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The Untold Truth Of Saw Gerrera From Star Wars

Played by the esteemed Forest Whitaker, Saw Gerrera is probably the most famous a Star Wars character can get without receiving their own self-titled spin-off comic book, novel, television show, or movie. Freedom fighter, rebel, terrorist — Saw's been called them all, and each title has been true at one point or another. A truly complex and conflicted character, Saw has been brought back again and again despite the fact that he died in his first wide-spread appearance in 2016's "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." 

Five years after his death and almost two years after his last appearance in "Star Wars: Jedi — Fallen Order," Saw Gerrera returned to the limelight thanks to Disney+'s "Star Wars: The Bad Batch." An animated series from the makers of "The Clone Wars," the show is set during Saw's best era in between "Revenge of the Sith" and "A New Hope," making this the perfect time to explore the untold truth of Saw Gerrera. 

He is Star Wars' premiere crossover character

"The Bad Batch" is far from the first time that Saw Gerrera has made the jump from one series to another. Though many Star Wars fans may only know him from his role in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," Saw had actually already appeared nearly four years earlier across four episodes of the fifth season of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." He was the first character to make the jump from animation to live action, and fans next met him in the third and fourth season of "Star Wars: Rebels" before encountering him again during the campaign of the 2019 video game "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order." 

Saw's appearance in "The Bad Batch" marks his the third animated television series and his fifth significant appearance in a major Star Wars project overall. Add to this his presence throughout any number of novels and his vast collection of references throughout Star Wars media, and it quickly becomes clear that Saw Gerrera has transformed into one of the franchise's premiere crossover characters.

Saw has been a freedom fighter for most of his life

By the time the average moviegoer met Saw Gerrera in "Rogue One," he was a grizzled veteran who had fought countless battles across two of the biggest wars that the Star Wars galaxy has ever seen. He fought in the Clone Wars alongside the Jedi and the Republic, and when the Republic became the Empire, he kept on fighting them, vowing never to stop until everybody was free or he was dead. 

By the time the latter happened in "Rogue One," his body displayed marks of the countless battles he had participated in. His right leg was gone, replaced by a poorly-constructed cybernetic that forced him to rely on a cane. His lungs were so badly damaged that he was forced to wear a pressurized suit of armor that reinforced his lungs and helped him breathe through the frequent use of a detachable oxygen respirator. 

He was born on one of the Old Republics' most important planets

Saw Gerrera was born on the planet of Onderon in the final years of the High Republic before the Clone Wars began. Though a relatively minor planet in the context of the new canon, Onderon was actually one of the most important planets during the Old Republic era in the pre-Disney Legends continuity. Primarily told within "Tales of the Jedi" and "Knights of the Old Republic," Onderon was the setting of many of this era's bloodiest conflicts, and fighting over its skies would ultimately lead to the end of an entire generation of Jedi Knights.

Over 4,000 years before the Battle of Yavin, a Sith named Freedon Nadd conquered Onderon and declared himself king. His descendants ruled as Sith for hundreds of years before the Jedi finally deposed them, but in doing so, Jedi Ulic Qel-Droma fell to the dark side. Qel-Droma and joined Exar Kun to begin the Great Sith War with the Republic, which eventually led to the Mandalorian Wars against the Republic. Led by Jedi Revan and Malak, the first battle was fought on Onderon's moon, Dxun. After the war's end, Revan and Malak declared themselves Sith and began the Jedi Civil War, and the cycle of war continued. After almost fifty years of near-constant conflict, the Jedi were nearly extinct, and one of their final members fled to Onderon to hide before he was eventually killed during the First Jedi Purge. 

Saw was trained by Anakin Skywalker

In Disney's new canon, Onderon doesn't currently hold the same storied status that it used to, but it still gave birth to a man who would one day become vital to freedom of the entire galaxy. Viewers of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" first meet Saw Gerrera and learn about his home planet in "A War on Two Fronts," the second episode of the show's fifth season.

Before the Clone Wars began, King Ramsis Dendup ruled the planet from its capital city of Iziz. Even though he kept the planet neutral once the war began, Count Dooku's Separatist forces invaded and conquered the planet anyway, dethroning Dendup and replacing him with a puppet leader named Snajay Rash.

