Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a film that occupies an interesting position in the Star Wars universe. Acting as a bridge to the prequel films and TV series that have come before it, and the films that make up the latter half of the story, there are going to be a lot of pieces already in play that will be more fleshed out in this new film. Two such pieces are the characters of Imperial officer Grand Moff Tarkin and rebellious freedom fighter Saw Gererra.
But just why are these two so important to the Star Wars universe, and why is Rogue One their big moment in the sun? Well, we can't answer that second part just yet, but we can delve into their pasts and find out what makes them the characters to help tie together the story threads of the past and the future. If you want to learn more about Grand Moff Tarkin, you'll want to read the companion piece we ran about his life; but for our current purposes, we'll be talking about Saw Gererra.
Be warned, there are spoilers for Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel. If you're worried about that sort of thing, bookmark this story and make the jump to the next system.
We were first introduced to Saw Gererra during Season 5 of the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. An Onderion freedom fighter, Saw and his sister Steela fought against the Separatists at war with The Republic during The Clone Wars era of Star Wars history. Even General Anakin Skywalker couldn't intimidate him, as he was a proud and bold man with a rebellious spirit. Of course, the death of his sister Steela, which was accidentally caused by actions of his own in the heat of battle, cut deeply into his soul.
Eventually, Gererra would find himself on the other side of The Republic, as it eventually became the Galactic Empire, the seat of all power in the universe, at the hands of Emperor Sheeve Palpatine and his lieutenants: Orson Krennic, Wilhuff Tarkin and Skywalker, who by this time had become Darth Vader. Saw Gerrera's rebellious nature lead him to assist Has Obitt, a smuggler previously in the employ of Lieutenant Commander Orson Krennic, in the ultimate act of sabotage.
By this point in history, detailed in Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, the Empire had engaged in a habit of using smugglers like Obitt to plant abandoned weapons caches from the Clone Wars on resource rich worlds throughout the galaxy. The Empire would then "discover" these weapons, and seize the world in order to strip mine it for its resources. After an incident involving a disastrous kyber crystal experiment on Malpaz, as well as his own observation of the Empire's effect on two worlds he had directly lead to the fall of, Has Obitt was ready to stand up to the Empire, and Saw Gererra was in for the long haul!
What was supposed to be a job of good faith in the Salient system turned into a massive standoff between Has Obitt, Saw Gererra and a lot of other smuggler compatriots who refused to allow the Empire to occupy the system for business as usual. Leading the local inhabitants to destroy all infrastructure that could be of use to the Empire, Obitt & Gererra made life a living hell for Grand Moff Tarkin in his operations at Salient. Obitt would be disabled and captured by Tarkin, only to be released in order to entrap Tarkin's nemesis, Lieutenant Commander Orson Krennic. But Saw Gererra would go on to serve a more important purpose.
Sent to Coruscant to evacuate Galen, Lyra and Jyn Erso, Saw Gererra worked under the radar while Has Obitt's arrival was planned as a ruse to distract and discredit Krennic in the Empire's eyes. Gererra succeeded, by producing the Erso family and taking them away in the name of hiding them out on a distant planet, Lah'mu. Which brings us to the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which sees Saw Gererra still rebelling against the Galactic Empire, as he is leading Rebellion operations on Jedha -- the planet steeped in the Force. We know that he'll meet with Jyn once more, and the young girl he helped save so many years ago will need more knowledge from the man whose been fighting the forces of galactic tyranny since before she was born.
Where or how Saw Gerrera's story moves on from here has yet to be seen, as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will determine just where things go. At this point, his does look pretty banged up, and knowing Star Wars, there's a good chance his death will be an inspiration to his fellow Rebels to keep fighting the good fight. But if we're to go by what he's already experienced, we'd have to say that Gererra is one of the most badass freedom fighters in the Star Wars galaxy, with a story as legendary as his deeds.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters with early shows tonight, so we won't have to wait too long to see the next chapter in Saw Gererra's story.