The Emperor Gave the Rebels A Weapon to Fight the Empire | #students | #parents

The following contains spoilers for Andor Season 1, Episode 7, “Announcement,” now streaming on Disney+.

While Andor on Disney+ so far remains true to its implied promise of no Force users, not only was Emperor Palpatine mentioned directly, but he was also revealed to have a secret apprentice in Mon Mothma. As such, the Dark Lord of the Sith gave the Rebel Alliance their greatest weapon: their galactically respectable leader. As Cassian tries to rescue his mother from Imperial-controlled Ferrix and then flees himself, viewers are treated to another glimpse into the life of Mon Mothma.

Genevieve O’Reilly once again delivers a truly astounding performance, effectively showing how Rogue One: A Star Wars Story wasted her talent. Viewers learn that she was not aware of Luthen’s plan, and that the Aldhani viewing the celestial event were detained and punished by the Empire. When they last met, he refused her request to “bring in someone new.” Now that he’s acted unilaterally, Mon Mothma decides the Senator from Chandrila doesn’t need some antiquities dealer’s permission to lead the Rebellion her way. In order to survive Emperor Palpatine over the 15 years between Andor and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Mon Mothma has to beat him at his own game of politics and not as a Dark Lord of the Sith.

RELATED: Andor Is Star Wars for Adults – And There’s a Place for That

The Emperor Had an Apprentice in Mon Mothma Against His Will

The last thing galactic mastermind Sheev Palpatine would want to do is make his enemies stronger. Yet, after he executed Order 66 and killed liberty to thunderous applause, Mon Mothma began to make some notes. She remembered the Palpatine that was and the dictator he came to be. As such, she knows more about his truly evil nature than even her aristocratic contemporaries, save perhaps for Bail Organa.

In Episode 7, “Announcement,” Mon Mothma reveals some of her true nature to a childhood friend when she says, “I’m a polite, sometimes-indecisive Senator who spends her days fighting and failing to protect Separatist do-gooders and battle Empire overreach.” She then follows this up with “I’ve learned from Palpatine. I show you the stone in my hand, you miss the knife at your throat.” One might say Mon Mothma is a phantom menace to the Empire: appearing to be both typical and ineffectual in public, but in private she’s overseeing the dismantling of the pillars of authoritarianism.

In copying Palpatine, Mon Mothma is able to both secure an unassuming place in the Senate, while funding and directing the various Rebel cells. In fact, her façade is coming to an inflection point — one she can again look to Emperor Palpatine for inspiration. Fans of the animated series know that about a year or more from the events in Andor, Mon Mothma publicly resigns from the Senate and declares the Rebel Alliance. This is akin to Palpatine crowning himself the Emperor, in that it is both a surprising step and one that felt inevitable. She learned from Palpatine — during the time when he stayed in office past his term — how to acknowledge broken norms while outright ignoring them.

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Mon Mothma, Not Luthen, Is the Rebels’ Greatest Weapon

It might be fair to call Mon Mothma an incrementalist who uses the Rebels as Palpatine used the Separatists. Of course, many Separatists became Rebels according to Mothma, so it’s even the same individuals. Luthen is angry with her for her “irritation” work in the Senate in lieu of more direct military Rebel action. Yet, Mon Mothma understands how political narratives take place. The Rebels could be painted as “terrorists” like the Separtists were.

It’s only after spending over a decade and a half as a member of the “loyal opposition” that Mon Mothma earned the credibility to become the Rebel Alliance leader. The average citizens can’t deny that she at least tried to do things the right way. Again, this is a lesson she learned from Palpatine who — even as he smothered it in the galaxy — became Emperor by saying he “loves democracy.” Actions speak louder than words, but words and actions used correctly — even when contradicting — can make all the difference.

Emperor Palpatine was a man who loved having an apprentice, but only when he could control their instruction. Mon Mothma becoming a student of Palpatine’s without his knowledge allowed her to become the one galactic political figure who could stand in opposition to him.

Andor debuts new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.

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