- "I find your lack of faith disturbing."
- ―Darth Vader
Conan Antonio "Zi" Motti was an Imperial officer who served aboard the Death Star as the head of Naval operations during the Galactic Civil War. Born into a powerful and wealthy family on Seswenna, he entered Imperial service, rising rapidly through the ranks of the Imperial Navy. It was not long before he advanced past Captain Jaim Helaw, who he had served under early in his career. By 0 BBY, he had been promoted to the rank of admiral, and was working aboard the Empire's massive battlestation, the Death Star. Only Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin outranked Motti on the battlestation, although General Cassio Tagge—his counterpart in the Imperial Army—was his equal.
Motti was extremely confident in his viewpoint that the Death Star was invulnerable, believing that the Rebel Alliance posed no threat to the station. He was even bold and arrogant enough to openly question Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader for his failure to discover the location of the Rebellion's secret base during one meeting in the Death Star conference room. For this, Vader Force-choked him, which greatly frightened Motti, who realized that Vader could have easily killed him had Tarkin not ordered the Dark Lord to relent. Nonetheless, Motti remained overly confident in himself and the Death Star. Despite Motti's unshakable credence in the Death Star, the Rebel Alliance—which had obtained a copy of the Death Star blueprints—managed to find a weak spot in the station's defenses, and succeeded in destroying it during the Battle of Yavin, killing Motti.
- "Motti is ambitious, and he knows this station is his transport to greatness."
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin
Hailing from the planet Seswenna, Conan Antonio Motti was born into a powerful and influential family several ranks below the Tarkin family and the rest of the Quintad sometime during the last years of the Galactic Republic. As a teenager during the Clone Wars, he witnessed the feats of Jedi, memories that would remain with him for his whole life. After the rise of the Galactic Empire in 19 BBY, Motti became an active member of his local Sub-Adult Group for the Seswenna chapter of the Imperial Commission for the Preservation of the New Order. He eventually earned an Academy commission to the planet Prefsbelt IV, followed by an appointment to the planet Anaxes. While a cadet, Motti was known more for his firebrand politics than academic achievement, though his nature was the typical ruthless Imperial that Emperor Palpatine wished to fill the Imperial Navy ranks, and he ascended quickly. An Imperial officer who used force and never apologized for doing so, Motti at some point ended a dispute over the Mhalanduin Reformation by annihilating the top ranks of both families involved, appointing his own hand-picked general as a regent. Motti cut a swath through Wild Space beyond the Western Reaches, and eliminated any who protested the new Imperial authority.
Motti went on to serve aboard the Strike-class cruiser Ion Storm under Captain Jaim Helaw, who acted as somewhat of a mentor to him, and soon received a promotion to first lieutenant. Eventually, he worked a brief stint on Coruscant, and with the help of contacts he had made on the capital, he rose past Helaw. He was friends with Otto, an Imperial general with several failures on his record, particularly various losses in battle. Motti was able to transfer his friend to an outpost on the planet Lok, saving him from the wrath of the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader.
In 1 BBY, Motti was promoted to the rank of admiral by Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, during a brief ceremony held on the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Devastator. In the same year, Motti, alongside General Arhul Kurumenga of the Imperial Department of Military Research and Master of Imperial Projects Bevel Lemelisk, attended a debriefing on Coruscant helmed by Dr. Insmot Bowen, a Pre-Republic history specialist from the Obroan Institute. Throughout the debriefing, Motti, largely due to his staunch disbelief on anything supernatural, frequently interrupted the meeting with cutting remarks on Bowen's report on the discoveries relating to Celestials and the Celestial-Rakata conflict, causing Kurumenga to frequently reign in on him. One of his sarcastic remarks, an inference that Bowen's expertise was in holothrillers in response to the Rakatan's involvement in the conflict, was reversed when Bowen used the analogy of the villain in a holothriller not being confirmed dead to an audience even if stated unless they showed the body in order to infer the possibility that the Celestials may have survived.
