Genevieve O'Reilly reacts to meme fame of Mon Mothma's most famous line (exclusive)

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Watch: Genevieve O'Reilly on 'many Bothans died' memes

Andor star Genevieve O'Reilly says that Star Wars fans frequently quote one very specific line of Mon Mothma dialogue back at her — even though she never said it on screen.

The line "many Bothans died to bring us this information" from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi — in which Mon Mothma is played by Caroline Blakiston — has become infamous online.

The meme gained further steam when Rogue One was announced, with many fans incorrectly believing Bothans — furry humanoids with leonine faces — might actually feature in the movie.

Read more: The inside story behind famous Return of the Jedi costume

Sadly for those fans, the Bothans referred to by Mon Mothma were involved in sourcing information around the second Death Star, rather than the one depicted in Rogue One.

O'Reilly, who first portrayed the Rebel leader in 2005's Revenge of the Sith, told Yahoo that she has the line yelled at her "quite often" in connection with the role.

Genevieve O'Reilly returns to play Mon Mothma once again in Star Wars TV series Andor. (Lucasfilm/Disney)
Genevieve O'Reilly returns to play Mon Mothma once again in Star Wars TV series Andor. (Lucasfilm/Disney)

"It is her line and I think all respect to Caroline, who did that work. She's the one. It means something because of what she did," said the 45-year-old actor.

O'Reilly added: "I am always aware that I stand on her shoulders, that she originated this with George Lucas. George Lucas wrote this female leader back in the 1980s.

Read more: Everything we know about Andor

"That is to be respected and to be celebrated. I love now that we're getting the opportunity to really flesh her out. So hopefully it does justice to that work that Caroline did."

Caroline Blakiston as Mon Mothma in Star Wars: Episode IV - Return of the Jedi (Lucasfilm)
Caroline Blakiston as Mon Mothma in Star Wars: Episode IV - Return of the Jedi .(Lucasfilm)

Andor, which takes place before Rogue One and follows the early rebel activities of Diego Luna's title character, introduces Mon Mothma as a senator working against the Empire from within the system.

O'Reilly said the opportunity to explore Mon Mothma in more depth was an "extraordinary gift" given to her by series creator Tony Gilroy.

She added: "He has invested time and story in her and I get to play not just the figure, not just the role of the senator or the leader, but the woman behind that — who she is, what that is, what she has to sacrifice, what she has to risk, what the cost is to her, what this rebellion is to her."

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The star said that exploring Mon Mothma within the political context of the Empire allowed her to find real life resonance in the galaxy far, far away.

Genevieve O'Reilly shares scenes with Stellan Skarsgård as key Rebel figure Luthen in Andor. (Lucasfilm/Disney)
Genevieve O'Reilly shares scenes with Stellan Skarsgård as key Rebel figure Luthen in Andor. (Lucasfilm/Disney)

She added: "I think what Star Wars does as a piece is hold the epic and the intimate at once. This is set in a galaxy far, far away, but I am playing a politician.

"So I think with Tony's writing, which is to hack away at the genre and reveal the characters within it, he allows for a discovery of the woman and an exploration of the woman herself."

O'Reilly said that Star Wars has always had "politics at its heart", right back to Lucas's original vision in the 1970s.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 15: Genevieve O'Reilly arrives at the special 3-episode launch event for Lucasfilm's original series Andor at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on September 15, 2022. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
Genevieve O'Reilly arrives at the launch event for Andor. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

"Palpatine and the architecture of a hierarchy is very much embedded within the beginnings of Star Wars," said the actor.

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She added: "What this piece allows us for — with Tony Gilroy at the heart of it, who writes spy thrillers so beautifully — is to allow for that time to tell that story and to have that intricacy of deception and revelation that politics can bring."

Andor is due to debut on Disney+ with three episodes on 21 September, followed by weekly episodes on the streaming platform after that.

Watch: Trailer for Disney+ Star Wars TV series Andor