Andor: Genevieve O'Reilly Carries Star Wars Legacy With Latest Mon Mothma Journey

In 2005, Genevieve O'Reilly joined the pantheon of Star Wars cast members when she played Mon Mothma in Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. The role had previously been portrayed in a part of the timeline set years later, when Carolina Blakiston appeared in 1983's Episode IV – Return of the Jedi. Now, 17 years since her Star Wars debut and six years since her most recent live-action outing with the character in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, O'Reilly is playing the part of Mon Mothma once again in Andor and carrying every bit of the legacy with her. 

"We know Mon Mothma, we've seen her in different Star Wars pieces," O'Reilly told, referencing not only the live-action versions of the character but also animated appearances in Clones Wars and Rebels. "We know she's a very public figure. We know she's very noble. We know she's very regal," O'Reilly explained. "Where we start in Andor is in such a different place than we've ever seen her before. She is so far from that bunker in Yavin, she is steeped in Empire. She is navigating a political class in high society. She looks different. She feels different. She is managing and a very male-dominated political world. And her voice in opposition is a very lonely voice. So we see a woman who is up against it. We see a woman who is not listened to. A woman who is overwhelmed by an autocracy or a very dangerous, rolling empire."

While O'Reilly has played the role for far longer and with considerably more screen time in both live-action and animation, she is quick to point out that she is inspired by Blakiston's work from 1983's Star Wars movie. "I always go back to Caroline's work. You know, when I first played her originally, when I was a very young actor, I studied that scene from Return of the Jedi again, and again, and again, because I felt I had to be really respectful to the work because she originated it," O'Reilly said. "So, I worked very hard when I was working in Revenge of the Sith to really pay attention and to pay homage to her as an actor. I continued to go back to there because Caroline originated her with George Lucas, and I have great respect that in early 1980s, George wrote a female leader of a Rebel Alliance. That said, that was as ambitious then as it is now. So I am keen to flesh her out. I am keen to see that woman and to fill the shoes of this woman that I love."

Mon Mothma will play a key role in Andor, a character who some will argue has more to lose than those surrounding her. The series is set to drop its first three episodes of 12 from its first of two seasons on Wednesday. 17 years after taking on the role of Mon Mothma, O'Reilly admitted she "had no idea" that the role would be with her for so long. "That was when I was kind of brand new," she said. "I was quite young and was one of my first roles. It was an extraordinary thing to step into, to be a part of, I remember it really fondly. I had no idea that I would get the opportunity to be here now to flesh her out. It's a wonderful story."

Are you excited for Andor and the Star Wars characters who audiences will get a chance to see developed further? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Twitter. Andor premieres on Disney+ on September 21.