By 0 BBY, Motti was serving aboard the Death Star, the Empire's new superweapon being constructed above Despayre. He was second-in-command alongside General Cassio Tagge, below only Grand Moff Tarkin, a relative of Motti's through marriage. Tarkin appointed Motti for his ruthless views. The three were considered a triumvirate, with Motti representing the Imperial Navy and Tagge the Imperial Army, although Motti and Tagge had a rivalry and would openly doubt the other's competence, with frequent and vociferous arguments which included Motti mocking Tagge's devotion to the Navy's starfleet. The admiral had been one of the strongest supporters of the Death Star project, and felt that it was him, not Tarkin, who ran the battlestation's daily operations. He had attempted at least once to subtly convince Tarkin that whoever was in control of the Death Star held sway over the entire galaxy. Though Palpatine, ruling from Coruscant, was the Emperor, Motti was convinced that if Tarkin attempted to seize power by using the Death Star, he would be successful. Then, if something were to "accidentally" happen to Emperor Tarkin, his trusted assistant Motti would rise to power. Thus, Motti pretended to be loyal to the Grand Moff, all the while learning the ins and outs of the superweapon and gaining the loyalties of other key officers aboard the Death Star. During this time, he also commanded the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Steel Talon, which was part of the fleet guarding the Death Star above Despayre.
As Tarkin was traveling to the Death Star from his home planet of Eriadu aboard a Lambda-class T-4a shuttle piloted by his Mon Calamari slave Gial Ackbar, the ship was ambushed by Rebel Alliance Y-wings that had been contacted by Ackbar, who sought freedom from his master. However, before the Y-wings could destroy the escape pod that Tarkin had attempted to flee in, Motti's Star Destroyer jumped out of hyperspace, as Motti had taken it upon himself to escort Tarkin against the Grand Moff's wishes. Thanks to the admiral, Tarkin was saved, and the Rebel Y-wings forced to flee.
Back above Despayre, with the Death Star nearing completion, Motti met with Jaim Helaw aboard the Undauntable. The two spoke about the Death Star, with Motti expressing his confidence in the battlestation, professing his belief that it would be invincible when completed. However, Helaw did not share his viewpoint, telling him the story of Kan Pojo, a former Republic soldier and expert marksman. On a mission to the Vergesso Asteroids to defeat a pirate gang around 35 BBY, Pojo's blaster malfunctioned when he was in the act of shooting at a pirate charging him. Before the marksman could pull his other gun, the pirate was on him, killing Pojo with a crude knife. When Motti stated that the Death Star was no mere blaster, Helaw responded that the more complex a weapon was, the more likely it was to have flaws. As he traveled back to the Death Star alone aboard his ship a short time later, Motti found himself wondering about Helaw's point. He decided that unlikely as an accident was, he would soon order a detailed examination of the station's superstructure.
- "Until this battle station is fully operational we are vulnerable. The Rebel Alliance is too well equipped. They're more dangerous than you realize."
"Dangerous to your starfleet, Commander, not to this battle station!"
- ―Tagge and Motti
While Motti was pondering this on the way back to the space station, the Undauntable suddenly exploded. Once the admiral landed in one of the Death Star's hangars, he met with Tarkin, who began questioning him. Motti explained that he had played no part in the ship's destruction, and that an officer of Jaim Helaw's stature would not be responsible for an accident of such large-scale. Therefore, he felt it had to be sabotage, a view the Grand Moff shared. However, fearing a visit from Darth Vader, the Emperor's lackey, Tarkin proposed that they simply record the incident as an accident while surreptitiously investigating the true cause. Though he hated to see such a stain on Jaim Helaw's record, Motti agreed, fully aware that it was best for him too without Darth Vader interfering and possibly slowing construction of the station.
Several weeks after the Undauntable's explosion, the Rebel Alliance launched an attack on the nearly completed Death Star above Despayre. It was there that the men aboard were given the first chance to test the massive superlaser. The laser easily destroyed a Rebel Lucrehulk-class battleship, leaving the Rebel X-wings without a supporting cruiser. The X-wings were then wiped out by Imperial pilots, giving the Imperials total victory in the brief skirmish. Following the battle, Tarkin decided to move the battlestation to the other side of Despayre to prevent further attacks by the Rebellion.
Not long after the battle, Tarkin decided to test the superlaser and move the station from the system, planning to destroy Despayre as well. Motti had his doubts, and voiced them; namely, fear of political repercussion. However, as Despayre was simply a penal planet for some of the Empire's worst criminals, Tarkin was sure that no fallout would ensue. Ultimately, he was the one in command of the battlestation, and went ahead with the test. The superlaser easily destroyed Despayre.
