In Andor episode 4, “Aldhani,” we see the return of Mon Mothma to live-action Star Wars. She steals each scene she’s in, which includes a tense conversation with her husband, Perrin.
It’s the first time we’ve ever met Perrin, and he’s getting ready to host a dinner with many Imperial guests, including Sly Moore – the Emperor’s close advisor and Chief of Staff. Mothma is upset about the fact that her husband has invited these people who hate her to join them for dinner, and she tells him not to seat her by them. He tells her that she’s on the other side of the table, which is the boring side, because he wants to be with them on the fun side.
This causes her to snap, saying sarcastically, “Oh are they? Are they fun? We should find some Ghorman guests for tonight and see how amused they are. Your fun friends just cut off their shipping lanes yesterday. Do you know how many will starve? Oh, perhaps we can laugh about it over the third course.”
Taken by itself, this statement carries enough weight: the Empire continues to oppress other systems, and it’s just done so with the Ghorman people by cutting off trade routes and, therefore, likely leading to famine. It’s a reminder of the Empire’s tyrannical rule, and a reminder of what Mothma is fighting against. As such, Ghorman could really be any other planet in the Star Wars galaxy, and it would serve the same purpose for the viewer.
But the fact that it’s Ghorman and not any other planet in the galaxy is also quite significant in the larger Star Wars canon, particularly when it comes to Mon Mothma. This episode is set in BBY 5, meaning five years prior to the Battle of Yavin. In BBY 2, as seen in Star Wars Rebels, Mothma gives an impassioned speech finally going public in her attack against the Emperor. She resigns from the Imperial Senate and formally launches the Alliance to Restore the Republic, which becomes better known as the Rebel Alliance – of which she serves as head and commander-in-chief.
And what was it that was the final straw leading her to issue these public remarks against the Emperor? The Empire’s brutal massacre and oppression of the Ghorman people.
I really think that these two events are connected. I think that the Empire cutting off their shipping lanes in BBY 5 will lead to such unrest among the people of Ghorman that the Empire decides to step in and launch a brutal massacre in BBY 2, an event that causes Mon Mothma to fully break ranks with the tyrannical government and form her own.
It’s pretty cool how Andor shows Mothma’s concern for the planet and the Empire’s actions there already, and it’s foreshadowing what is to come. I wouldn’t even be surprised if we get to see Mothma’s speech again, as glimpsed in Rebels, in live-action in season two. Because while this serves to do a good bit of worldbuilding for the audience, this reference in Andor also highlights another aspect: Mon Mothma is aware of the Empire’s evil, and its harmful impact on people, well before it gets to the “massacre” stage. And she’s fighting in the Senate to keep that from happening, trying to do her best, thinking that she can still do the most good as a Senator. But she ultimately becomes convinced that is no longer true, and I think it makes sense why it would happen with Ghorman. If she had seen years earlier where it would lead, and despite her efforts it still led there, it’s understandable why she’d decide to break ranks entirely. She could now do more good outside the Senate than inside it.
I love Andor’s attention to detail on something like this. The show has received a bit of (very misguided and ill-informed) criticism about not including easter eggs, yet things like these are precisely the way easter eggs should be done. The line, by itself, serves its purpose perfectly for the audience, while those who know more of Mothma’s story will be able to connect the dots on where this is leading.