The character originated in the Clone Wars animated series, which takes place between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, shortly before the rise of the Empire. Saw Gerrera is one of the earliest rebels, becoming increasingly radical over the next two decades. By the time of Rogue One, he’s a guerrilla fighter operating out of a bunker on the desert moon of Jedha.
The young Saw Gerrera was voiced by Andrew Kishino, but Whitaker will take over for a brief stint on Star Wars: Rebels, whose third season takes place three years before Rogue One and the destruction of the Death Star. This means Saw Gerrera will be a veteran warrior during Whitaker’s role in the show, years after Gerrera lost touch with Rogue One‘s Jyn Erso.
In a teaser video you can watch at Entertainment Weekly, members of Lucasfilm’s creative team explain how Saw Gerrera is the “connective tissue” between the prequels and the original trilogy, representing the early years of the Rebellion.
Whitaker’s Star Wars: Rebels debut will air on Jan. 7, 2017.