Many were outraged at this invasion, and they began to form resistance groups across the planet. Eventually, a leader emerged who united the scattered rebels, and his name was Saw Gerrera. With his sister Steela, Saw fought against the droid army, and when he realized that he and his rebels were too poorly trained and outmatched, he reached out to the Jedi High Council for aid. They listened to his plea and sent Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, and Clone Captain Rex to train the resistance fighters to free the planet themselves. 

He blames himself for his sister's death

Saw Gerrera and his band of rebels fought long and hard against the Separatist forces controlling their world, and it was during this time that Saw was first declared a "terrorist." Depicted in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" Season 5, Episodes 2 through 5, the Onderonian Rebellion against the Separatist occupation is eventually won at great cost to Saw. 

Newly trained by the Jedi advisors, Saw's rebels begin a campaign against the droid army, with the ultimate goal of freeing their king and taking back the capital city of Iziz. During these fights, Saw is captured and tortured but manages to convince his interrogator, the leader of the Onderonian military, to defect to their cause. Together, they free their king and begin a united attack against the Separatists.  

The united people of Onderon eventually repel the droid army, and Count Dooku decides that the planet isn't worth an open conflict, opting to remove his forces and besiege the planet instead. Before the forces fully withdraw, however, a final battle occurs, and Steela is killed when a droid gunship that Saw shot down crashes near her position, sending her over a cliff to her death. 

Saw blamed himself for his sister's death and never forgave himself. His failure became fuel for his crusades against tyranny, and according to the third issue of Marvel's official comic book adaptation of "Rogue One," her name was the last word he uttered before his death. 

Saw may have been the first person to rebel against the Empire

As viewers learn in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" Season 7, Episode 9 ("Old Friends Not Forgotten"), Onderon was still under siege by the droid fleet when the war ended. As a result, when Palpatine dissolved the Separatists and transformed the Republic into the first Galactic Empire, Saw Gerrera simply traded one enemy for another. He began a campaign against the Empire, one that he would wage for the rest of his life. According to descriptions in "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, " the transition between the two wars was so sudden for Saw that he didn't really pick up his rifle to fight again but rather simply switched targets. 

Saw's transition from the Clone Wars straight into the Galactic Civil War makes him one of the first people to rebel against Palpatine's Empire and could possibly make him the first Rebel ever. He certainly created one of the first organized rebellions of the age, and his Partisans, as they were known, would fight alongside Saw all the way until "Rogue One" when they were finally defeated together. 

He helped a Jedi save Wookies from the Empire

Approximately five years after the birth of the Empire, Saw and his Partisans' rebellion was in full swing. They eventually made their way to Chewbacca's Wookie home world of Kashyyyk, and as players of EA's 2019 video game know, Saw was aided in his fight on the planet by none other than Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis, the playable character of "Star Wars: Jedi — Fallen Order." 

When Cal arrives on the planet, the Partisans are in the middle of an assault on an Imperial refinery that is slowly poisoning the entire planet. Saw's rebels are badly outnumbered and outgunned until Cal hijacks a massive Imperial walker and uses it to even the odds. Afterwards, Cal meets Gerrera and helps the veteran soldier take over the refinery by freeing the Wookie slaves who run it and using their combined manpower to drive the Stormtroopers out. 

After they succeed, Saw helps Cal continue his mission by setting up a meeting with the Wookie Chieftain named Tarfful. However, when Cal returns to the planet later to actually meet the Wookie, Cal discovers that Saw and most of his Partisans were driven off-world by the Empire, though some Partisans remained with the Wookies to help. 

He nearly wiped out the Geonosian species

Viewers would next meet Saw in the third season of "Star Wars: Rebels." In the two-part story, "Ghosts of Geonosis," the show's main characters, the crew of the rebel ship known as the Ghost, travel to Geonosis to find a rebel squad that has gone missing. The previous squad was investigating the fate of the missing Geonosian people, and when the Ghost arrives, they discover a ghost planet. When they begin exploring the Geonosian catacombs, they finally find the sole survivor of the initial scouting party: Saw Gerrera. 

His squad had been killed by refurbished Separatist battle droids, and together, he and the Ghost crew discovered that the last member of the Geonosian species was using the droids to protect the last existing Geonosian queen egg. This egg was the final hope of the survival of the planet's species, and Saw threatens it multiple times in an attempt to get the Geonosian to reveal what the Empire had been building on the planet. Finally, though, the Ghost's crew talks Saw down, and he agrees to not commit genocide and let the survivors live instead. 