At some point during this time, Motti wrote a chapter dedicated to the Imperial Navy, which ended up included in the official field manual for the Imperial Military, Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide.
- "Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the Rebel's hidden fort…"
Following the destruction of Despayre, the Rebel Alliance managed to obtain a copy of the technical readouts of the Death Star. The Rebel corvette carrying the stolen plans was captured by Darth Vader, but the plans themselves eluded the Dark Lord. Several top Imperial officials serving aboard the Death Star became aware of the stolen plans, and Motti's sources informed him that Vader had taken Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan captive due to suspected participation in the rebels' mission. Motti was unworried by either Vader's move or the prospect of the plans to the Death Star falling into the rebels' hands, and shared these views with General Tagge during a meeting of top Imperial officials in the Death Star conference room.
Motti further argued with General Tagge over the effectiveness of the Death Star and the threat of the Rebellion in the Galactic Civil War. Tagge felt that the Rebel Alliance posed a threat to the battlestation, whereas Motti was confident that the superweapon was invincible. Tagge also feared that the growing Rebel movement would gain sympathy in the Senate. However, the two were interrupted by Tarkin, who informed the officers present that the Imperial Senate had been dissolved by Emperor Palpatine. Though Tagge was concerned as to how the Emperor expected to maintain control without the Senate, Tarkin revealed that the Moffs, governors appointed by Palpatine, would now have direct control over sectors, and the planets would not dare step out of line due to fear of the Death Star. However, Tagge continued to insist that the Rebellion was dangerous, especially if they had obtained a copy of the Death Star plans, as many Imperials feared following the Battle of Tatooine. Though Darth Vader—who had recently arrived to interrogate Leia Organa—admitted that the plans were in the hands of the Rebellion, he proclaimed that soon the Empire would have them.
Motti then boasted of the Death Star's power, claiming that it was the preeminent power in the galaxy. However, Vader rebutted this claim, warning Motti not to underestimate the power of the Force. Motti mocked Vader, insulting his devotion to the Force, alleging that it had not helped him recover the stolen Death Star plans or locate the Rebels' hidden base. In response, Vader simply Force choked him, relenting only when ordered to do so by Tarkin. Motti, who had previously doubted both Vader and the power of the Force, was frightened and shocked by this display. The admiral knew that Vader would have killed him without remorse had Tarkin not stopped him, a realization that shook him greatly. He also realized how futile the Death Star would be against the Sith if they could kill him with a simple gesture, and resolved to be more respectful towards Vader in the future.
Soon afterward, it was reported to Motti that the Death Star was at last completely operational. He personally relayed the news to Tarkin, repeating and placing great emphasis on his belief that Tarkin had in his hands both great power and direct control over the entire galaxy. When Tarkin pointed out that they both served the Emperor, Motti stated that the Emperor was far away, and that Tarkin himself commanded the Death Star. Darth Vader then entered the room, and Tarkin advised Motti to check his ambition. The Dark Lord had been unable to force the location of the Rebel Alliance's secret base or the Death Star plans from Organa, and as such, Tarkin decided to play his trump card by threatening a third party.
Tarkin ordered Motti to take the Death Star to Organa's home planet of Alderaan, and with her alongside him, Motti and Vader in the Death Star's control room, threatened to destroy the planet if she did not reveal the location of the Alliance's base. Her resolve crumbling at the thought of her home planet and people being reduced to atoms, Organa informed them that the base was on Dantooine. Tarkin then ordered the Death Star's superlaser to fire when ready, shocking the princess. He felt that this would be a demonstration that would terrify the rest of the galaxy; since Alderaan was admired throughout the galaxy and a prominent voice, its destruction would keep dissidents in line for fear that they would suffer the same fate. Motti gave the order to superlaser control, and then the battlestation fired, destroying Alderaan which was observed by the unremorseful Tarkin and Motti.
