Andor's Most Compelling Storyline Finally Gives A Classic Star Wars Character Room To Shine

It's taken no time at all for "Andor" to announce that there's officially a new and exciting "Star Wars" show in town — one that's completely uninterested in delivering what fans have seen before, for a refreshing change. Coming in, we all expected that the "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" prequel series would reveal brand new layers beneath the rough exterior of Diego Luna's Cassian Andor. Little did we know that another long-established franchise character would end up stealing the show altogether.

Much has been made of the return of Genevieve O'Reilly as Mon Mothma, reprising her role of the Rebel leader after her original work in "Revenge of the Sith" was left on the cutting room floor as a deleted scene. Though she briefly appeared in "Rogue One" and also voiced the character in several episodes of "Star Wars: Rebels," no series has given her quite as much space to grow and evolve from our preconceptions quite like "Andor."

And the best part of all this? In a clever twist by creator Tony Gilroy and his writer's room, Mon Mothma's struggle to be more than what meets the eye — all while evading detection and suspicion by the Empire's cronies — has been built-in into the very text of her surprisingly compelling arc.

Hiding in plain sight

Remember those dark days when pop culture at large scoffed at the very idea of the "Star Wars" prequels for their "boring politics"? May we never return, especially since "Andor" proves that depicting the mundanity of politics in mainstream entertainment can be as tense and thrilling as any space battle or lightsaber duel — when placed in the right hands, at least.

A major storyline specifically for Mon Mothma may not have been at the top of the fanbase's wishlist for this series, but it has turned out to be one of the absolute best additions to a series that already has so much going for it. Now that Andor's heist has been completed, viewers may have braced themselves for an inevitable letdown episode dealing with the aftermath. While episode 7 is predominantly focused with how the Empire responds to such a brazen act of rebellion, showing us that perspective through the unique lens of Mon Mothma gives the episode the shot in the arm it needs to maintain the momentum built up over its previous hours.

It's through Mon Mothma (and, in a similar capacity, Stellan Skarsgård's Luthen Rael) that we witness how the still-secret Rebellion has begun to pry loose the Empire's iron grip on the galaxy. As a smooth-talking broker of antiquities, Luthen has a perfectly unassuming cover for his revolutionary agenda, flying far below the Imperial radar. As a senator knee-deep in the (very public) business of curtailing "Empire overreach," Mon Mothma enjoys far less wiggle room and far more to lose should her Rebel sympathies ever come to light.

As it turns out, that's exactly where the central tension of this subplot comes into focus.

More than an 'irritation'

"Andor" has established itself as a story mostly taking place from within the shadows. From his childhood flashbacks on Kenari to his skulking around on Ferrix to his brief partnership with the Rebellion on Aldhani, Cassian's backstory and line of work makes him predisposed to this sort of lifestyle ... but he's not the only one in this series trying to scrape by through anonymity. Mon Mothma also helps reinforce this theme through her secret dealings with the Rebellion on Coruscant. Ironically, the very thing that makes her most valuable to the revolutionaries — her immense family fortune and her position situated at the heart of the Empire — also puts her at greatest risk.

This latest episode might seem like it paints Mon Mothma in a bad light, arriving at Luthen's shop unannounced and more angry than pleased with his involvement in the Aldhani heist and the troubles it will bring down upon her. But the true genius of "Andor" is in how it shows so many different ways that people can work to further the Rebellion's goals.

Mon Mothma isn't like the mercenary Cassian or the late manifesto-spouting Nemik (Alex Lawther), mostly due to her position as a politician and as a woman. But those aspects also make her perfectly situated to help the Rebels. Her career as a public figure makes her constantly underestimated by her enemies (and even those closest to her, as represented by her clueless husband Perrin). And though we know exactly what she'll become in the years ahead — a key figure in the Rebellion leadership — every step she takes has to be carefully measured and self-analyzed.

Seen as a harmless irritant by most, Mon Mothma reveals to her close friend Tay Kolma (Ben Miles) that there's more to her than meets the eye. Those watching "Andor" are guaranteed to reach the same conclusion.