Rebel With a Cause

Star Wars just revealed the dark truth at the heart of the Rebellion

What do Vel, Mon Mothma, and Princess Leia all have in common?

Star Wars is the story of the Empire and the Rebellion, two rival military movements with their own internal chains of command and complex organizational structures. But it wasn’t always like that.

As we’re seeing in Andor, the Rebellion started out as a shared secret between a small group of insurrectionists with a hope and a dream. But it takes more than that to overthrow a tyrannical empire. That’s something the Star Wars series drills home in Episode 9 through the ongoing adventures of Mon Mothma and the introduction of a character named Davo Sculdun.

How Andor re-writes Star Wars

Throughout Andor, the poster child of the scrappy Aldhani uprising has been Vel, the blond leader of the gang who was skeptical of “Clem” (aka, Cassian) at first but eventually came around. She was one of the few to make it off the planet, leaving her girlfriend Cinta behind.

After the heist, she meets up with Luthen’s assistant Kleya (who we still think might be Leia in disguise). Kleya orders Vel to silence Andor because he knows too much about the Rebellion. And after a bit of hesitation, she agrees.

Vel meets with Kleya after hiding the evidence from the heist.

But her next post-heist stop is more interesting. Vel visits Mon Mothma, who is apparently her cousin. This is the first time the Aldhani plot has intersected in a big way with Mon Mothma’s. Suddenly, Vel isn’t the spunky local girl who decided to stick it to the colonizers of her planet. She’s a minor celebrity and “spoiled rich girl” on Coruscant.

Suddenly, the female leaders of the (live-action) Rebellion all have one thing in common: they’re from powerful families. Vel and Mon Mothma both enjoy a privileged life even under the Empire, and in the future, Leia will use her role as princess of Alderaan to further the rebel cause.

Is Andor trying to say that only nepotism babies can get anything done politically, especially if they’re women? Well, yes and no. By showing how these characters have immense privilege, they’re also showing that they have immense resources. It’s a harsh truth, but those in power are more likely to shift the power. Being rich is the only way to change things when you’re starting from nothing.

Davo Sculdun and Andor

Cousins Vel and Mon Mothma reunite in Andor Episode 9. Lucasfilm

This also shows why Mon Mothma is looking to rope in as many bankers and funders as she can. She has to play by the Empire’s rules, and that means a smart, economical game. It’s not very idealistic. In fact, bringing co-conspirators like Davo Sculdun (a wealthy criminal mentioned in Andor Episode 9) is an incredibly dangerous idea, but Mothma has no other choice.

If there’s one thing this Vel reveal goes to show, it’s that having privilege is an amazing opportunity. It’s because of this platform that Mon Mothma was able to fund the Aldhani heist, it’s because of it that nobody will question them (at least for now), and it’s why Vel can jet around the galaxy. Yeah, it may seem weird that a bunch of rich white women are furthering the Rebellion, but at least they’re using their privilege to do the right thing. Rebellions may be built on hope, but hope often comes in the form of cold, hard cash.

Andor is now streaming on Disney+.