Years Before Rogue One, Saw Gerrera's Rebel Extremism Still Runs Deep In Andor

Among the many things "Andor" does differently than other "Star Wars" shows or movies, it truly does show how evil the Empire is. Sure, we've heard all about the evils of the Empire, but never before had we seen the true and horrific effect the Empire had on the galaxy, from its cold and mundane bureaucracy, to its treatment of other cultures, to its torturous prison system. It is an effective way to sell the audience on how regular people like Andor would get radicalized to the point where they'd join the Rebellion and risk their lives to fight the Empire.

Still, we are far removed from the Rebel Alliance we know from the original trilogy. Here, the resistance is disorganized, scattered, with neither vision nor fellowship — except, of course, for Saw Gerrera. Fans of "Rogue One" will recognize Saw as the leader of an extremist rebel cell that Jyn Erso meets on the planet Jedah right before he takes a Death Star laser beam to the face and is blown to smithereens. Where every other rebel in that movie is overly cautious and thinking longterm, Saw Gerrera was ready to shoot his way into terrorizing the Empire and proving they are not always in control, an anarchist more than an idealist liberator.

The latest episode of "Andor," titled "Narkina 5" finds Cassian in an Imperial prison straight out of hell, while Luthen is getting tired of working from the shadows and is eager to take the fight to the Empire more openly. To accomplish this, he turns to Saw Guerrera himself, who is still up to his anarchist ways.

The first rebel

It turns out Luthen has been selling stolen Imperial parts and weapons to Saw and his crew, but now he wants the rebel to collaborate with one of Luthen's allies and start forming a bigger alliance with a better shot at defeating the Empire. Meanwhile, Gerrera is at this time living in caves, hidden, and surrounded only by a few trusted allies like Edrio Two-Tubes. Unsurprisingly, Saw turns the offer down, to which Luthen replies by accusing Saw of not having a real goal and wasting his effort, calling him an anarchist without any sort of real chance at defeating the Empire.

Not only is Forest Whittaker fantastic as Saw — and it is a joy to see him return to the role, but at a time before he got run down and weighed down by a huge armor — but he brings something special to "Andor." Just as we're seeing the start of the Rebel Alliance take form in the show, we're seeing the different ways people are fighting against the Empire, from the Senate floor using the power of legislature, to contraband, to creating chaos. Still, as Luthen's dream of an open rebellion start to take form, we can't help but wonder what Saw Gerrera's role is going to be, if he continues to show up in the show.

That's because Saw Gerrera has always been a bit of a controversial figure in the "Star Wars" universe. When we first meet him in "The Clone Wars," he is part of a resistance cell on the planet Onderon fighting against the Separatist Alliance, being trained by Anakin and his clone troopers the way real-life rebel fighters were trained and then abandoned by U.S. military to fight their enemies abroad. Soon enough, however, Saw started using methods the others deemed unusual and a bit extreme.

Save the rebellion, save the dream

No matter his tactics or optics, there's no denying Saw's contributions to the resistance effort. Sure, he clashed with Bail Organa and Mon Mothma, but "Star Wars: Rebels" showed how crucial Saw and his team were in early attempts at discovering the Empire's plans for a superweapon. As Luthen's dream starts to take form, it is likely that Saw will clash heads with the other rebels, but we know he gets results, and ultimately, his sacrifice leads to the operation on Scarif that brings the Rebel Alliance their first major victory against the Empire.

"Andor" is streaming on Disney+.