If someone were to ask a Gundam fan who was the main character of the Universal Century series of Gundam two names pop into most people’s minds. They would either answer Amuro Ray or Char Aznable. They are both iconic characters of the series and have an enormous influence on the Universal Century time line. But neither character is in Gundam Double Zeta and their deaths in Char’s Counter Attack make it hard (but possibly not impossible) for them to participate in Gundam Unicorn. A more savvy Gundam fan might realize that Bright Noah has been in every major Universal Century TV series and movie. But he always been a supporting cast member and never rose to prominence as a main character. In fact there is one character for all of the first leg of the Universal Century time line can be a backdrop for their story.
I purpose that Mineva Lao Zabi is the true star of Gundam. Her history starts in Mobile Suit Gundam as the One Year War starts to head towards its inevitable conclusion. As the Battle of Solomon quickly turned south for the Zeon it forces Dozle Zabi to evacuate his family and make his last stand. This act would give his wife and daughter a chance to escape and soon find themselves the only surviving members of the Zabi family. Mineva appears again in Zeta and Double Zeta Gundam as a puppet of Haman Karn. She is clearly uncomfortable in her position but is trapped in the role as the only remaining link to the Zabi legacy. We eventually discover that the Mineva in Double Zeta in a body double leading to the question of where did the original go. In Char’s Counter Attack we have an offhanded reference to Haman and Mineva from Char as leader of the Second Neo Zeon movement. But finally she come to due prominence in Gundam Unicorn. It seems that since Zeta Gundam Mineva had been protected by various Zeon holdouts until she reemerged with the the Sleeves going by the name of Audrey Burn. Here she finally transcends to main character status as she tries to prevent the Laplace Box from falling into the wrong hands. She has played a major role in every step of the conflict between the Federation and Zeon.
While I am being slightly facetious by calling Mineva the main character of the Universal Century I do think that she has a unique place in the history of Gundam. Her growth can be seen over the course of the series and her fate seems bonded by blood to that of the Zeon movement that defines half of Gundam. The history of the first Gundam universe is the history of Mineva Lao Zabi and vice versa.