After Disney purchased Lucasfilm, several changes were made to the way that Star Wars properties were handled. Perhaps the most controversial of these changes was the shift of the bulk of the Star Wars expanded universe to non-canon status. One of the few things outside of the six films to remain canon was Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the animated series that was intended to fill in the gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
Since The Clone Wars was announced as being canon, many fans wondered when ties to the animated series would show up in the other Star Wars properties. At first it seemed that Star Wars Rebels would be the main source of tie-ins, though we now know that Saw Gererra from The Clone Wars will appear in the flesh as Forest Whitaker's character in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as well. After the reveal was made, Clone Wars and Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni had a few comments about what it's like to see one of his characters joining up with the Rebellion on the big screen.
Speaking with Comic Book, Filoni talked about how proud he was to see the stories from the animated series and the live-action movies merging together.
"I have always thought of Star Wars: The Clone Wars as an extension of the Star Wars films, and now, here we are, seeing a character come to life in the flesh on the big screen. I think it’s tremendously exciting, because it’s fulfilling a promise to the fans, that this is one story, and the characters you know and love are throughout it, and influencing the story in many ways. I’m so proud of the Rogue One team, and everyone at Lucasfilm. It’s a great day for Star Wars."
Though he debuted in The Clone Wars, Saw Gererra was actually intended from the start to be a live-action character. George Lucas created the character for a live-action TV show that never got off the ground because it would have been too expensive to make, and he was eventually added to The Clone Wars for a four-episode story arc in season five. More recently, the character received a mention in Rebels that helped to flesh out his history between The Clone Wars and Rogue One a bit more.
If nothing else, having Whitaker play a character who debuted in The Clone Wars really helps to unify the Star Wars universe in regard to the current canon. Disney's Marvel Studios could learn a lesson or two from Lucasfilm in this regard, since Marvel fans have been hoping for years to see characters from the various TV shows be referenced by or appear in one of Marvel's blockbusters. In having Whitaker portray Saw Gerrera, Lucasfilm has not only done fans of The Clone Wars a great service but also has generated new interest in the old series as the Internet remains abuzz about the character and his story.
Of course, it still remains to be seen how much Saw Gerrera adds to the film or how Rogue One performs as the first non-Episode Star Wars film. Some fans may worry that the rumors about the movie not really matching the Star Wars tone are true, or that Disney went too far with reshoots to try and make the movie lighter in tone. Even if it doesn't end up being the strongest piece of the Star Wars canon, however, it will still be one of the big pieces that's helped to tie the various bits together.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Comic Book