Warning: This post contains spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels spent much of last season drawing on a rich vein of characters and stories left unfinished from the previous animated show The Clone Wars. Now, CBR is reporting that Forest Whitaker will be reprising his role as Saw Gerrara in upcoming Season 3 episodes.
The character originated in The Clone Wars, where the character was played by Andrew Kishino. It was assumed when CBR revealed that Saw Gerrara would be appearing in Rebels that Kishino would be returning to play the character. Now we know that Whitaker, who portrayed the character in this year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will take over voicing the character.
So what kind of man can we expect to find when he turns up on Rebels?
Saw Gerrara’s first appearance on Clone Wars was in the episode “A War on Two Fronts.” Gerrara is introduced as one of the leaders of a band of rebels on the Separatist world of Onderon. Saw and his rebels reached out to the Jedi High Council for help, leading Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Rex, and Obi-Wan Kenobi to travel to Onderon to assist in the resistance efforts and train the rebels to fight. Gerrara’s arc plays out over the next few Season 5 episodes, concluding with his sister Steela Gerrara’s death in “Tipping Points.”
On the official Star Wars blog, executive producer Dave Filoni talked about how killing off Steela was one of his biggest regrets, but her death served an important narrative purpose.
“We didn’t feel like we could tell that story and let everybody get off scot-free. It just couldn’t work out that neat and there had to be a price paid for their freedom, and it ended up being Steela for various reasons,” he said.
Rebels takes place between Star Wars Episode III and IV, but before the events of Rogue One. That means Gerrara’s appearance on Rebels could possibly begin to show how Gerrara came to be the leader of the Partisans, the radical faction of the Rebel Alliance stationed on Jedha.
Rebels is also likely to highlight in greater detail how Steela Gerrara’s death affected Saw, as well as whether his feelings about Ahsoka, who was on Rebels last season and was present for Steela’s death, have changed.
Having Whitaker take over the role from Kishino represents a desire to maintain continuity across all the Star Wars media, as well as to show how much time has passed for Gerrara since The Clone Wars.
To tease Gerrara’s return to the small screen in Rebels, the official Star Wars Youtube channel posted a behind-the-scenes video that shows the producers discussing the process of bringing Gerrara into the show, as well as new clips showing Gerrara’s return to the small screen.
Executive producer Dave Filoni praises Whitaker and his performance of the character.
“Forest did a great job at capturing Saw in a way that is a bit mad, a bit crazed, a bit afraid, but also a bit sympathetic. He sees something coming, but no one will take action before it’s too late,” he says.
Lucasfilm Story Group creative executive Rayne Roberts notes the contrast in the character’s outside perception versus the man he really is.
“There’s the myth and there’s the man, and sometimes his methods are extreme. He’s just someone that doesn’t believe in playing nice all the time,” she says.
Gerrara’s extremist tactics will certainly be familiar to Rogue One viewers; his capture of Jyn Erso’s group famously includes placing a bag over blind man Chirrut’s head. His soldiers also indiscriminately wrecked the capital city of Jedha.
In both the video and accompanying Star Wars blog post, the excitement for drawing connections between the franchise’s various stories is palpable. Lucasfilm Story Group’s Matt Martin discusses both the superficial and underlying importance for fans to feel connected to the story of Star Wars across multiple forms of media.
Rayne Roberts concurs, “It just ended up making a lot of sense that Saw would be kind of our connective tissue.”
Saw Gerrara is set to appear in the Star Wars Rebels two-parter “Ghosts of Geonosis,” which will air on Saturday, January 7 at 8:30 p.m. on Disney XD.
[Featured Image by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images]