Star Wars Lore – The Life of Mon Mothma
Mon Mothma was a politician who served as the senator of Chandrila throughout the Clone Wars. However, following the formation of the Galactic Empire, she turned her back on the Imperial Senate. Mothma planned to strike back against Emperor Palpatine and his cruel government. To achieve such, she formed the Alliance to Restore the Republic...
Rebel in the Making
Born in 46 BBY, Mon Mothma harboured a rebellious streak from a young age. As a result, realising her parents' imperfections, Mothma turned her back on her family's political dynasty to become a historian. However, given her mother's status as a governor on their native Chandrila, and her father's occupation as an arbiter-general in the Galactic Republic, Mon just couldn't face a life away from politics. She quickly ascended the ranks of the political world to join the Galactic Senate, becoming one of the youngest senators to date. From there, as a representative of her homeworld, Mothma joined the Loyalist Committee, a group of senators tasked by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine to maintain the Republic's integrity during the political crisis which followed the formation of the CIS. Before long, the Clone Wars erupted, spreading conflict throughout the galaxy. This deeply troubled the young senator. Mon, despite her position in the Loyalist committee, spoke out against the militarisation of the Republic, as she feared that the Republic's determination to defeat the Separatists was blinding it to the cost of war. Alongside fellow senators Padmé Amidala of Naboo and Alderaan's Bail Organa, Mon warned that wartime measures, such as increasing the scope of Palpatine's emergency powers, were a threat to democracy.
As the Galactic Senate became embroiled with debates regarding the cost of the Clone Wars, Mothma supported efforts to cut military spending – a stand considered unpatriotic by many militarists in the Senate. In fact, those who agreed with Mon's way of thinking became hated. She learned of this the hard way, as fellow senator Onaconda Farr was murdered by poisoned wine. What's more, Mothma, Amidala and Organa were later targeted by assassins. Despite this, they continued to investigate their friend's death, revealing Farr's very own aide as the murderer. Lolo Purs was arrested for her crimes. However, this proved to be only a minor victory, as the Senate pushed for additional lines of credit to fund the war effort, leading to the production of more clone troopers.
The Fall of the Republic
With the continuation of the Clone Wars, the Loyalists' efforts to pursue peace heightened. This led Mothma, Organa and Amidala to Mandalore, where they negotiated with Separatist senators. Frustratingly, the peace talks went nowhere, and, unfortunately, her situation would only worsen. In the final days of the conflict, Palpatine's power only grew further. This worried Mon deeply, so she and her trusty allies began preparing possible ways to resist the Supreme Chancellor. They often met in secret at Cantham House on Bail's Coruscant estate, planting the seeds of a rebellion. Some would label their precautions as paranoia, especially due to Mothma's rejected proposals against funding the Clone Wars. However, the execution of Order 66, and the formation of the Galactic Empire, only confirmed the senator's fears. In the commotion, Padmé perished, but not before giving birth to twins, Luke and Leia, the latter of whom was adopted by Organa and his wife, Queen Breha of Alderaan. Mothma watched the youngster mature into a politician in her own right. And like her biological mother, Princess Leia was tutored by the Chandrilan. As a result, mirroring Mon, she became one of the youngest senators ever to serve the Imperial Senate.
With escalating outrages committed by the Imperial military, Mon had no choice but to speak out publicly against the Emperor. She addressed him directly as a “lying executioner” in a widely broadcast HoloNet proclamation. Such treason escalated Mothma to the peak of the Empire's “Most Wanted” list, forcing her to flee Coruscant and resign as the senator of Chandrila. However, her declaration encouraged several resistance movements to band together and form the Alliance to Restore the Republic. As the Rebellion was both a political movement and a paramilitary force, Mothma became the head of the Alliance Civil Government, with the title Chief of State, as well as the Commander-in-Chief of the Alliance Forces. Regardless of her many titles, Mon preferred to be called “senator”, despite her disassociation from the body.
The Galactic Civil War
When rumblings of an Imperial superweapon capable of destroying entire planets surfaced, Mothma recruited Jyn Erso to contact Saw Gerrera. Mon hoped to use Jyn's connection to ultimately provide evidence of the superweapon to the Imperial Senate. The mission led to the theft of the Death Star's plans, which the Alliance could use in an effort to defeat the planet-destroyer. Unfortunately, the victory wasn't without its many casualties. Furthermore, the Empire later utilised the Death Star to decimate Alderaan, killing Bail Organa in the process. Thankfully, Leia's twin brother, Luke Skywalker, managed to exploit a weakness in the superweapon, destroying it completely. The victory encouraged many within the Rebellion to further engage the Empire. However, with their limited resources, the chancellor opted to continue the movement of the Alliance's fleet, so to avoid Imperial detection.
Three years later, Bothan spies informed the Rebellion of Imperial construction on a second Death Star. Mothma immediately met with the Alliance High Command to discuss their next steps. Unfortunately, as a result of the Battle of Hoth, the rebels couldn't mount an immediate attack on the superweapon. However, Leia volunteered to lure the Empire's watchful eye away from the Alliance so they could regroup. Mon was totally against the idea, fearing for the princess' safety, but there was no stopping Organa. Thankfully, Operation Yellow Moon was successful, allowing for a counterattack against the second Death Star. Following the Massacre on Kashyyyk, which saw Imperial forces wipe out the Wookiee populace, Mothma believed democracy to be dead. She considered becoming a starfighter pilot. However, she realised that she held more value to the Alliance as its leader, not a soldier. Mothma used this story to encourage her colleagues before the Battle of Endor. The chancellor also outlined an attack on both the Forest moon and the superweapon, due to its shield generator. The battle wasn't without its problems. In fact, the rebels fell into a trap. But their fighting spirit quickly thwarted the Empire's might. They destroyed the second Death Star, taking the life of Emperor Palpatine with it.
The New Republic
Left leaderless, the Galactic Empire fell into disarray, making way for the New Republic. Mothma was elected as the inaugural chancellor of the Rebel Alliance's successor. As such, she re-established the Galactic Senate on Chandrila and pushed to eradicate the same powers Palpatine exploited to overturn millennia of peace. She also planned a massive military disarmament to coincide with the Galactic Civil War's conclusion. If successful, only ten percent of the New Republic Starfleet would remain, which would be used to train and support local militias.
One year following the Battle of Endor, the Galactic Concordance was signed. This act officially ended the Galactic Civil War, and forced the remaining Imperial forces into the Unknown Regions. Peace had finally returned to the galaxy, something Mon wasn't eager to foil. She reformed the Senate by using member worlds to rotate the Senate's capital on a regular basis. This convinced many that the New Republic would differ greatly from its predecessors. Having ushered in a wave of change to maintain peace, Mothma retired. Unfortunately, the chancellor's successors failed to match her charisma and political consensus. The New Republic fell into chaos, in Mon's absence, and the Galactic Senate became divided. On one side were the Populists, believing that individual member worlds should maintain their full sovereignty, and on the other were the Centrists, who favoured a larger military and a stronger galactic government. Mothma couldn't do much to resolve the issues, though she did support Leia in her political endeavours. She stood by Organa when her status as the daughter of Darth Vader was revealed. The former chancellor had suspected the truth for some time before its announcement...
Now it's time for this week's question: do you believe Mon Mothma to be an underrated character, despite her achievements? Let me know in the comments below.