Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order contains an interesting link to the franchise’s larger world

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Footage of Respawn Entertainment’s upcoming game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order just hit the web, and it shows off a really interesting connection to the rest of the franchise: Saw Gerrera, the leader of a rebel faction in the years before the formation of the Rebel Alliance.

The 14-minute clip follows the game’s character, Cal Kestis, a Force user who escaped the Jedi Purge at the end of the Clone Wars, and who is now on the run from the Empire. Saw appears towards the beginning on the Wookiee homeworld Kashyyyk, where he’s working to disrupt the Empire’s plans. It’s a brief appearance, but it highlights how central the character has become in the larger Star Wars universe — a figure that is proving to be hugely important to the era prior to A New Hope.

According to Game Informer, Rogue One actor Forest Whitaker is reprising his role by voicing the character, something he also did when the character appeared in Star Wars Rebels a couple of years ago.

Gerrera first appeared in The Clone Wars (voiced by Andrew Kishino), and while he didn’t appear in the film, he makes an appearance in the novelization for Solo: A Star Wars Story, meeting Enfys Nest, another resistance-minded figure. He’s also showed up in a scattering of other books over the years, and has become a major figure in the resistance against the Empire prior to A New Hope, leading a group of rebels called The Partisans. Saw’s history goes far back into the history of the production of the franchise — while he first appeared in The Clone Wars, he had originally been intended as the central figure in George Lucas’s live-action TV series, which was never produced.

The Star Wars franchise is famously interconnected — using films, books, comics, games, and toys to convey parts of a much larger, sprawling story — and its creators have historically raided the parts bin to repurpose design concepts, costumes, and even entire characters for other uses. Saw is a perfect example of that, and the fact that he’s popped up in so many places shows off just how important of a character he’s becoming.

His appearance in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order makes sense, chronologically, filling in another data point for his own personal biography between The Clone Wars and his death in Rogue One. Brought to the big screen in Rogue One, he demonstrated how the fight against the Empire went beyond stark moral positions: good verses evil; light side verses dark side. He isn’t above using torture or killing civilians if it meant a victory against the Empire. Seeing him here reinforces that the larger story of Star Wars is big and complicated, and that it doesn’t necessarily have to ride on the shoulders of someone named “Skywalker.”

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