- "We are not Separatists trying to leave the Republic, we are Loyalists trying to preserve democracy in the Republic."
- ―Mon Mothma
Mon Mothma, a native of Chandrila, was a female Human who served as an important political figure from the waning days of the Galactic Republic, one of the founders of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, and the first Chief of State of the New Republic. When the foundation of the Galactic Empire replaced the Republic that had existed for many millennia, she met with her allies in the Senate, such as Senators Padmé Amidala and Bail Prestor Organa. In 2 BBY, she signed the Corellian Treaty, along with Organa, Garm Bel Iblis, Rahm Kota, and Galen Marek, in order to form the Alliance to Restore the Republic. She, along with the others, were taken captive aboard the Death Star I, although they were rescued. She played an important role in the ensuing Galactic Civil War, and after the decisive Rebel victory at the Battle of Endor, she became the first Chief of State of the newly founded New Republic. She also had a daughter, Lieda, and a son, Jobin. In 24 ABY, she passed away peacefully on Chandrila.
Mon Mothma was born in 48 BBY into a wealthy and influential family living on Chandrila. Her mother, Tanis Mothma was the governor of the planet, and her father was an arbiter-general for the Republic, so it came as no surprise when she would follow in their influential footsteps and become a Senator and later on lead a Rebellion against the Empire.
At the age of nineteen she was elected to represent the Bormea sector in the Galactic Senate, becoming the youngest senator ever to serve—a record later broken by Leia Organa, future apprentice and colleague of Mothma.
To those who knew her, Mothma was kind and caring, yet sometimes forgot herself when dealing in politics, which often seemed to claim importance over everything else in her life. She was a daring woman with charisma and political savvy—and as such was not devoid of enemies.
As a senator, Mothma was a proponent of the rights of local systems. She was also friends with fellow Senators Bail Organa and Padmé Amidala. Just before the Clone Wars, she became a member of the Loyalist Committee along with fellow Senators Bail Organa, Padmé Amidala, Fang Zar, and other prominent politicians. With Organa, Amidala, and Senator Onaconda Farr, Mothma championed a movement to reduce and eventually halt the production of clone troopers, to help stop the fighting and let diplomacy resume. When Farr was murdered by his aide Lolo Purs after Amidala's speech championing the cause, Mothma continued to work with the Senate while Organa and Amidala investigated the crime.
By the end of the Clone Wars, Mothma served as a member of the Loyalist Committee. She later signed the Petition of 2000, along with many other senators, in an effort to request that Chancellor Palpatine reduce his power. The Delegation of 2000 presented the petition to Chancellor Palpatine, but the Dark Lord made false promises saying that he would give up his emergency powers and silenced Fang Zar when he tried to speak.
In 19 BBY, she attended Senator Amidala's funeral on Naboo. It is likely that she, like the Naboo and Queen Apailana themselves, did not believe the claim that she had been murdered during the false "Jedi Rebellion."
For several months following the formation of the Galactic Empire, she urged fellow Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan to publicly speak out against Emperor Palpatine with her. However, she recanted after witnessing the Empire's subjugation of Kashyyyk, fearing that her people might undergo the same oppression.
- "This great struggle is a people's struggle: a struggle between the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor, the cruel and the gentle."
- ―Mon Mothma describing the Rebellion
During the Galactic Civil War, Mon Mothma openly defied the Emperor, unlike Bail Organa and other senators who only secretly backed the Rebellion. Her forthright views against the Empire brought her under closer investigation by ISB, COMPNOR and even Emperor Palpatine himself, thus preventing her from dabbling in more effective covert efforts to undermine Imperial rule. She continued to use her official channels, senatorial privilege and political contacts to effect change, maintaining the belief that a system of the government, no matter how broken, still has some degree of effectiveness. During these years she frequently met with colleagues on Coruscant and other worlds, introduced fruitless measures to grant local systems relief from Imperial policies, and tried to place Senate's oversight on Imperial operations. She also tutored Bail's adopted daughter, Leia Organa, in political and diplomatic affairs, preparing her to succeed her father as Alderaan's representative in the Imperial Senate and eventually lead a galaxy-spanning resistance movement.
