Star Wars: Andor- What Happens to Mon Mothma in the Sequel Era?

From the moment she appeared onscreen, Mon Mothma commanded nothing but respect. The beautiful and stern leader of the Rebel Alliance made quite an impression for such a brief role in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, the third film in the original series for a part amounting to two minutes onscreen and even less in dialogue. But Mon Mothma was much more than a mysterious figurehead in white. It wouldn’t be until later in the franchise that fans learned just how pivotal to the success of the main heroes this savvy politician was.

While her scenes were deleted from the prequel trilogy, Mon Mothma has appeared in Rebels, Clone Wars, Rogue One, and most importantly for her character development: Andor. Her character growth in Andor is a precursor for her later rise to leadership in the Rebellion and ascension to Chancellorship in the New Republic by the time of the sequel era. And it’s here within the sequel era that I feel Disney severely misunderstood the character, and her expanded role within the canon only cements that fact further. Let me explain.

Mon Mothma in Return of the Jedi.

Mon Mothma is a politician who served as the representative of the Chandrilla system in the Galactic Senate and Imperial Senate, respectively. She was born into a political family; her father served as arbiter-general in the Galactic Republic, and her mother was governor of their home planet. It came as a surprise to no one when their daughter followed her parents into a life of public service. At the age of 15, Mon Mothma became the youngest member of the Galactic Senate.

Mon Mothma rose to prominence during a period of political turmoil that led to the splintering of the Republic and the formation of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Along with her allies Bail Organa of Alderaan and Padme Amidala of Naboo, Mon Mothma understood the precarious position the Republic was now in and opposed the creation of a Grand Republic Army, feeling that the act would only plunge the galaxy into a bloody war. 

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Her predictions rang true when the Clone Wars broke out between the droid armies of the Confederacy and the Republic Grand Army. Despite having been appointed to the Loyalist Committee (a group of Senators who ensured Republic integrity during the crisis) by Chancellor Palpatine, Mon Mothma became a vocal opponent of the war and feared that the Chancellor’s increasing military authority threatened the democracy she held dear.

Throughout the Clone Wars, Mon Mothma and her allies worked tirelessly to end the war through peaceful diplomatic measures, but every success and breakthrough was met with opposition by a seemingly bloodthirsty and greedy Senate content to accumulate wealth and military power while the galaxy tore itself apart. To make matters worse, Chancellor Palpatine continued to amass emergency executive powers. He used his new authority to appoint regional governors throughout all-star systems, subtly circumventing local governments and building a network of loyal servants and informants throughout the galaxy. 

Concerned the Chancellor’s actions were only prolonging the conflict, Mon Mothma and her allies gathered in secret in the hopes of saving the Republic, and thus the Rebel Alliance was born.

Andor, the television prequel series to Rogue One, gives Mon Mothma plenty of screen-time as she realizes the futility of trying to change a system from within; it doesn’t work. Mon Mothma’s arc throughout the series follows the Senator from Chandrilla as she realizes she must get her hands dirty and operate outside the confines of legality and politics to battle against the growing facism of the Empire. She realizes her idealism isn’t enough to save the galaxy. It’s an interesting arc for Mon Mothma, who values peace and democracy but realizes she must re-examine her values to preserve what she holds dear.

None of the lessons she’s learning in Andor about tearing down systems of oppression or defending against it pay off by the time of the sequels, in which she demilitarizes the New Republic and makes no effort to bridge the Populists and Centrists, the two parties of the New Republic. She sits back and lets them tear apart democracy with petty bickering and ineffectual policies. Bloodline, a sequel-era novel by Claudia Grey, basically states that Mon Mothma is holding the Republic together by charisma alone. She doesn’t take the threat of rising fascism seriously and that makes no sense to me after everything she’s been through. We’re told that she’s a good Chancellor in the New Republic, but none of the evidence is there to back up that claim.

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Mon Mothma’s characterization in the sequel era and her apathy towards the failings of the New Republic is a weird direction to take the character. She upholds a system so closely related to the one she spent almost her entire life fighting against. I appreciate her expanded role in the Star Wars canon because I have always loved Mon Mothma and found her intriguing. The problem is, the more we learn about her in Andor and the more we see her re-examine what it means to lead a Rebellion, the less sense her story in the sequel era makes.

One of the points I think Bloodline and the sequel trilogy were trying to explore is how fascism arises no matter what you do and you always have to be fighting against it and you always have to be vigilant. Mon Mothma just seemed to give that all up by the sequel era, and its complete disregard for the character’s earlier story arcs.

I love Andor. I think it’s one of the best live-action Star Wars television series currently streaming. I also love Mon Mothma, and I was not happy with how her story ended up in the sequel era. I felt that she was severely misunderstood, and Andor‘s attempts to flesh out the character and her motivations only make it more clear that the ball was dropped with character later on in the sequel era. 

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. For all things Star Wars and pop culture, check out my website. Stay nerdy!

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