Andor and The Bad Batch brought back Saw Gerrera, played in live-action by Forest Whitaker. Here’s why Saw Gerrera keeps appearing in Star Wars.
Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Andor.Saw Gerrera returns in Andor, but just why does Star Wars keep bringing Forest Whitaker’s character back? Saw Gerrera made his debut in Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 5, episode 2, “A War on Two Fronts” as part of a group of insurgents. While he formed part of a multi-episode arc, there was little to suggest he’d go on to become a key recurring Star Wars character across multiple mediums, and Saw Gerrera’s canon history now spans decades. Following on from The Clone Wars, Saw was adapted to the big screen for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in 2016, where he was played by Forest Whitaker. Gerrera was killed on Jedha in Rogue One, but not even death could stop him from coming back for more.
Despite his Rogue One death, Saw’s journey has continued thanks to appearances in the likes of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Star Wars Rebels, and Star Wars: The Bad Batch. Most recently, he appears in multiple episodes of Andor, with Whitaker reprising the role as a leader in the growing Rebellion. While Gerrera once seemed like a relatively inconsequential character in the grand scheme of things, the fact he keeps returning shows just how important he is — both within a galaxy far, far away, and to audiences. In both cases, he is a very tangible face of the rebellion (in whatever form it may take), allowing for a degree of continuity across storylines, timelines, and mediums.
Saw Gerrera Shows Why The Rebel Alliance Exists
The fact Forest Whitaker and the animated Saw Gerrera have returned since Rogue One is no accident. Disney is using him as one of many vehicles to intertwine key elements of Star Wars lore across multiple movies and shows. In Saw’s case, it’s the Rebel Alliance and the period between the Clone Wars and the Battle of Yavin. Saw Gerrera is an easy way not only to create more of a connection between the various Star Wars films and Disney+ series, but also to have a movie-tier Star Wars character appear in the animated video games and shows.
On a story level, it also makes sense. While the galaxy is large, having Saw return helps to show just how much the odds were stacked against what would become the Rebel Alliance. Saw Gerrera’s age in his various appearances helps establish when in the Star Wars timeline various shows, games, and movies are set. Through this, Saw also gives viewers a clearer understanding of just how vast an undertaking establishing the Rebel Alliance was. This was not some huge uprising or groundswell of support, but a small band of fighters who paved the way for what Luke Skywalker et al. would ultimately finish, and so Saw constantly returning adds to that sense of achievement.
Each of Saw’s returns, crucially, serves both the narrative and the story. He is always fighting for what he believes in, even if he’ll take that to extremes, and he’s used for highlighting that trait in other characters, be it Jyn Erso in Rogue One or Clone Force 99 in Star Wars: The Bad Batch. He hammers home, for other characters and for viewers, the importance of the fight. By having him return, rather than a different character fill that role each time, it adds emotional weight to what the Rebel Alliance represents. Plus, it fleshes out a character who otherwise could’ve been a background figure — the repeat appearances mean Saw Gerrera has quite a remarkable arc that doesn’t waste an Academy Award-winning actor like Forest Whitaker.
How Andor Expands Saw Gerrera’s Story
Saw Gerrera appears in episodes 8 and 11 of Andor, which both fleshes out the political picture of Star Wars‘ Rebellion and Saw’s own character arc. Saw meets with Luthen Rael to purchase stolen Imperial technology, and later attempts to join Kreegyr’s doomed raid on the Spellhaus power station. These appearances show that Saw Gerrera and his Partisans are larger than previously thought. Saw Gerrera in Andor has become more paranoid than he was in The Clone Wars, though he’s not quite the borderline sociopath seen in Rogue One. Even when attempting to help other Rebel groups 5 years before the events of Rogue One in Andor, Saw insists that his forces operate autonomously, clearly not trusting anyone outside his group.
Saw Gerrera is a useful character for Star Wars, as he allows Disney to examine the uglier side of rebellion in more mature works such as Andor. He also provides an interesting contrast to Luthen, who doesn’t use torture or some of the other tactics that Saw does. Luthen is how perhaps even more ruthless than Saw in his willingness to sacrifice his fellow Rebels for the greater good — something that likely contributed to Saw’s growing paranoia. Saw keeps appearing as a way to provide contrast to other, more heroic parts of the Rebellion, providing tough moral questions about just how far figures like former protegee Jyn Erso or Cassian Andor are willing to go. Because of this thematic value, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him appear again in Andor season 2 or future Star Wars projects.
NEXT:Saw Gerrera In Andor Equals An Impressive Star Wars Record