Eventually Palpatine finally lost patience with her outspoken opposition and covert operation with resistance groups. She only escaped arrest by the Imperial Security Bureau in 3 BBY thanks to a warning from Bail Organa. Organa placed a guard at her side named Malan Tugrina. Now a fugitive from Imperial law, she went underground to lead the Rebellion full-time. She became the organization's public face, signing such open proclamations as the Declaration of Rebellion and A Call to Reason.
A historic moment for the Rebellion was the signing of the Corellian Treaty in circa 2 BBY. Signed by Organa, Mothma, and Garm Bel Iblis, with Galen Marek and Rahm Kota also present, the document formalized the relationship between the Corellian, Alderaanian and Chandrilan resistance forces, respectively, from a loose coalition to an organized rebellion - the Alliance to Restore the Republic. However, Darth Vader arrived moments later and his stormtroopers arrested Mon Mothma and everyone else. Marek was in fact Vader's secret apprentice, and unknowingly led the senators willing to rebel against Palpatine into Vader's trap. Vader's forces took the senators to the under construction Death Star I. It seemed all was lost and the Rebellion was doomed before it even began.
Marek was betrayed by Vader, who had deceived him by telling him that they would use the Rebellion to overthrow Emperor Palpatine and rule the galaxy. Vader tried to kill him, but he escaped. Marek, who had already had great doubts about his allegiance, decided to be a Jedi and together with his pilot Juno Eclipse, he traveled to the Death Star construction site. There, Marek defeated Vader and held Palpatine off long enough for Mon Mothma and the other rebels to escape, sacrificing himself in the process. After meeting on Kashyyyk, the rebel leaders found Marek's family crest, and Leia Organa suggested honoring Marek by using it as the symbol for the Rebel Alliance. Mon Mothma and the other rebels agreed.
Sometime after Mothma was put on the top of the most wanted list by Palpatine, she was located by agents of the Imperial Security Bureau. Although they managed to capture Mothma's entourage, Mothma herself was able to escape. Mothma soon tried to escape to the Outer Rim on the Blackjack, but was unable to make it onboard as she was captured by fellow Senator Pel Talon. Talon locked her up in the archaic dungeon of his own personal castle, hoping to exploit her capture at a later time. He was unable to do so, however, as Mothma was rescued by a group of Rebels including Jax Keyn, Trillia, and "Mouse" Temple.
During the early days of the Rebellion, Mothma took a leadership role in many important missions. These included gaining the X-wing starfighter for the Alliance and finding the plans for the first Death Star. Captain Raymus Antilles acted as her right hand man until his death.
Bail Organa's death in the Destruction of Alderaan led to an imbalance in the Alliance's leadership. Without Organa to counter her, Garm Bel Iblis thought that Mothma was assuming dictatorial powers over the Alliance and intended to set herself up in Palpatine's place. He left the Rebellion in protest, forming a rift which would not heal until the Thrawn campaign of 9 ABY. Mothma showed her commitment to democracy, however, by making her position as Chief of State subject to a vote by the Alliance membership every two years. In all her time at the head of the Rebellion, she was never challenged.
In the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Yavin, she oversaw the award ceremony for the starfighter pilot Keyan Farlander, where she presented the Star of Alderaan citation in recognition for his actions during the battle.
Two months after the Battle of Yavin, Mothma reflected on the fledgling rebellion with Leia Organa. Mothma assigned the former senator to a secret mission, telling her to form a team with only two objectives, find a double-agent or a new home for the Alliance leadership. She handed Organa the only copy of a protocol that she had prepared herself. Shortly afterward, Han Solo was assigned to meet one of Mothma's contacts on Imperial Center. Her contact, though, betrayed Solo to Imperial Security and was killed by Solo in turn. Mothma later met with Organa to hear her report on the secret operation. Organa requested Mothma's clearance codes so she could start leaking information. Organa also reported an issue with Prithi, one of the pilots of Stealth Squadron. Mothma responded by asking whose problem it was: for fellow pilot Luke Skywalker, or for Organa herself. Soon after, Mothma was present on the bridge of the flagship Home One when Gray Flight launched. She prevented a Mon Calamari commander from firing on the unauthorized departure. When the commander asked whether or not the order was in service to the Rebellion, Mothma replied that every breath she took was in rebellion to the Empire.
