Who Is Forest Whitaker Playing in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story?

Who is Forest Whitaker playing in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story?  Up until now his character was shrouded in secrecy, but Lucasfilm decided to officially spill the beans in an Entertainment Weekly article posted today.  Whitaker’s character is none other than Saw Gerrera who first appeared in the Clone Wars series.  Continue reading for more information.

Other than Star Wars die-hards or those who are huge fans of the animated series, the proclamation that Saw Gerrera will be appearing in the film is going to be met with a question “Who?” rather than cheers.  As Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy explains to EW, he is exactly the type of character that would be embarking on this type of mission and is a perfect fit for the movie.  He’s a summary of who is is from the animated series and how he fits into Rogue One.

Along with his sister, Steela, he fought alongside Darth Vader — back when the Sith lord was just an impetuous young Jedi named Anakin Skywalker. In the episode A War on Two Fronts, which aired in October 2012, Saw and Steela were part of an insurgent group being unofficially trained by Anakin, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the padawan Ahsoka Tano.  Saw pays a steep cost for his resistance, and remains mistrustful of any authority except his own for the rest of his days. There never will be a peacetime for him.

By the time Rogue One takes place, just before the events of 1977’s original Star Wars, more than two decades have passed since the events of Revenge of the Sith. As played by The Last King of ScotlandOscar-winner, Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera is bulkier, more battle-hardened with the years, and maybe a little shellshocked. He has continued to fight; and, as he suggested in the trailer, he has become something — and it’s not quite a hero. Rather, he’s a man who has tried to do the right thing by occasionally doing questionable things.

“Consider him kind of a battered veteran who leads a band of Rebel extremists,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy tells EW. “He’s on the fringe of the Rebel Alliance. Even [they] are a little concerned about him.”

For Rogue One, they needed a character on the borderline, someone who would represent the extreme end of the fight against the Emperor. Producer John Knoll’s idea was to show how the Death Star is a threat that pulls the disparate Rebel factions into a place of unity. The Lucasfilm story group plucked Saw Gerrera from Clone Wars history as a good candidate for a radical.

“The Death Star is the event that sort of pulls everybody into a place of unity, and prior to that it’s a little bit more divided. Who are at the different ends of that spectrum?” says Kiri Hart, Lucasfilm’s head of story development.

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I like how he’s described as a fringe character that even the Rebels don’t fully trust.  It makes the Death Star feel like more of a threat, that even those who don’t see eye to eye realize that they need to unify to bring down this weapon that is a danger to them all.  I began watching Clone Wars but haven’t made it up to season 5 so I’m not familiar with the character.  Based on the description I’m eager to see Whitaker in action.

Check out official descriptions of all the characters in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story here.  Rogue One arrives int heaters December 16, 2016.

 

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