Warning! This article contains spoilers for Andor episode 7.
While the Separatist Alliance lost the Clone Wars, Andor hints at one way they have survived the rise of the Galactic Empire. The Separatists are some of the Star Wars franchise’s most complex antagonists, promising an end to the Republic’s corruption but being a far more corrupt corporate regime behind the scenes. Palpatine and Count Dooku conspired to create the Separatists and mold them into the perfect enemy for the Republic and the former continues to use their memory to manipulate Imperial citizens and military personnel, yet Andor shows a way that Mon Mothma uses their politics to deflect suspicion from her secret involvement in the growing Rebellion.
Andor’s seventh episode, “Announcement,” includes a fascinating scene in which Mon Mothma privately reveals her secret efforts to undermine the Empire to her friend Tay Kolma, and mentions that the Grand Vizier (Mas Amedda) has infiltrated her Separatist Coalition meetings. Mon Mothma’s description of the “Separatist Coalition” suggests that she leads the movement, but the context of her description further implies that it is meant to be a distraction from her true battles against the Empire. This one line hints at the state of Separatist ideals in Imperial politics as well as referencing its ties to the eventual Rebel Alliance, despite the two factions’ incompatible ideologies.
As shown in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: The Bad Batch, the end of the Clone Wars saw the Separatist droid military shut down, the Separatist Council assassinated, and the Separatist capital world of Raxus seized by the fledgling Galactic Empire. While the pretense of political diversity exists in the Empire via the Imperial Senate, the regime likely has little tolerance for any seemingly growing Separatist revival movements. The Imperial populace is likely on the same page as well, remembering the horrors of both the Separatist Crisis and the Clone Wars, unaware of their secret orchestration by Palpatine himself.
During the Clone Wars, Mon Mothma, along with like-minded Republic politicians like Padmé Amidala and Bail Organa, formed the Delegation of 2000 in response to the Republic’s freefall towards fascism. In the Legends continuity’s Revenge of the Sith novelization, this subplot was explored in detail, with then-Supreme Chancellor Palpatine considering all members traitors and wasting no time persecuting them once his coup was complete. Mothma and Organa then began to feign support for Palpatine and the Empire while secretly undermining it.
As shown in numerous canon and Legends stories, the Empire uses the populace’s memory of the Separatists against the Rebellion or any growing Rebel movements, despite the Rebel Alliance wishing to restore the Republic, not replace it with a fundamentally different ideology like the actual Separatist Alliance. As the future leader of the Rebel Alliance, Mon Mothma is wisely keeping her Imperial colleagues distracted by her apparent leadership of an Imperial Separatist group, though this may explain a perhaps unintended consequence. Former Clone Wars-era Separatists such as Kalani and even Cassian Andor himself (according to some canon sources) end up working alongside or joining the Rebel Alliance, perhaps enticed by the diversionary Separatist group mentioned by Mothma in Andor.
New episodes of Andor release on Wednesdays on Disney+.