- "I find your lack of faith disturbing"
- ―Darth Vader to Motti
Motti was an Imperial admiral that was in charge of station operations aboard the first Death Star, and had a rivalry with General Cassio Tagge. Motti was related to Grand Moff Tarkin by marriage: Tarkin had married Motti's relative, Lady Tarkin.
- "You are close to treason, Motti."
"Is it treason to point out that you could demand a position of authority second only to that of the Emperor?"
"I would not care to have the Emperor as my enemy."
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin and Motti, shortly before the beginning of the Battle of Yavin.
An arrogant man, Admiral Motti believed that the Death Star was the "ultimate power" in the universe, and that even the mighty Imperial Navy would not stand a chance against it, much less the rag-tag Rebel Alliance. So confident he was in the power of the Death Star, he openly insulted Darth Vader and his adherence to the dark side of the Force.
Motti reasoned that Vader's failure to find the missing technical readouts of the battle station and inability to divine the location of the Rebels' secret base was evidence that the Force was truly insignificant. Vader was quick to punish Motti for his ignorance, using the Force to telekinetically strangle him. Luckily for Motti, Tarkin intervened and ordered Vader to spare the jaded admiral.
Motti, however, did not learn the lesson that the Dark Lord was trying to teach him. He believed that once the Rebellion was destroyed, the Death Star would be the very source of the Empire's power. As such, he tried to convince Tarkin that command of the battle station made him the Emperor's equal. Motti, of course, would serve at Tarkin's right hand.
However, one obstacle remained, and that would be the Emperor's emissary. Motti felt that though Vader's powers were considerable, they were not an insurmountable challenge for the Death Star's personnel. Shortly before the Battle of Yavin, Motti made his case to Tarkin and Tarkin hinted to Motti that his visions of grandeur smelled of treason. However, Tarkin told Motti that he would like to hear the admiral further expound upon his ideas after the Rebels were crushed. Motti did not live to see his vision come to fruition, dying when the Death Star was destroyed.
Behind the scenes
Early scripts of A New Hope shuffled the names of Admiral Motti and General Tagge. He is curiously absent from the Death Star meeting scene in the novelization of A New Hope, and there it's General Tagge who's the victim of Vader's telekinetic stranglehold while Motti himself is replaced by a new Imperial officer named Romodi. Motti does appear later on in the novel, proving that he and Romodi are different characters. Many wrongfully believe that Romodi is Motti's first name, however.
Motti is one of the few Imperial characters from the original trilogy who still does not have a first name. Tarkin, Tagge, Ozzel, Piett, Veers, and Needa all have had first names given to them by the Expanded Universe in the decades following their appearances (as seen in their respective articles), but not the unfortunate Motti.
Richard LeParmentier was one of the few non-English actors cast as Imperial officers in A New Hope and, as such, did not speak with an English accent. He said, "...I suggested a mid-Atlantic accent to George and he thought it was a good idea. I was doing a light mid-Atlantic accent for the role..." As such, he is one of the few Imperial Officers in the original trilogy to speak without an English accent, with Gherant, Dyer, Praji, and Daine Jir being among the others.
- Tag & Bink Are Dead (Non-canonical appearance)
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (novel) (First appearance)
- Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
- Star Wars radio dramatization
- Darksaber (Appears in flashback(s))