When Admiral Harkov, a high-ranking officer in the Imperial Navy, contacted the Rebel Alliance to talk about his defection, Mon Mothma personally traveled to a secret meeting with him to negotiate the price of his services.
In 4 ABY, Mon Mothma led the briefing of the Rebel forces before the Battle of Endor, knowing that it was the Alliance's best chance to defeat the Empire by destroying both its terror weapon (the second Death Star) and its leader, Palpatine, effectively ripping the regime's heart out. Mothma conducted the meeting with a heavy heart: shortly beforehand, a message had arrived via General Crix Madine that at last confirmed the death of her son Jobin months earlier in the Battle of Hoth.
Mothma was also uncomfortable with elements of the plan itself, feeling that the Alliance would be damaged by resorting to assassination. Her demeanor remained steady, however, and the Rebel forces, inspired by her resolve, went on to victory at Endor, destroying the battle station and ending Palpatine's reign. After the battle, she turned the Rebel Alliance into a transitional government—the Alliance of Free Planets. During this period, she built diplomatic and military coalitions to fight the remnants of the Empire, as well as such threats as the Ssi-ruuk during the Bakura crisis, the Nagai, and the Tofs.
Chief of State
- "That is our goal: To become the New Republic in fact as well as name."
- ―Mon Mothma
As the Alliance transitioned into the New Republic, Mothma became its Chief of State. For eleven years she led the fledgling democratic republic, holding together the many factions that flocked to its membership. As the New Republic weathered one major military threat after another, Mothma's charisma and leadership proved essential.
During Mothma's time as Chief of State, the Republic reclaimed Coruscant from the Galactic Empire. Mothma then had to deal with the artificial Krytos virus, a biological weapon left behind by Imperial Intelligence that affected only nonhumans and was only curable by massive amounts of bacta. The fallout from the Krytos Virus seriously tested the new government. During the hunt for warlord Zsinj an aide named Tolokai, another bodyguard, had undergone brainwashing. He attacked Malan first, driving a knife into his chest, then her. As Mon Mothma fled down the stairs she fell and was wounded badly. Before Tolokai could raise a knife, Malan surprised him and they tumbled down the stairs. His death saddened her deeply.
Mothma always put the Republic before her personal life, even going so far as to advocate for Leia Organa to accept Hapan Prince Isolder's offer of marriage to strengthen the Republic. In 8 ABY, she presided over the wedding of Leia to Han Solo. Shortly after, a painting containing a Shadowcast key for the Rebellion's spy network that had been thought destroyed with Alderaan resurfaced on Tatooine. She sent newly married Leia Organa and Han Solo along with Chewbacca and C-3PO to recover the painting.
Grand Admiral Thrawn engaged in a campaign that nearly toppled the Republic. At about the same time as Thrawn was engaging in his campaign, she faced trouble within her own government—a group of Bothans nearly forced her from office, before the lead Bothan, Borsk Fey'lya was found out. After Thrawn's death, the revived Emperor Palpatine, in a new clone body attacked the Republic, driving it from Coruscant to Da Soocha V and later to Nespis VIII. Palpatine was defeated, but the cost in terms of loss of life and other damage was huge.
Mothma supported Luke Skywalker in his efforts to reestablish the Jedi Order to protect and guide the New Republic. She gave her official sanction to Skywalker's efforts to find and recruit potential Jedi. Mothma also arranged for Skywalker to be given the former Rebel base on Yavin 4's moon as a home for the new Jedi school.
In 12 ABY Mon Mothma contacted Kyle Katarn and Jan Ors to investigate an Imperial Remnant base on Kejim. After they returned with an Artusian crystal in her office, she sent them to Artus Prime to investigate further.
