This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: Rogue One and Andor.
Aside from Andy Serkis appearing in the Star Wars universe once again, episode 8 of Andor, “Narkina 5,” features two more familiar faces: Forest Whitaker as Partisan leader Saw Gerrera and Duncan Pow as Ruescott Melshi. In the episode, Saw meets with Luthen Rael on the planet Segra Milo to discuss future Rebellion plans, while Melshi is a prisoner in Cassian Andor’s unit on Narkina 5. Here’s why these characters are so important.
Saw Gerrera has been a mainstay of the Star Wars universe since The Clone Wars, where he led Onderonian forces against the Separatists to save his home planet of Onderon from their rule. In The Bad Batch, Clone Squad 99 is sent to kill Gerrera after he and his militia refuse to submit to the Empire, but they refuse to follow orders, leaving Gerrera and his crew to go about their business. Saw’s extreme measures sometimes put him at odds with the crew of the Ghost in Rebels, but they also worked together occasionally to gather information on the Empire’s plans.
Rogue One, however, is likely how most people recognize Saw Gerrera. He raised the film’s heroine Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) after her father was taken by the Empire to create the Death Star. Gerrera is also the one that Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) seeks out on Jedha after defecting from the Empire. Even though Rogue One may be the end of his story – he dies during the destruction of Jedha City by the Death Star – Gerrera’s connection to Jyn is what pulls her into the Rebellion and ultimately what sets her on the path to saving the galaxy.
While Ruescott Melshi may not have the extensive on screen background that Gerrera does, he also plays an important role in Rogue One. At the start of the film, Melshi is part of the Rebel task force that rescues Jyn from the prison transport and brings her to Yavin 4. After Jyn discovers that the plans for the Death Star are being kept on Scarif, Melshi helps assemble a squad to go with her and Cassian to steal them. Although Melshi dies with the other Rebels during the mission, he is instrumental in holding off the Imperial forces long enough for Jyn to get the plans to the Rebel Alliance.
Now that we know when and where Melshi and Cassian meet, it will be interesting to see how their relationship develops and whether or not they join the Rebel Alliance at the same time. We know how things end for both of them thanks to Rogue One, but not yet how they both became key operatives in the Rebellion.
Both Gerrera and Melshi will eventually play important roles in the Rebel’s plans to destroy the Death Star, so it’s great to see them appear early on in the series as both the Rebellion and Cassian’s role in it are just beginning. While Gerrera will eventually operate separately from the true Rebel Alliance that Cassian and Melshi become a part of, his experience fighting against oppressive forces makes him a valuable asset for the growing Rebel cause on the show.
Star Wars: Andor is streaming now on Disney+.