A short time later, Imperial ships reached Dantooine, and discovered that while there was a Rebel base there, it had been abandoned a long time ago—meaning that Organa had lied. Motti reported this news to Tarkin, who in turn ordered Motti to have her terminated. However, a group of Rebels managed to make it aboard the Death Star, and succeeded in freeing Organa from her cell. They then fled in their ship, the Millennium Falcon. Imperial stormtroopers had placed a tracking device aboard the starship earlier, however, and Motti reported to Tarkin that the device was transmitting a clear signal. Tarkin ordered him to follow the ship and to place all station personnel on standby alert; the Empire was able to track the freighter to the rebel base on Yavin 4, a moon located in the Yavin system in the Outer Rim.
Showdown at Yavin
- "They've fired proton torpedoes down an auxiliary heat shaft. Incoming! Incoming! The reactor will blow!"
- ―Motti's last words
The Death Star jumped to hyperspace, arriving in the Yavin system, where the Rebel Alliance was preparing an attack. The Alliance's defense of its base consisted of thirty starfighters, catching the Imperials off-guard, as Tarkin had expected to be opposed by several capital ships. Confident in the ability of the Death Star's turbolasers and other anti-starfighter defenses to repel the Alliance's fighters, he withheld from launching Imperial TIE Fighters. As the Death Star orbited the gas giant of Yavin Prime, waiting to clear the planet before it could strike at the moon, Motti placed the entire station on full alert status. As he stood alone with Tarkin, he congratulated the Grand Moff on his impending destruction of the Rebellion, again emphasizing that it was Tarkin, and not the Emperor, who held the ultimate power in the galaxy. When Tarkin insisted he cease the vague hints and speak freely, Motti suggested that Tarkin's command of the Death Star could elevate him to a position that equaled the Emperor's in power. He would serve as Tarkin's right hand, and would even take steps to eliminate Vader if it proved necessary. Tarkin considered his offer, but suggested that they discuss it further after eradicating the rebels.
When several X-wing fighters proved adept at evading the station's defenses, Vader manned his personal TIE fighter and attacked them. He began picking off the surviving fighters one by one, but Tarkin nevertheless began to worry that the rebel attack posed a danger. He ordered Motti to prepare his personal escape shuttle, but Motti was adamant that he not appear ready to relinquish his power by abandoning the Death Star. Tarkin conceded, and adopted a more confident demeanor. However, the Alliance was aware of a flaw in the Death Star—a small, uncovered thermal exhaust port leading directly to the station's main reactor. Against all odds, and much to Tarkin's surprise, a Rebel X-wing piloted by Luke Skywalker succeeded in flying through the trench where the exhaust port was located, and successfully fired a pair of proton torpedoes into the shaft, causing the Death Star to explode, instantly killing Motti, and all those on board.
Personality and traits
- "Any attack made by the Rebels against this station would be a useless gesture, no matter what technical data they've obtained. This station is now the ultimate power in the universe! I suggest we use it."
As a teenager during the Clone Wars, Motti was thrilled by the exploits of the Republic Outland Regions Security Force, with reserved contempt for both the Republic bureaucrats and Jedi Knights, whom he felt hamstrung the Outland Regions Security Force and incompetently prosecuted the Clone Wars from the distant Core Worlds. Motti cheered when he heard of the Jedi's elimination as traitors of the Republic, and was moved by Palpatine's declaration that the new order would get rid of the corruption and vacillation of previous eras. As Motti saw the Empire took the galactic stage at a time of unprecedented promise, he believed in the New Order's goals being spread across the galaxy and planets could not adapt should be eliminated, with other worlds considering the consequences. Within the Navy, he held the greatest contempt for veterans of the Republic's Judicial Department or Planetary Security Forces, as he believed their loyalty was to their own service and not the Empire, and he disagreed with what he considered their outdated ideas of military power.
Motti was a deeply ambitious man, a fact acknowledged by Tarkin. The Grand Moff held the opinion that once the Rebels were destroyed, Motti would receive a promotion to Moff. Indeed, the admiral was very ambitious, and though he seemed loyal to Emperor Palpatine, in truth Motti harbored dreams of becoming Emperor himself. He attempted to convert Tarkin to his cause, trying to convince the Grand Moff that whoever controlled the Death Star could control the galaxy. Motti hoped that Tarkin would soon listen to him, and use the Death Star to seize power from Palpatine. If Tarkin did overthrow Palpatine, the admiral would then cause Tarkin's death in a subtle way, allowing him to ultimately become Emperor. He also believed Darth Vader had similar ideas, with Vader's first act under Emperor Tarkin would be to eliminate his rivals, and was additionally prepared to arrange for Vader's death if it proved necessary. However, he never received this chance, as the Death Star was destroyed by the Rebel Alliance shortly after its completion.