Unlike her years in the Alliance, Mothma did not stay hidden in safety. During a diplomatic visit to Coruscant, Ambassador Furgan, an ambassador from Carida, threw what appeared to be a drink on Mothma's face as an insulting send-off gesture. This "drink" turned out to be nanomachines that slowly affected Mothma. Mothma decided to resign her post as Chief of State as her condition worsened, and guided the council to appoint Leia Organa Solo to succeed her in office.
The condition nearly killed her, but at the last minute Mothma was saved by the Mon Calamari Jedi Cilghal who used the Force to cleanse her body. Without the nanomachines in her body, Mothma's condition improved. Within a few weeks she was standing again, something that Leia never thought she'd see Mothma accomplish after her ailment. Leia tried to convince Mothma to become Chief of State again, but Mothma refused—feeling that the time had come for her to step aside.
Despite her improvement, Mothma never completely recovered. For the most part, she retired from public life. However, in 17 ABY, during the Almanian Uprising, she became acting Chief of State while Leia Organa Solo, the current Chief of State, led Wedge Antilles and a fleet to Almania to find her brother, and rescue him from the megalomaniac Kueller. She later resigned when Leia returned.
In 19 ABY, she was present at the signing of the Bastion Accords, and was a guest of honor at the wedding of Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade, where she arrived with Talon Karrde, Borsk Fey'lya and Elegos A'Kla. Jedi Kam Solusar showed Mothma her seats and left her as some Imperials attacked. Her condition continued to worsen, albeit slowly, and shortly before the Yuuzhan Vong War she died quietly in her sleep. In honor of her courage and bravery throughout the years, a New Republic Imperial-class Star Destroyer was given the name Mon Mothma.
Personality and traits
- "Settling scores is no way to govern a galaxy."
- ―Mon Mothma, to Ackbar and Borsk Fey'lya
As a Senator of the Galactic Republic, Mon Mothma was wary of the increasing amount of power that Supreme Chancellor Palpatine was gathering, and along with 1,999 other Senators, signed a petition calling for him to relinquish his emergency powers as the Clone Wars neared their end. Realizing that the Senate was quickly losing its last vestiges of political influence, she met with other Senators to discuss what options were available to them if they were to oppose the Supreme Chancellor. After Palpatine reformed the Republic into a Galactic Empire Mothma continued to oppose his policies, and did not hide her anger or dismay from him. She went underground and began openly resisting the Empire when its outrages became too difficult to ignore. Mothma considered every breath she took to be in rebellion to the Empire.
She was not comfortable with the idea of a "secret council" as it "reeked of the Empire", in her words, but with the Alliance on its last legs soon after the Battle of Yavin, Mothma formed one with Organa and tasked her with a new protocol.
Mothma was a stern and stately woman, and as the Chief of State of the Rebel Alliance, she felt responsible for the many deaths that were met by Alliance forces. When lives were at stake, she was unwilling to hand over responsibility for them, and consequently held onto power in order to ensure that the heavy responsibility was hers alone. When a number of Bothan Alliance agents died securing the technical readouts of the Empire's second Death Star, Mothma felt their losses heavily, nearly losing face while addressing the Alliance prior to an attack on the battle station. Firm in her convictions, however, she led the briefing despite having learned a moment earlier of the death of her son, Jobin.
Mothma's siphoning of power was misinterpreted by her peer, Garm Bel Iblis, as a desire to rule the galaxy. When Mothma earlier led the Chandrilan Resistance against the Empire, her pacifist methods were less direct than Bel Iblis's confrontational modus operandi. Nine years after a falling-out with Bel Iblis, she welcomed him into the New Republic, but was too proud to address the issue of their previous hostility or to admit any past failings. She overcame this pride, however, when the Empire was laying siege to the New Republic's home base of Coruscant and she asked Bel Iblis to lead its defense.
Towards the end of her life, Mothma continued to support her friends in the New Republic despite her retirement and failing health. She stepped in as acting Chief of State of the government to aid an overwhelmed Leia Organa Solo during the Almanian Uprising, and one year later, offered political advice to Luke Skywalker regarding his New Jedi Order.
