Hello Jedi Masters, Sith Lords, Bounty Hunters, Smugglers and of course how could I forget, Nerf Herders, it is that time again where I attempt to pluck random Star Wars ideas and thoughts out of my head and try and collate them into something legible. With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story about to depart from our screens (boo!!!), I thought that some more in-depth articles about the history of some of the beloved characters would be a great way to kill some time before the film is released on Blu-Ray and DVD, which is rumored to be around the end of April (yay!!!). So this time in our history of Rogue One characters, we are going to be taking a look at someone who successfully navigated the treacherous asteroid field and made the transition from animated TV show to the big screen and then back to our TV screens. I am of course talking about the extremist Saw Gerrera.
Saw Gerrera was born on the Inner Rim Jungle world of Onderon, where he grew up with his sister, Steela behind the walls of the Capital City of Iziz during the last years of the Galactic Republic. A Planet ruled by a Monarchy, when the Confederacy of Independent Systems broke away from the Galactic Republic. King Ramsis Dendup, much like Queen Amidala of Naboo, did not want to draw his people into conflict. He didn’t pledge allegiance to either the Galactic Republic or the Separatists and wished to remain neutral. This peace, however, did not last long, and less than a year after the first conflict in the Clone Wars, the first battle of Geonosis, the Separatists invaded Onderon and dethroned and imprisoned the highly popular King Dendup. In his place, Sanjay Rash was crowned. King Rash did not have Onderon’s best interests at heart though and he was actually installed as King by Count Dooku to act as his pawn and make sure Confederate rule went unopposed on Onderon.
Saw Gerrera and his sister Steela were not willing to just lay down and accept the Separatist rule of their beloved Planet, and they were both banished from Iziz due to their outspoken criticism and defiance of King Rash. Saw displayed his legendary courage in these early years and King Rash actually enacted a Royal Proclamation that anyone who dared tried to usurp him from the throne, would be branded a terrorist and killed. After their banishment from the Capital, Saw and Steela began to gather resources, and recruit other Onderonians who shared their beliefs. The hope was they would be able to create a force strong enough to remove Dooku’s puppet from the Throne and to destroy the occupying droid army.
Two years had passed and Saw Gerrera was now the leader of the rebel cell on Onderon and again displayed the ferocious leadership he would become famous for, with everyone who pledged themselves to the cause of a free Onderon willing to die for their esteemed commander. Saw had acquired a reasonable amount of weapons and personal, including the son of the late senator to the Galactic Republic, Mina Boteri’s son Lux. With Lux Boteri now onboard, Saw decided it was time to start taking back Iziz and the Onderon Rebels engaged in a handful of small skirmishes with the Droid Army of the Separatists. Saw began to realize just how ill-equipped they were, and wondered if they could make their dream of a free Onderon a reality. It was then decided by Saw and Lux that they would seek assistance from the Galactic Republic. Saw and Lux pleaded their case to the Jedi Council, with Jedi Master Yoda reassuring the young Onderon Rebel leader that they would help them in some way. The Jedi Council dispatched Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano and Anakin’s trusted Clone Trooper Captain Rex. Upon arrival, Saw was informed by Master Skywalker that the four of them could not actually fight with the Onderon Rebels, but instead, they would help train Saw’s men, to give them the best chance of freeing their planet from the clutches of the Confederacy.
The three Jedi and Captain Rex trained Saw, Steela, Lux and all the fighters in various techniques to able them to defeat the Droid Army. Training included how to destroy an Armored Tank, blaster rifle training, and how to deal with the Separatist’s most feared infantry unit, the Droideka aka Destroyer Droids. Much to Saw’s surprise, Lux, the son of a politician actually excelled in the training provided by the Jedi. The Jedi were also highly impressed with Saw’s sister Steela, who had demonstrated that she was a highly capable sniper. All of this training was soon put to the test as a battalion of Battle Droids, accompanied by an Armored Tank had discovered the Rebel’s hideout and attacked. Using the techniques instilled in them from the Jedi’s training, the Rebels managed to defeat the Droid forces and scored their first major victory against their oppressive occupiers.
The Onderon Rebels relocated their next base of operations deep within enemy territory and established a safe house within Iziz. From there they would undertake guerrilla warfare tactics in their fight to free Iziz from the Separatists. More and more Onderonians were joining Saw’s force, and with the increase of men at his command, Saw increased the number of attacks they would engage in. On some days there would be many as five attacks on Droids on patrols. Saw, even at this point was viewed as a bit extreme with his methods, and he would often open fire in crowded public areas at Separatist lackeys. Anakin Skywalker was extremely impressed with Saw and his rebel force and offered his congratulations at their effort but, like many times before and after, Obi-Wan did not agree with his Padawan and criticized Saw’s methods. Obi-Wan proclaimed to Saw that a large part of the population was living in fear of Saw’s rebels due to the consistency of their public attacks. Anakin, Obi-Wan and Rex were all recalled to the war effort elsewhere, but the Republic still left Ahsoka Tano with Saw and continued to fund them with credits.
After a number of important victories, including the destruction of Iziz’s main power generator, King Rash knew he needed help. Droid General Kalani and a legion of reinforcements touched down on Onderon. Saw did strike a vital blow to the reinforcements as he, and Steela managed to destroy a Troop Transport ship. When Saw returned to his safe house deep within the city, he was informed by one his men that the true king of Onderon, King Dendup, was scheduled to be executed in the center of Iziz. Saw set out to save his beloved King, however during the rescue attempt Saw was captured by General Kalani. Saw was then tortured, relentlessly by Kalani, with Saw refusing to give the Droid General any information about his rebel force. Angered by Saw’s determination, the torture was increased in severity until it nearly killed him. This act would ultimately lead saw to become the unforgiven, hardened extremist he would become famous for. Saw and King Dendup were eventually rescued by the Rebels and the final battle for Onderon ensued, with Saw and his Rebels coming out victorious after a hard-fought battle where it looked like the Separatists would claim victory thanks to their gunships. However, thanks to some rocket launchers delivered by everyone’s favorite Pirate, Hondo Ohnaka, courtesy of Anakin Skywalker, the Rebels managed to destroy the gunships, and with Count Dooku unwilling to provide any more support, ordered Kalani to leave Onderon with the remaining forces. Kalani, of course, did as he was ordered and also executed King Rash and left for Agamar. Finally, Onderon was free from Confederacy control, but it came at a personal cost to Saw, as not only will he be forever changed thanks to the torture he endured at the hands of Kalani, but his sister Steela lost her life during the battle. Saw will always feel responsible for Steela’s death and his now guilt ridden, warped mind is the reason the Rebel Alliance would distance themselves from the hero of Onderon and think of him as an extremist.