Hey, we know her, right? The Rogue One teaser trailer might have made millions of fan voices suddenly cry out in ecstasy because it had so many new things to check out. It might have even made you forget about the prequels. But a small callback detail (that might turn into a big callback detail for all we know) in the trailer from the original trilogy might have been easy to overlook. After Felicity Jones rabble-rouser lead character Jyn Erso is brought in to a hidden Rebel base and tasked with completing an impossible mission for the Rebel Alliance (along with co-stars Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Donnie Yen, and Jian Wen), she is given the gist of the plan by none other than Mon Mothma.
Wait, Mothra, who? We know Godzilla filmmaker Gareth Edwards took over directing duties on Rogue One, but we’re not talking about giant Japanese moth monsters fighting huge lizards. We’re actually talking about Mon Mothma, better known as one of the more enigmatic and briefly seen female characters from the original trilogy.
She’s the former senator and leader of the Rebel Alliance seen giving an iconic briefing in Return of the Jedi about the plan of attack on the second Death Star. Unfortunately all the Luke, Han, Leia, and Lando plot developments kind of force her off to the side. Even worse, she’s tragically overshadowed in the scene by Admiral Ackbar’s weird crustacean visage, but at least she’s still remembered for her Many Bothans died to bring us this information” line of dialogue.
And hopefully we’ll get to see her deliver some even more iconic lines of dialogue in Rogue One. In 1983 she was played by actress Caroline Blakiston, but in a little twist of fate, the actress who plays Mon Mothma here is actually a Star Wars veteran without actually ever appearing in a Star Wars movie. As pointed out by the head of the Lucasfilm Story Group (and man with the greatest job on the planet) Pablo Hidalgo, Rogue One’s Mon Mothma is played by actress Genevieve O’Reilly, who was first approached by George Lucas to play the role in a scene that was eventually cut from Revenge of the Sith.
Check out the scene that was cut below:
The character herself is a wise inclusion for Rogue One, taking advatnage of previous characters to set up the throwback mythology of the first Star Wars anthology movie beyond mere fan service. She’s there because she’s the leader of the Rebels, so it makes sense on a story level. Plus, she’s the key to the trailer passing the Bechdel test.
For over three decades, Mon Mothma has been one of the most iconic women in the Star Wars universe, but she’s been a mystery. With the new saga’s push to be more inclusive, hopefully the mysterious leader of the rebellion will have a major part in more movies to come.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16.