Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the upcoming spin-off movie to take place within the Star Wars universe, has now become unique in two different ways. The first is the more obvious of the two: this is the first film in the series to not have such a prominent or even main focus on the Skywalker family. Instead, audiences will be introduced to an all new roster of characters similar to that of Rey, Finn and Poe, with a story that will take place as a precursor to the events of A New Hope. And while names like Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso were completely new to fans, one character in particular stood out, due to us having already met him in another medium.
Saw Gerrera, who will be played by Forest Whitaker, originally made his debut during one of the storylines of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 5. A radical fighter of the planet Onderon, he and many others, alongside them his sister Steela, fought to defend their planet and its king from the hands of the Separatists. While the Jedi council refused to directly help the rebels in full force, they sent in Anakin Skywalker and his padawan Ashoka Tanno to aid Gerrera’s cause. Gererra worked alongside the two Jedi to help take back his planet, although it came at the cost of his sister’s life, who sacrificed herself towards the end of mission to rescue him from capture. After this battle, Gerrera’s whereabouts remained unknown, although his name and actions were referenced in other mediums, amongst them the recent Star Wars: Rebels TV series. It is presumed that he is an enemy of Darth Vader and the Galactic Empire and will help the Rogue One rebels in their cause, somewhat ironic considering his role in the show.
Gerrera’s introduction into this movie surprised me and a ton of other Star Wars fans, as none of us ever expected the film and television mediums to crossover like this. There had been early hints and nods in Rebels towards Episode VII, most notably a lightsaber design similar to Kylo Ren’s, but those were assumed to be plain old fanfare in the wake of the latest movie. However, seeing a character from the CGI animated series, praised by critics and fans more than the actual prequels, take a step into the live action world was both shocking to behold as well as extremely exciting. It’s an acknowledgement of the animated series’ existence within the Star Wars continuity narrative and could allow for an introduction of elements/storylines from one medium into another, opening up so many possibilities for future installments. As for whether or not the director and writers of Rogue One choose to incorporate elements of the show into the movie, that remains to be seen.