Saw Gerrera was an important figure in the formation of the Alliance to Restore the Republic and an accomplished freedom fighter, who perished on the planet Jedha after choosing to stay on site when the Death Star fired on Jedha City.
Why did he make the decision to stay despite the impending doom?
Here’s what you need to know.
Why Did Saw Gerrera Stay Behind On Jedha?
There are a few reasons why Saw Gerrera made the decision to perish in the aftershock of the Death Star’s blast.
#1 Grief and Guilt
While he was a freedom fighter and great leader of men, Saw occasionally found himself violating his own moral code in service of the greater good. Despite the noble cause behind his actions, these incidents and the negative feelings that came along with them likely compounded over time and led to a heavy load on his conscience.
We see this play out in the plot of Rogue One, where Saw’s paranoia and his strong sense of preservation for those under his command led him to do deplorable things. Here, he used a Mairan to invade the mind of Bor Gullet, an act that was commonly used as a torture method by Imperial officers and carried a real risk of permanent damage.
As he walked away from Gullet’s catatonic body, Saw must have been horrified by his own behaviour.
Compounding these moral failings is the sadness that Saw has endured for a long time. His life was one of multiple tragedies, with the death of his sister being the most damaging of these and possibly contributing to weariness with soldering on.
The combination of these two factors makes it likely that to some degree, the decision Saw made to stay came from a place of fatigue. His last thoughts and last words were of his sister, lending credence to the idea.
#2 His Physical Condition
While his mental state and the ills of the past were likely a sizeable part of Saw’s reasoning, his physical condition also likely factored into his decision to stay. When he commented that he was done running, Saw likely also meant it quite literally.
In his mind, there was little hope he’d make it. However, his attempts might have inspired others to come to his aid and put them in danger.
Instead of struggling in vain and possibly taking others down with him, Saw instead chose to go out on his own terms.
#3 The Inspirational Facet
“Save the Rebellion! Save the dream!”―Saw Gerrera’s last words to Jyn Erso
Following on from the idea of dying on his own terms, Saw also probably saw the inspirational value in his choices. By staying behind and leaving the rebels with a charge to keep fighting in his stead, Saw managed to make himself a sort of martyr in the hearts and minds of those that knew him.
Saw Gerrera was a particularly well-liked character, and while his death was certainly one that fans might have preferred to not see, it did make a lot of narrative sense.
The runtime of Rogue One didn’t let the character fully develop, relegating the character’s development to animated shows that make him even more empathetic and punch up his death’s emotional draw all the more.
You can find out what happened to the rest of the Rebels in Rogue One here.
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