portrayal of Mothma in Andor.
"“It was a boon to have done that tiny bit on Revenge of the Sith, because she was also a senator at that point, and she was very young, and so I knew that this woman had been within the Senate from that age, and I know she ends up as a leader of the rebellion."
Star Wars Rebels
We learn more about Mothma’s rise to power within the Republic thanks to Star Wars: The Clone Wars. However, O’Reilly did not voice the character during the series. That title belonged to Kath Soucie, who has voiced other Star Wars characters in various television shows and games.
O’Reilly’s time in the animated world soon came, however, with the arrival of Star Wars Rebels. We receive a strong look at just how courageous Mothma could be, despite a small sample size of five episodes split across seasons three and four. She was an outspoken critic of the Empire shortly after dissecting from it, all the while being tagged an enemy in their eyes.
One episode, “Secret Cargo,” features an archetypal rallying cry to fight the Empire broadcast across the entire galaxy. And even before everyone knows her name, Mothma inspires countless ships to join the cause. That was just an early sign of the powerful leader she would become.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Then, of course, O’Reilly’s most recent appearance, and the one with the most direct correlation to Andor, is in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. By that time, Mothma has ascended to Chancellor of the Alliance, and recruits Jyn Erso to secure the plans to the Death Star.
That decision alone, utilizing a former criminal to execute a mission impacting the state of the entire galaxy, shows again just how bold Mothma can be. And we’re bound to see even more of that in Andor. The show will likely touch on these pre-established relationships and act as a transition point between the Mothma of the Republic era and Rogue One.
Andor promises to be our most in-depth look at Mothma, yet. If what we’ve heard so far is to be trusted, the Mothma we see here is different than the one we already know. Still a part of the Imperial Senate, Mothma is likely even more of a “Rebel,” so to speak, here than the more fine-tuned character we see by the time Episode VI comes around.
Mothma’s path will walk parallel to Andor’s, leading up to a colliding moment in later episodes, or even seasons. This ability to go deeper into Mothma’s story than ever before particularly excited O’Reilly, who has been there from almost the beginning. She had the following to say in an interview with Entertainment Weekly earlier this year:
"“The idea of learning about this character — for me, as much as for anyone else — through a long-form narrative was really interesting … Previously, she was a bit of a pillar, or maybe a statue. I love that now we get to excavate that a little bit and learn about the human being — the woman behind the gown, if you will.”"
Mon Mothma has a particularly fascinating backstory in Star Wars that few know of. Now, she is set to take center stage in Andor. There’s no doubt that Genevieve O’Reilly is the perfect woman to star in that spotlight.
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