Motti believed in the infallibility of the Death Star, feeling that any attack made by the rebellion against the station would be a useless gesture doomed to fail. So strong was his belief in the Death Star that he was its greatest champion, and told any who would listen that it was the missing piece of his long-held military philosophy, in which, while the Navy normally commanded space and protected the Army during ground assaults, the Death Star's threat would free the Army to act, leaving the Navy's endless parade of battleships superfluous. During the Battle of Yavin, his faith in the battle station and his quest for power saw him dissuade a worried Tarkin from preparing an escape shuttle. Motti believed that in order to seize power, Tarkin could never abandon the Death Star; he further dismissed the rebel attack as nothing to be concerned about. Tarkin heeded his advice, which ultimately led to both of their deaths. Admiral Motti was a firm believer in the Tarkin Doctrine, which stated that the threat of force was sufficient enough to prevent rebellions, and that fear was necessary to keep dissidents in line. Ultimately, this belief was flawed, as the Destruction of Alderaan did not cause other planets to cower in fear, but instead to rise up in anger and challenge the Empire—which led to the Death Star's destruction and Motti's death. He, like Tarkin, also despised the Imperial Navy's generationals for their belief in stability and order, as they believed that they were "ancient values."
Motti pretended to be loyal to Tarkin, though in truth it was in an act, designed to fool the Grand Moff and ensure that he trusted Motti, so that if the admiral ever decided to betray him, Tarkin would be caught unaware. To further this facade, Motti pretended to be sympathetic towards Tarkin when his mistress, Admiral Natasi Daala, was injured in the Attack on the first Death Star. He was even prepared to feign sadness in the event that Daala died, hoping to curry favor with the Grand Moff. Motti was also aware that if he did not act appropriately disheartened, Tarkin would be greatly insulted, and the admiral knew that it was not wise to offend Tarkin. Motti considered Tarkin's affection for Daala a weakness, and was prepared to one day exploit that.
Motti felt that women were inferior to men, believing that Daala did not deserve her rank of admiral, and that she would not have achieved it if Tarkin had not taken favor to her. He thought that Leia Organa had a strong spirit due to her refusing to give up the location of the Rebel base, and because she criticized and insulted Tarkin even when he threatened to execute her. Motti was impressed with her determination to not surrender, believing that this fortitude was especially stunning in a woman.
The Admiral was also a strong-minded man, though not without arrogance, overly-confident in himself and the Death Star. He was aware of how quickly he had risen through the Imperial ranks, and that he had jumped ahead of a number of more experienced officers to his position as head of Navy Operations aboard the Death Star. This was reflected in his attitude, as he frequently wore a smug look and took extra pride in ensuring that his uniform was even neater than required by Imperial standards. He also prided himself on being physically fit, and regularly exercised, hoping to never become a fat, lazy officer like so many others. Motti felt that being physically stronger than others was a symbol of power, and would earn him additional respect. He constantly belittled the Rebel Alliance, believing them to be only a nagging pain rather than a serious threat. He was proven wrong when the fledgling Alliance managed to infiltrate the defenses and destroy the Death Star.
Though he very highly valued his political and tactical skills, Motti was considered somewhat of an overrated leader by many, who felt that his only real skill lay in loyalty to Palpatine's Empire, and that he had padded his record. In fact, Motti had little actual command experience, and embellished his reports, making himself appear more capable than he was in reality. It was thanks mainly to his many connections that he rose through the ranks as rapidly as he did, although he believed strongly in his own abilities.
Admiral Motti questioned the Force, and disliked Vader, feeling that he used archaic methods, and, though never opposing the Dark Lord, would take every opportunity to belittle him in front of Tarkin, such as when he heavily criticized Vader for his failure to wrest the location of the Rebel base from Princess Leia Organa. For this criticism, Vader Force-choked him. Following this, Motti was mollified, and began to develop a fear of Vader and his mysterious powers. The admiral knew that had Tarkin not interfered, Vader would have killed him, a deeply sobering thought to him. Though he did not consider himself cowardly, Motti was frightened by Vader, aware that controlling a planet-destroying superweapon meant nothing if he could be simply killed by a gesture. Following this, Motti planned to eliminate Vader somehow, although he was aware that such an act would have to be done very carefully.
