Andor spends a lot of time posing questions about the Rebellion. It focuses on the rebellion’s founding, introducing key characters that built the movement from the beginning. Some are new, while others are familiar faces, but the show makes a point to examine the ethics of each founder, asking what they are willing to sacrifice for the cause. And some are willing to pay a higher price than others. Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) struggles with the same question. Episode 11, “Daughter of Ferrix,” focuses the question on Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). He is no stranger to Star Wars fans, but the series shows him a time in his life that isn’t widely known. Saw mostly isolates himself from other rebel factions, believing their differences to be too significant. He has his own agenda, but it always centers on bringing down the Empire. Most consider Saw an extremist, and that’s true enough. But more than anything else, he is a rebel.
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Saw is Faced with a Hard Decision
Despite Saw’s isolationist tendencies, Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) requested his help for Kreegyr’s operation in Episode 8, “Narkina 5.” After considering, in Episode 11, Saw agrees to help if Kreegyr accepts his terms. Luthen tries to talk Saw out of it, but Saw has made up his mind. Luthen has to tell Saw the truth. The ISB has discovered the plan, and Kreegyr’s operation is doomed to fail. Luthen has no intention of warning the rebels about the danger, meaning their lives are forfeit. Luthen leaves out the existence of his ISB spy, Lonni Jung (Robert Emms), but Saw reasons it out. After discovering the plan to sacrifice Kreegyr, Saw hesitates. He wants to warn Kreegyr and stop the bloodshed. Luthen says the decision could be Saw’s, but Saw knows it would compromise the spy, who spent years climbing the ranks in the ISB. Or else, Luthen is deceiving him and isn’t a rebel at all. Saw asks his so-called friend what he would do if it were Saw rather than Kreegyr. Luthen explains that Kreegyr doesn’t know his identity as Saw does, making him an acceptable sacrifice for the cause. Saw is horrified by Luthen’s callousness.
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Saw considers the situation. Is it better to sacrifice Kreegyr for the long game of the rebellion or save him at the expense of a useful source? It’s a difficult choice, playing with people’s lives. The weight of it leaves Saw spiraling, wondering who else spies for Luthen. But with Luthen applying the pressure, Saw has to make a choice. Luthen lays it out clearly, let Kreegyr go down and prey on the Empire’s false confidence after their victory, or tell Kreegyr and watch the ISB get more paranoid and careful, limiting the rebellion’s openings. Saw’s initial shock at Luthen’s plan wears off as he considers the situation. In the end, he made the same decision as Luthen: 30 rebels and Kreegyr’s operation for “the greater good.” As horrible as it may seem, Saw can accept the deaths of Kreegyr and his rebels for the end goal of the rebellion.
In Episode 10, “One Way Out,” Luthen faced the same decision and made it in seconds. Luthen accepted the sacrifice almost immediately, and though he expressed regret, he never wavered. Saw’s hesitation in Episode 11 shows a rare side of him — his conscience. Yes, he deems the losses acceptable, but not as readily as Luthen. Saw is considered an extremist by most rebels due to his violent methods. But Luthen is far more extreme than Saw, and no one seems to recognize it. Luthen is prepared to fight the Empire by whatever means necessary, and until faced with this decision, it seemed Saw was too. Luthen and Saw both condone violent actions against the Empire and have shown a willingness to use the Empire’s methods against them. But Saw’s reaction is a stark contrast to Luthen’s readiness to sacrifice the Kreegyr. It proves that Saw has a limit, which wasn’t clear before. Saw isn’t willing to play fast and lose with the lives of his allies as he does with his enemies. It’s a significant difference from the game Luthen is playing, where no life is more valuable than the cause. Though Saw may agree in principle, he doesn’t look at the situation with the same cold logic as Luthen. It gives Saw a surprising softer side.
Saw may be a paranoid zealot, but he looks out for the Rebellion. Saw has lost a lot to his war over the years. He first fought the Separatists during the Clone Wars. In the animated Star Wars: Clone Wars series, Saw is introduced along with his sister, Steela Gerrera (voiced by Dawn-Lyen Gardner). Her death was Saw’s first major loss, for which he still blames himself. Since then, he hasn’t stopped fighting the Empire. Another notable loss he experienced before his appearance in Andor is explained in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. After the death of her mother and the capture of her father, Saw rescued Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), and she became his adoptive daughter. But the stress and his dedication to the rebellion divide them. He left her behind, claiming it will protect her from the questions of his allies, who grow suspicious about her father. When they reunite in Rogue One, Saw is happy to see her, so though he decided to leave her behind, he did so because he wanted to keep fighting in the rebellion.
Saw is no stranger to sacrifices. Though he willingly puts his life on the line time and time again, he doesn’t want to make the same choice for others, even those with whom he doesn’t see eye to eye. Saw gives up a lot for the Rebellion, his safety and comfort, to name a few. But he doesn’t see the justification that Luthen does. Luthen sees a clear path that Saw doesn’t. Saw recognizes the weight of the decision. Every rebel has a length they are willing to go for the cause, and Saw has seen his. He’s still fighting but even Saw has a line.