Behind the scenes
- "Certainly people are always very envious of me. When I join a new theater company, the other actors look down the program, see my Return of the Jedi credit and say, 'Oh, you were part of Star Wars.' I smile and say, 'Yes, but only for twenty-six and a half seconds.'"
- ―Caroline Blakiston
Mon Mothma was created for Richard Marquand's 1983 film Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi and made her first appearance in the film's novelization, written by James Kahn and published earlier in the same year. In the film, she was portrayed by Caroline Blakiston, who was cast while working on a television series in Manchester, England. Costume designers from the film visited Blakiston in her Manchester hotel to fit her and discuss her character's hairstyle, but ultimately decided to use her own short red hair. Blakiston was given Mothma's lines for the character's brief appearance in the film, but upon arriving on the set to film her scene, was informed that Mothma's lines had been completely changed. She had to quickly learn a new monologue, which she found stressful, particularly due to the unique Star Wars language it contained, such as "Bothan". While performing the role, Blakiston attempted to create a sense of background for the character, seeking inspiration in the classical underpinnings of the Star Wars saga. She interpreted "Mon Mothma" to mean "Moon Mother", and thus saw her character as cool and calm. After filming her single scene in the movie, Blakiston returned to re-record her dialogue when it was discovered that pigeons roosting in the set were audible in the initial recording.
Despite appearing in the film for less than thirty seconds, Mothma's character and role in the Rebellion were later fleshed out in various comic books, novels and reference books. Timothy Zahn's 1991's novel Heir to the Empire introduced her as the Chief of State of the Rebel Alliance's successor government, the New Republic, a position that Leia Organa Solo succeeded her in in Kevin J. Anderson's 1994 novel Champions of the Force. The New Essential Chronology, published in 2005, established that Mothma passed away in her sleep in the year 24 ABY. Blakiston is aware of and intrigued by the fact that the character she portrayed became a major character in the Expanded Universe, the intrigue stemming from the strong personality she believed Mothma to possess. She sees Mothma as an archetypal figure similar to Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
2005 also saw Mothma appear in George Lucas's film Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith where she was played by Genevieve O'Reilly, who was cast due to her resemblance to Blakiston. O'Reilly carefully studied Blakiston's performance in order to capture the character's voice and mannerisms. O'Reilly's speaking scenes were ultimately cut from the film, but were included in its DVD release and appear in the film's novelization. She appears as Mothma in a non-speaking role in the final version of the film. Blakiston herself wrote to Lucas to ask if she could appear in the film as Mon Mothma's grandmother, but did not receive a response.
Five years after the release of Episode III, Mothma began appearing in the animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, where she was voiced by Kath Soucie. Several actors have voiced the character in other Expanded Universe works: Natalia Nogulich in the Return of the Jedi radio drama, Peggy Roberts-Hope in the video games Star Wars: Dark Forces and Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith, Carolyn Seymour in the video games Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Star Wars: Empire at War, Ann Patricio in the Dark Empire audio adaptations, and Chris Forth in the Dark Forces audio adaptations.
Although some Expanded Universe works claim that Mothma represented the entire Bormea sector in the Imperial Senate, others assert that Zafiel Snopps was concurrently the Imperial Senator from Corulag. Corulag is in the Bormea sector. The Jedi Academy Training Manual erroneously states that Mothma was at one time possessed by the spirit of Exar Kun.
Originally, Mon Mothma was intended to die in Champions of the Force from Furgan's nano-destroyers, but this was rejected by Lucasfilm.
While sources like the defunct official Databank of StarWars.com and The New Essential Guide to Characters gave Mon Mothma's height as 1.5 meters, both actresses who portrayed her were actually taller. In Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Mothma was seen standing next to Crix Madine, who was confirmed to measure 1.7 meters tall, and looked just as tall as him. Mothma's Clone Card on StarWars.com, however, listed her height as a more realistic 1.7 meters, despite the official encyclopedia—hosted on the same website—still gives her height as 1.5 meters.
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