When the cartoon series Star Wars: The Clone Wars was rendered as part of real Star Wars canon by the Lucasfilm Story Group, no one really expected random characters from that series to show up in the new feature films. But today, that’s exactly what happened.
After teasing out the mysterious identity of Forest Whitaker’s role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story; it’s now been revealed by Entertainment Weekly that he is none other than Saw Gerrera.
Wait. Who? If you’re half of the Star Wars fan population, you probably have no idea who this is. When EW mentioned this character would be recognizable to the “completist” they weren’t kidding around. The character Saw Gerrera appeared in a story arc during the 5th season of The Clone Wars. Because The Clone Wars takes place some 20+ years prior to the events of A New Hope and Rogue One, Saw was a young man last time he appeared in the Star Wars universe.
In The Clone Wars episodes, Saw (voiced by Andrew Kishino) is a freedom fighter on a planet called Onderon, which at times is under control of the Separatists. During this portion of Star Wars history, the Republic is fighting the Separatists, though the Jedi and the Clone Army are really only on Onderon to help the inhabitants fight the droid army not fight the war for them. What this means for Forest Whitaker’s new cinematic Saw is that he comes with a pretty serious knowledge of events in the galaxy prior to the era of Luke, Leia and Han. Specifically, Saw Gerrera fought with Ahsoka Tano, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and of course, Anakin Skywalker.
In the only trailer for Rogue One Saw Gerrera wonders “what will you become.” This line has gained new significance since this character actually knew Anakin Skywalker personally, and understands what happens when people go too far to achieve freedom in the face of tyranny.
From a hardcore fan perspective: the revelation of a character from The Clone Wars being incorporated into the new Star Wars films kind of opens the floodgates for possibly even more fan favorites from both cartoons (including Rebels) showing up in future films. If a minor character like Saw can show up in Rogue One, what’s to stop Ahsoka Tano from appearing in a future film?