Rogue One: Forest Whitaker Plays a Character from Star Wars: Clone Wars
Whitaker's character has only been seen briefly in the trailer, as the warrior who asks Jyn, "If you continue to fight, what will you become?" As it turns out, that character is Saw Gerrera, who was first seen in season five of Clone Wars and has shown up periodically in Extended Universe works.
In Clone Wars, a younger Saw and his sister Steela fought beside Anakin Skywalker when he was a Jedi, and were trained by him, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka Tano. They were part of an insurgent group fighting a droid army of Separatists, and the events of the season led to deep trauma and mistrust of authority. In Rogue One, which takes place more than two decades later, he is more grizzled, more shell-shocked, and more controversial. He represents the radical sect of the Rebellion who do morally questionable things to get results, as is seen in Claudia Gray's Bloodline, in which a character refers to his group's "terrorist tactics."
So. Saw Gerrera. Yes, to reiterate, he was an idea developed for the proposed live action TV show, but was introduced in The Clone Wars.— Pablo Hidalgo (@pablohidalgo) June 22, 2016
George Lucas, working in his inimitable non-linear way realized him as extremist first, and then revealed his backstory in The Clone Wars.— Pablo Hidalgo (@pablohidalgo) June 22, 2016
The idea, and we talked about this in Season 5, is that Saw was a key architect of the rebellion. But he's definitely not Mothma or Organa— Pablo Hidalgo (@pablohidalgo) June 22, 2016
Think of Saw as the uncle mom and dad don't talk about. Something bad went down. He's 'disowned' to some degree.— Pablo Hidalgo (@pablohidalgo) June 22, 2016
Saw was militarized by the Republic to fight a proxy war against their worst enemy. A generation later, he becomes their worst enemy.— Pablo Hidalgo (@pablohidalgo) June 22, 2016
According to Kiri Hart, Lucasfilm's head of story development, says that Saw's involvement will show that the Death Star brought the disparate factions of the Rebellion together.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, hits theaters on December 16.