Star Wars just redefined the canon of Last Jedi’s most controversial scene
Let's talk about Canto Bight...
If Star Wars characters are going to gamble, they should do it in style. Or, at the very least, not do it where they live. In the Season 1 finale of Star Wars: Andor, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly) makes a big deal about her husband Perrin’s (Alastair Mackenzie) alleged gambling. And in doing so, Andor borrows from The Last Jedi to tidy up one very interesting Rebellion plot line.
Spoilers ahead for the Andor Season 1 finale.
Mon Mothma drops a “Canto Bight” reference
Toward the end of the Andor Season 1 finale, Mon Mothma casually accuses her husband Perrin of wracking up a ton of gambling debts. She’s specifically annoyed that, according to her, he’s been doing this “in Coruscant,” rather than the preferable off-planet option “Canto Bight.” Mon Mothma’s frustration with Perrin is twofold: First that he’s publicly making their finances look horrible, and second, he’s not even bothering to hide it like other corrupt rich people do.
Canto Bight, of course, was first introduced in the 2017 film Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which takes place a full three decades after the events of Andor. And yet, Andor just retroactively established that the Canto Bight of the sequel era is more or less the same kind of place as during the original trilogy era. In other words, the corrupt upper class of the galaxy gamble, launder money, and make backroom deals on Canto Bight.
Without Canto Bight having been introduced in The Last Jedi, Mon Mothma couldn’t have made this very pointed contrast. The difference between being a sloppy rich person on Canto Bight is one thing, but doing it in the seat of power (Coruscant) is hugely foolish.
Of note, Mon Motham also says “in Coruscant” not “on Coruscant” which checks out with The Phantom Menace in which Ric Olié mentions that the “entire planet is one big city.” When you’re visiting a city to meet someone, you’d say, “I’ll see you in New York City,” not “on New York City.” It’s a small touch, but it’s also one of those instances where Andor feels more real than most other Star Wars things.
Andor’s Mon Mothma twist
However, despite all of these cool canon connections, the real result of Mon Mothma’s accusations is just a giant smoke screen. The audience knows that Perin isn’t really gambling at all. The series has insinuated Perin has had gambling problems before, but the audience knows Mon Mothma is lying. Gambling is the best way for it to seem like all the money Mon Mothma’s been stealing for the Rebellion is just her husband’s gambling problem — not her funding a rebellion.
As the episode ends, we get the impression that the Empire is pretty convinced of this too. And the more Perin denies it, the more it seems like he really does have a gambling problem. Problem solved. The Rebellion keeps getting money from Mon Mothma, and any weird bookkeeping gets blamed on her husband.
Essentially, for Star Wars fans who have wondered how the Rebellion was so well-funded, at least part of the answer is that Mon Mothma threw her husband under the bus to avoid getting audited. And if Canto Bight had never existed in Star Wars canon, retroactively, it seems like this plot twist could have never worked. Back in 2017, one of the common complaints about The Last Jedi was how much time was spent on Canto Bight. But now, it’s essential, even off-screen.
So, if you like that the Rebellion got secret money from Mon Mothma, then, in a roundabout way, thank The Last Jedi!
Andor Season 1 is streaming on Disney+