In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first act commenced with Senator Mon Mothma dispatching Jyn Erso to the planet of Jedha to mend the rift between herself and Extremist Saw Gerrera. After Saw Gerrera made his debut in Season Three of Star Wars Rebels, he resurfaced in the second trailer for Star Wars Rebels Season Four. It is clear based off of footage from the trailer that we will see the dramatic schism of the Rebel Alliance, mentioned in Rogue One, play out between cell leader and extremist Saw Gerrera, and major alliance leader Mon Mothma. In a clip of upcoming episode, “In the Name of the Rebellion,” Saw and Mothma have a very heated argument. From this, it is clearly evident that a break is going to happen.
Before we dive deep, Dave Filoni, touched that topic in Rebels recon back in Season 3 of the finale, “You will see Mon Mothma again, you will see Saw Gerrera again, You’ll get much more of an insight into seeing how that relationship breaks down and breaks apart….”
First we need to take a closer look at the history of these two different leaders. The morals and values that they each believe in are a result of the different lives that have each led up to this point.
We saw, Saw (no pun intended) fight for his home planet, Onderon, back in the Clone Wars. As was frequently hinted, Saw viewed the war as a “crusade” to liberate the planet from the Separatists one that depended solely on military action. As he mentioned in the first episode of the arc, “War on Two Fronts,” “politics have failed us. We have no choice.” For this reason, he loved do heavy damage against the Separatists. However, he already showed signs of being a different leader. Unlike his sister Steela, who stressed the objective of winning the ‘hearts and minds’ of the Onderon people, Saw had no qualms about the collateral damage that took place despite. (S05E05). Things drastically changed in the final battle of the war when a Separatist gunship killed his sister. He blamed himself for her death and deeply regretted what had happened. In this way, Saw became aware of the bitter cost of war.
Many of these continuities that took place in the Onderon arc returned in Star Wars Rebels. After the Republic became the Empire, Onderon endured another military occupation. With all of his hard work undone, it is understandable that Saw became bitter. He blamed the Jedi for losing the war (as he hinted in Ghosts of Geonosis part II) and thus once again believed that Onderon was on its own in its fight against the Empire. This most likely built his extremist mind. He created his own rebel cell and committed himself to the fight against the Empire. “I’m fighting for you and everyone not to lose what they’ve got” Then after the empire took over he was one of the first leaders to create a rebel cell.
Mon Mothma, the Senator of Chandrilla, is different from Saw in that she views war from an opposing lens. In the final years of the Galactic Republic, she engaged in a political endeavor to preserve the democratic institutions of the Republic from within the Senate, on Coruscant. However, she was fighting against an unstoppable force: the Emperor and his gradual takeover of the Senate, which gradually became less democratic and instead more upholden to the Chancellor’s dictatorial policies. In some deleted scenes back in Revenge of the Sith, we see her working alongside Bail Organa, Padme Amidala and some other senators in a coalition known as the Delegation of 2000 draft a petition demanding that Palpatine restore democracy once the war was at an end. But it was an unmitigated failure. In this way, when the Emperor announced the creation of the “first galactic empire,” what Mon Mothma and other Senators lost was the democratic government that she was so desperately trying to save and preserve.
Later when both leaders appeared in Rebels we see the leaders enter Season three in two very unique ways. Saw is already on a mission, and he lost his entire team. Mon, on the other hand, is on the run and hunted by the Empire. He is very aware of the evil of the empire and has only suffered another loss. Mon is still holding out that diplomacy will prevail.In an interview with EW Filoni spoke about Saw, “Saw’s always seeking his own path, and he’s certain of the evil the Empire’s up to and there can be no peace,” he says. “He’s been pushed even further down that path of belief.” How can that be hard to believe given that he became the guardian of the creator’s daughter of the Death Star project? Along the way hes also found bits and pieces indicating “that the empire was up to something big”. Word passes around. He was on Geonosis looking for clues.
How can that be hard to believe given that he had the creator’s daughter of the evil project? Along the way hes also found bits and pieces indicating “that the empire was up to something big”. Word passes around. He was on Geonosis looking for clues.
So how does the ghost crew fits into this storyline? What kind moves do they make? The Rebels in season 2 were unaware when they found the debris and stations surrounding the planet Geonosis that that they had stumbled onto the biggest project in the galaxy. However, they were suspicious, given that there were no signs of life on the surface.
