Let's Talk Forest Whitaker's 'Rogue One' Character

by Kaitlin Reilly

We're finally getting more information about the new characters that we will see in upcoming Star Wars story Rogue One, but, while characters like Felicity Jones' Jyn Erso are brand-new to the Star Wars universe, the latest casting news should be particularly exciting to diehard Star Wars fans. According to Entertainment Weekly, Forest Whitaker's character in Rogue One has been released, and, though this will be the first time Whitaker's character will be featured in the film franchise, fans who keep up with the Star Wars universe that extends outside of the films should be very familiar with him. Whitaker will play Saw Gerrera in Rogue One, a character whom fans have already seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. So who is Saw Gerrera, and how will he fit into the story of Rogue One? Here's what we know.

The Wrap describes Saw as a "grizzled fighter" and "guerilla soldier," who hails from the planet Onderon. (Spoilers for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, ahead!) According to the official Star Wars website,

"Saw Gerrera was a loyal follower of King Ramsis Dendup, the benevolent monarch of Onderon who attempted to keep his world apart from the tensions of the Clone Wars... But Dendup was ousted by King Sanjay Rash, who committed the world to the Separatist cause. Saw was one of the fervent young loyalists who refused to acknowledge Rash's rule, and openly rebelled against the crown."

Saw became one of the leaders of the Onderon rebels, and helped lead the resistance movement to victory over the Confederacy of Independent Systems on Onderon. According to Entertainment Weekly, he even fought alongside Anakin Skywalker, aka the man who would become Darth Vader. Sadly, Saw's rebel story doesn't end happily in The Clone Wars.

Saw's sister and fellow freedom fighter, Steela Gerrera, was killed in the final battle, due to an accident that Saw was involved in. He shot down a gunship in the middle of the epic battle, inadvertently causing it to crash near Steela. The crash caused Steela to fall off a cliff to her death. Though the rebels ultimately won that battle, Saw's side lost the war, as Anakin became Darth Vader and had the Empire take over the entire galaxy.

The Saw that we will see in Rogue One is decades older than the young man we saw in The Clone Wars, and, as Lucasfilms states to Entertainment Weekly, Whitaker's character won't be an easy ally for the rebels of Rogue One to deal with. According to Lucasfilms' Kathleen Kennedy, we can expect Saw to be "butting heads with the other characters because of his willingness to do far more questionable things than the rebel forces are willing to do to fight the Empire." Kennedy describes the fighter as a "battered veteran" on the "fringe" of the Rebel Alliance.

Saw's appearance in Rogue One may set up a crossover between Clone Wars and Rogue One, but, given the decades between the Saw we saw in the animated series and the one we'll see in the upcoming movie, this character may be very different than the one we knew.