Mon Mothma is such a revered character in the “Star Wars” universe, played by Caroline Blakiston in “Return of the Jedi.” Now that you’ve had the opportunity to play her quite a few times, do you feel like you can properly take ownership of this role? Or do you feel like it’s a shared responsibility for you and for Caroline?
I will always respect the work that was done by Caroline Blakiston and George Lucas to originate her. They created her back in 1983 in “Return of the Jedi.” They wrote her and created her as a female leader of a Rebel Alliance — I think that is to be respected. I always am grateful for the opportunity to continue to explore her. I do feel like I know her now, and I’m grateful to flesh her out in a way that feels that the character is deserving of that. I’m thrilled that I get the opportunity to do that.
With “Andor,” Mon Mothma is more prominent of a character in the “Star Wars” universe than ever before. Given the broadening of the character’s story in the series, has your approach to playing her changed from the way you portrayed her in the films to now?
What “Andor” offers us is an opportunity to look at her in a completely different moment of her life than we’ve ever witnessed before. We have seen Mon Mothma previously surrounded by Rebels, often in a bunker, sending someone off on a mission. In “Rogue One,” there is the Rebel fleet behind them, so there is an organized rebellion.
At this moment when we meet Mon Mothma, she is neck-deep in the Empire. She is working as a senator within the Imperial Senate. She is still trying to be a voice for democracy working within the system of government. When we meet her in “Andor,” she’s come to the end of the hope that there can be change. She’s facing the wall of Palpatine’s autocracy and realizes that she is a lonely oppositional voice, and so she must step outside that. She must risk everything that she has worked her life for, her career for, to stand up for what she really believes in.