Saw was too extreme for the Rebel Alliance

Though he viewed himself as a freedom fighter, Saw's determination to fight tooth-and-nail and to win no matter the cost often made him act more like a criminal and a terrorist, as Mon Mothma pointed out during "In the Name of the Rebellion," the third and fourth episodes of "Rebels" fourth and final season. "Rogue One" even reveals that Saw's brutal methods eventually forced the Rebellion to evict him and his Partisans from the Rebel Alliance that they helped create. 

Though Saw felt his actions were justified, the Rebel leaders had good reason to oust Gerrera from their ranks. In addition to nearly committing genocide against the Geonosian species, Saw was quick to torture prisoners and destroy military targets even if he knew that doing so would result in countless civilian casualties. 

Viewers of "Rogue One" even watched Saw use an alien mind probe on a potential ally to make sure he wasn't a spy, and he did this knowing that using this probe could permanently damage the man's mind. The Empire attempted to portray every rebel as a terrorist but, when they applied the label to Saw, this time they were actually right. 

He was the first rebel to discover the Death Star

During his ill-fated mission to Geonosis in "Ghosts of Geonosis" in Season 3 of "Star Wars: Rebels," Saw discovered that the Empire had been building something using the planet's massive array of factories. He also discovered that the Empire wanted to keep the project a secret so badly that they wiped out every person on the planet in order to keep it hidden. Saw was determined to find out what this project was, and he was never able to let it go.

During "In the Name of the Rebellion," Episodes 3 and 4 of the fourth season of "Rebels," Saw used Jedi-in-training Ezra Bridger and Mandalorian Sabine Wren to discover that the Empire was gathering massive amounts of kyber crystal from the planet Jedha. Kyber crystals are the power sources of Jedi lightsabers, and Saw discovered that the Empire wanted to use them to create a much larger weapon. 

Saw brought the Partisans to Jedha to oppose the Empire's efforts gathering crystal in what would prove to be their final campaign. They fought the Empire's stormtroopers throughout the streets of the planet's capital city, and, during the events of "Rogue One," Saw eventually intercepted a message from Galen Erso, who revealed the existence of the Death Star and its one weakness, making Saw the first rebel to discover its existence. 

Saw was among the Death Star's first victims

Unfortunately, Saw's obsession with the Empire's secret project eventually led him to become one of its first victims. During the events of "Rogue One," Grand Moff Tarkin decides that it's finally time to perform the Death Star's first real test and fires upon the capital city of Jedha. The blast annihilates the city and a large portion of the surrounding area, including the headquarters of Saw Gerrera and his Partisans. 

Though Saw successfully delivers Galen Erso's message to his daughter Jyn Erso and helps her escape both the planet and the Death Star's blast, Gerrera decides that his fight has finally come to an end and the he will run no longer. He stays behind and urges Jyn to save herself, the rebellion, and the dream of freedom they all share. As Jyn and her crew fly to safety, Saw watches as the shockwave draws ever closer and eventually consumes him. 

There might be more Saw on the Horizon

Despite his death during the events of "Rogue One," Saw's story is far from over. In addition to "The Bad Batch," there are a number of other confirmed projects in production where Gerrera could easily make an appearance. "Andor," "Obi-Wan Kenobi," and "Lando" are all reportedly set in between "Revenge of the Sith" and "A New Hope" when Saw was active in the Rebellion, and he could feasibly appear in any of those shows. 

"Andor" is especially likely, as the series appears to be some sort of prequel to "Rogue One" and will likely explore the darker days of the Rebellion before the Death Star's destruction. Saw's character epitomizes this concept, and it is probably a safe bet that he will make an appearance. Similarly, Gerrera served a fairly major role in "Jedi: Fallen Order," and there is a good chance that he will return in the game's inevitable sequel. 

Even if none of these appearances come to pass, Saw still has a number of stories left to tell. He was actively resisting the Empire for nearly two decades, and any project set during that era could feature him or the Partisans. Additionally, Lucasfilm has never revealed exactly how Saw lost his right leg or damaged his lungs. When fans saw him in "Rebels" before the events of "Rogue One," he seemed perfectly fine, and as long as this tale remains untold, Saw's story is far from over.