Earlier this year, fans finally learned who exactly Forest Whitaker was playing in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The revelation told fans that the actor was playing Saw Gerrera, a character who debuted in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Fans were obviously excited to hear about Saw’s appearance since the character has a long, complex history with the Rebellion. And, now, Whitaker has revealed how his character changed over time in comparison to Anakin Skywalker, AKA: Darth Vader.
The actor answered questions about Gerrara during a Rogue One press junket in South Korea where he told Buzzbean his character met Anakin “in the earlier days” before he turned to the Dark Side.
“[Saw] was training with [Ahsoka] Tano and the Jedi,” Whitaker said. “So, that’s when it all happened. Then, as time went along, [Anakin] started to shift.”
The actor continued to explain that Gerrera also began to change. “[Saw] started to shift too - to be more extreme. [Anakin] started to shift towards the darkness.”
When fans meet Gerrera in Rogue One, audiences will find the character to be a “battered veteran who leads a band of Rebel extremists” according to Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm president. “He’s on the fringe of the Rebel Alliance. Even [they] are a little concerned about him,” she says.
Gerrera is one such character who’s life and career have been defined by the Rebellion’s clash with the Galactic Empire. In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, he trains diligently alongside Clone Captain Rex, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and others to hone his skills. However, the galaxy’s turbulent nature prompts Gerrera to change over time and turns him into a jaded rebel who acts brashly.
Story Group's Pablo Hidalgo talked about Gerrera’s character after the character’s theatrical appearance was confirmed, calling him an “extreme Rebel.”
"He's sort of an extreme Rebel. He's definitely against the Empire, but he does things that morally push against the kind of things that Bail Organa and Mon Mothma stand for," Hidalgo said.
When the creators behind Rogue One realized they "needed a Rebel extremist type character," Story Group pitched Saw as a possibility. "They took that character, ran with it, and as they were developing the script, there was only one person they wanted to play this character, and that was Forest Whitaker, and we're very fortunate to have him in this movie."
Hidalgo also educated fans about the origins of Gerrera and the character’s connection to George Lucas. "A lot of people know him from The Clone Wars, but he actually started off before that. George Lucas had him in mind for his live action [Star Wars] TV series that he had in development," Story he said. "That never happened, but he found a place to put Saw into a story in Clone Wars."
Star Wars: Rogue One hits theaters December 16, 2016.