Aside from his staunch disbelief in the Force, Motti also was a staunch disbeliever in any aspects of the supernatural to the extent that he was fully prepared to mock anyone who suggested the possibility of supernatural influences in the galaxy. This was best demonstrated during a debriefing on Coruscant in 1 BBY, where he frequently criticized and mocked Dr. Bowen to such an extent that one of his fellow Imperial Generals, Arhul Kurumenga, frequently had to reign in on him for interrupting the debriefing.
Tarkin was cognizant of Motti's fear and hatred of Vader and his Force, and believed that if Motti did not do a better job of keeping his opinions to himself, he would not live much longer in Palpatine's Empire. The admiral doubted the Force, even mocking Vader's confidence in it until Vader Force-choked him as a warning. He preferred to place his confidence in technology, and he remained extremely certain of the Death Star's invulnerability throughout his life.
At one time, Vader detected Motti's silent, boiling rage and jealousy, which were mostly directed towards him. The Sith Lord came to believe that had the Admiral been born Force-sensitive, he would have been of invaluable use.
Behind the scenes
- "Oh yes. I was fortunate I was sent a complete script! A lot of people weren't sent complete scripts of the first film, they were sent a few pages. I'd actually read it and thought "God, this is just so hard to get through!" It was 155 pages. It was so detailed with the descriptions and the dialogue was not very good. If you got through the script, it was such a good story that I thought "OK, this could work." I thought "I know they could do this," because they wouldn't make it if they couldn't do the special effects."
- ―Richard LeParmentier, commenting on his A New Hope script
Motti first appeared in the film Star Wars, released in 1977. He was played by Richard LeParmentier, who was credited as "General Motti." Motti was originally slated to be an Admiral, but when LeParmentier proved to be too tall for the Admiral's uniform that was to be his costume, he was fitted in a General's uniform and the character's rank was changed. The Star Wars Expanded Universe later solidified his rank as Admiral despite the costume discrepancy.
LeParmentier originally auditioned for the role of Han Solo, one of Star Wars's leading characters, and was offered the role of a customs officer who tried to stop Solo from leaving the city of Mos Eisley. He turned down the role, which was ultimately cut from the film, but was invited back to read for the part of Motti. LeParmentier was one of the few non-English actors cast as Imperial officers, and as such is one of the only Imperial officers in the original trilogy to speak without an English accent. In order to make the scene where Motti is Force-choked by Darth Vader look convincing, LeParmentier spent days practicing choking in his dressing room until he was able to induce and control spasms in his neck.
Richard LeParmentier stated that he was pleased to be remembered as Motti, and that he considers it an honor to have been part of Star Wars. He was proud of the fact that Vader's choking of Motti was the first point in the Star Wars saga that fans saw the power of the Force at work, although he had no idea at the time that the film would be as successful as it ultimately was. LeParmentier greatly enjoyed his time working on Star Wars, and cited the only inconvenience that he faced on set as his character's boots, which caused him a considerable amount of foot perspiration. Between shots, crewmembers would take the boots of the Imperial officers off and air-dry their feet.
While playing the role of Motti, LeParmentier saw his character as a trigger-happy military type who was aching to demonstrate the power of the Death Star and was resentful of anyone who disagreed with that idea. He played Motti as a smug and sanctimonious character, believing that the contrast with Don Henderson's calm and reasonable portrayal of Tagge was necessary to prompt Vader to use the Force on him. LeParmentier was producing an animated fan film called Motti Now, in which Motti survives the Battle of Yavin and abandons the Empire.
Early scripts of A New Hope shuffled the names of Admiral Motti and General Tagge. He is absent from the Death Star meeting scene in the novelization of A New Hope, and instead it is General Tagge who is the victim of Vader's telekinetic strangulation, while Motti himself is replaced by a new Imperial officer named Romodi. Motti does appear later on in the novel, proving that he and Romodi are different characters. Leland Chee, the keeper of the Star Wars Holocron continuity database, nevertheless confirmed that Romodi is a senator and a different character than Motti. In the 1978 book The Star Wars Storybook, Tagge was the one who said Motti's dialogue and spoke out against Vader.