It also seems as though Ezra could start to see Saw’s point of view, although they didn’t see eye to eye with their first counter. “The Empire is already on the verge of winning a war. Most of the rebel alliance doesn’t already believe it’s begun” Does his opinion change after losing in Zero Hour? We know how desperate he wants to save his home, Lothal. Love for his home is not the only thing that drives his character. A large part of Ezra’s arc was to learn more about what happened to his parents, and after he discovered from Ryder Azadi that they had heard his message in Season 1, Ezra perhaps hopes to honor his parents dying wish. And ironically in the clip we see Ezra talking to Kanan and making his thoughts known on how they should fight.
In the same interview Dave added that Alliance leaders including Mon and Bail, “still hold out hope the Senate can find a peaceful way to resolve everything, and it won’t come to all-out war. Saw is trying to get the evidence and prove out that he’s right. We have some fun scenes when he interacts with Mon Mothma and it shows the fractures between the two.”
The new clip definitely shows the fractures. The voice of Mon Mothma sent shivers down my spine. Such command in her voice, it was quite a performance! Most likely when we see the episode, it will only get better for what she has to say.
Mon wanted to talk to Saw…..but why? Agreeing to disagree? How this war should be fought? It was clear that she would stand her ground.”So long as our allies in the senate have hope of a peaceful resolution to this conflict. I will not risk” Then she called Saw a criminal. Naming what he has done to innocents and his enemies that have surrendered. She has a moral code of honor and highly believes in rules of engagement and on not rising to their opponent’s level. Which moves on to the second topic
Is Saw really a criminal? “The empire considers us both criminals, at least I act like one”. He openly admit that he is a criminal. And he wasn’t ashamed of it. He targets civilians and as Mon pointed out he “breaks every rule of engagement”. However, up until this point, and until his death in Rogue One, Saw was fighting an actual war. Unlike Mon, he sees men and women die every day and has become quite aware of how bloody and costly war is. Saw perhaps feels that Mon is not aware of what it takes. And sometimes sacrificing honor is necessary. It’s hard for a man to feel pain when they’ve already been through too much.
I personally don’t agree with his extremist ideology, but war, as it does with all soldiers, gradually makes them more implacable and resistant to the costs. As Mon Mothma says, it “degrades them” to the point of becoming inhuman. In the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan also says: “war also distorts our point of view. If we sacrifice our code even for victory, we risk losing something more important. Our honor.”
The issue of becoming too embroiled in open warfare against the Empire is a theme that plagues the Rebels at the end of the third season of Star Wars Rebels. In the Zero Hour, we saw the rebels forces crushed! They were plainly unprepared to fight. It is not just a catastrophe since the Phoenix Squadron lost on Atollon. The fact that General Dodonna, General Sato and Captain Syndulla, three of the best generals in the Alliance, got outclassed by Thrawn, convinces Mon Mothma that full scale war would destroy the Alliance. This only shows how weak, and disorganized the Rebellion still is, and how much growth it still needs to make. Mon, understandably, doesn’t want to fight and would prefer to wait for the right time. Part of this mindset may be hers and Bail’s goal of keeping Senator Amidala’s memory alive. Even in Rogue One, we may see how divided the Rebel Alliance council leaders were on whether or not they were prepared for war against the Empire. As one of the leaders stated, “if it’s war you want, you will fight alone.” Another questioned General Dravin’s decision of attacking the Imperial base on Eadu. Earlier, when we meet Mon Mothma in Secret Cargo, a team of Rebels from Gold Squadron escort her. In the Rebels Recon episode of Secret Cargo, Dave Filoni and Henry Gilroy note how different many of the rebel cells are. In the case of General Dodonna and Gold Squadron, they most likely operated on a more covert level, protecting convoys and attacking soft Imperial targets. This may explain why they were so critical of the Phoenix Squadron and their bold attacks on the Empire. As Gold 2 scolded Ezra, “You might think twice before you pull off another stunt like that. The imperials have tightened security throughout the entire Outer Rim as a result. You are making things harder for all of us.” The fact that Gold 2 thinks this way shows how not all of the rebellion fights in the same way. Nor do they all see eye to eye. This is a brilliant move on the part of the makers to make the Rebellion that much more complex and realistic as an organization.
In our current story in Season 4, the reference about ignoring the ‘Delindi relay’ only shows the actual struggle that the Rebels have, and how important this episode will be to the larger story on ‘the growing up story’ of the Alliance to Restore the Republic.
In conclusion, this story will show of that the rebellion was not a well-oiled machine when we first saw them in A New Hope. These two unique leaders of the star wars universe are both wrong and right. A decision of war is a hard one. There is always conflict within. And I can’t wait to see the story unfold until then. Watch the clip that I was referring to below. And May the force be with you.