It's official: Rogue One is a blockbuster hit, just as everybody had expected! As a Star Wars fan, though, one of the most interesting details in the film was the inclusion of Forest Whitaker's Saw Gerrera — the (slightly insane) Rebel whose campaign against the Empire on Jedha turned into a brutal guerrilla war! Introduced in the Clone Wars animated series, Gerrera draws the various threads of the Star Wars franchise more tightly together than ever before. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has confirmed that the character originally played a much more crucial role in the film - but that his story isn't over.
“To be honest, we originally thought we were going to develop Saw into something much larger, but we couldn’t accommodate it. So he is not in the movie as much as we would like to have him in the movie, which creates the opportunity to explore his character even further in our future development.”
Fittingly, it looks as though Saw Gerrera is about to go full-circle - and return in animated form, making an appearance in Star Wars: Rebels!
Here's What We Know!
Capitalizing on #RogueOne's stellar opening weekend, Disney took the opportunity to distribute these intriguing posters at certain Toys R Us stores in the US. They clearly show the return of Saw Gerrera, setting him up to play a role in at least one episode of #StarWarsRebels. It didn't take us long to learn more; he'll return to an animated form in "Ghosts of Geonosis" parts 1 and 2, with the two-parter launching January 7th 2017!
The Story of Saw Gerrera
The character of Saw Gerrera is already a revolutionary one, given that his story spans not one but three different mediums. The character was introduced as a bold tactical genius in the Clone Wars animated series, where he was proud and arrogant enough to not even be intimated by Anakin Skywalker! At that stage, Saw was an important figure in the Republic's campaign against the Separatists. Tragically, his sister Steela was killed as a result of his own actions in the heat of battle.
The character was then imported into James Luceno's novel Catalyst, the official prelude novel for Rogue One. We learned that he hadn't exactly sat comfortably as the Republic became the Empire; instead, he became involved in piracy and smuggling. Gradually, Gerrera uncovered an Imperial plot to take over systems by fabricating evidence of rebel activity; this launched his first campaign against the Empire, with Gerrera successfully escaping Moff Tarkin himself! Off the back of this, though, Gerrera struck a devastating blow to the Empire; he successfully retrieved the Erso family, and spirited them away, causing massive delays to the Empire's secret Death Star project.
This leads us to Rogue One, where we learn that Gerrera actually brought up the orphaned Jyn Erso for years, until her identity was almost discovered. Then, confident he'd trained her sufficiently, he simply abandoned her. In the meantime, Gerrera had worked alongside the fledgling Rebel Alliance for some years, but ultimately proved too uncontrollable; he'd severed ties with the wider Rebel Alliance, heading off to lead a guerrilla campaign on Jedha. As we saw in Rogue One, that campaign didn't exactly end well...
Why Saw Gerrera's Return Is Important to Star Wars
Saw Gerrera is undoubtedly the most important inter-media character in the Star Wars franchise. His story began in an animated series, moved over into one of the novels, and was completed on the big screen. Now, in what's clearly positioned as something of a Rogue One tie-in (notice the phrase on the poster?), he's set to return to another animated series. Even better, Kathleen Kennedy's quote suggests Rebels may not be his last appearance - could Forest Whitaker return to the role in another spinoff movie? Or could we see more of Saw Gerrera in the novels?
Whatever the future may hold for Saw Gerrera, this kind of approach is absolutely revolutionary for Star Wars. It's no surprise seeing elements from the wider franchise making their way into the movies — Coruscant was introduced in Timothy Zahn's 'Thrawn Trilogy' — but to see the different mediums working so closely together, and to see characters transitioning seamlessly between them, is something new. Of course, as I mentioned in an earlier post, there is one anomaly in this; #Marvel's Star Wars comics are still yet to show any sign of tying into Rogue One, suggesting that the relationship between the comics and the wider franchise isn't quite so healthy as Marvel and Lucasfilm would lead us to believe.
Still, with the sole exception of the comics we're seeing Rogue One draw together the different threads of the Star Wars franchise in a unique way. When Lucasfilm relaunched the franchise after they were purchased by Disney, they promised that in the new Star Wars everything would be canon. It's a delight to see that they were telling the truth!