Motti's role was greatly expanded in the radio drama of Star Wars, in which he attempts to conspire with Tarkin to eliminate Vader and assume complete control of the Empire. In the radio drama, David Clennon provided Motti's voice. In Star Wars (1977) 2, an issue of the comic adaptation of Star Wars, Motti is shown at first with white hair, and later with blond hair.
Jason Fry, the author of 2012's The Essential Guide to Warfare, originally planned to include Motti in the book's prologue. Motti, Imperial engineer Bevel Lemelisk, an unnamed General representing the Imperial Department of Military Research, and Dr. Insmot Bowen were slated to discuss various mysterious events within the Galaxy, with Motti doubting Bowen's assertion that several mysterious events in the galaxy were the result of ancient Celestial technology. The prologue was ultimately cut and replaced with Grand Admiral Osvald Teshik's account of the Battle of Andalia. The decision came from Del Rey editor Erich Schoeneweiss, who felt that an account of a battle from a first-hand witness would better hook the reader. Fry begrudgingly agreed. Fry also planned to write a war portrait of Motti in the book as well, to show the differing views of the younger and older Imperial officers regarding the Empire. However, as he felt too much of it was a rehash of content in The Essential Atlas, and the piece was too short with that material cut, he ended up cutting that section of the book as well.
- "See, because Lucas is the supreme creator of the Star Wars universe, when he says something it becomes real. Oh yeah. I think you hear what I'm saying, party people: There is now officially a Star Wars character named after Conan!! HOW AWECELLET IS THAT?! The Star Wars wiki Wookieepedia has already incorporated the change into the Star Wars Mythology! Man! This week couldn't get any better!"
- ―Conan O'Brien's NBC blog
Motti was one of the last Imperial characters from the original trilogy to receive a full name. Michael Reaves and Steve Perry intended to finally give the character a first name with their 2007 novel Death Star, and had already chosen the name "Zi"—used in the as-yet unpublished novel—when George Lucas created his own name for the character while being interviewed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Following this, the writers were forced to change the name before printing, although one instance of "Zi" remains in the novel. Motti's full name was given by Lucas on the May 1, 2007 episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien, during which Lucas was challenged to a trivia question by a fan—O'Brien Associate Producer Jordan Schlanski—as to the name of the Imperial officer who Darth Vader Force-chokes in A New Hope. Lucas jokingly replied "Conan Antonio Motti." Although the character had previously been known only as "Motti," Lucas's statement finally gave a full name to this character. On the day after the episode aired, Late Night posted a blog entry on the NBC website about their surprise at the quick response of Wookieepedia, a fan-made online Star Wars Encyclopedia, in adopting the new name for the character, as well as their appreciation for Lucas in naming a Star Wars character after O'Brien.
When asked at Celebration IV to confirm the canon status of Motti's first name, Leland Chee said that "It'll be revealed eventually." The name was finally confirmed when Sue Rostoni, executive editor of Lucas Licensing, posted the dramatis personae for Death Star on the StarWars.com message boards.
Tag and Bink Are Dead
- "You're on my Death Star. And as long as you are on it you'll be alert at all times and watch your step. This station is the ultimate example of Imperial might -- and while you are on it you will show it and me the proper respect. Is that understood?"
Motti makes an appearance in the non-canon comic Tag & Bink Are Dead. In it, he encounters the Rebels-turned-stormtroopers, Tag Greenley and Bink Otauna on the Death Star. After he bumps into them, Motti informs the duo that this is his Death Star and orders them to show some respect. Later, after the pair unintentionally lets the Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi deactivate the Death Star's tractor beam, Motti again encounters them, and confines them to quarters, warning the two of them that Vader or Tarkin would have them killed for such an offense if they were caught by one of those two.
Motti also made an appearance in the tongue-and-cheek in-universe StarWars.com blog "Planet Earth Abandons Death Star Project In Face Of Superior Galactic Imperial Power," where he declared the representatives of the planet Earth to be cowardly to have abandoned the project, citing that the planet had grossly overestimated the costs to develop such a technological terror, although he nonetheless admitted that they may have been too primitive compared to the Empire in terms of technological development. At the time the blog was written, the United States Government had rejected a petition requesting that they develop their own Death Star.