7

They learn through Cassian that an Imperial Pilot defector was sent by Galen Erso with a message to Saw Gerrera and that he claims the Empire is building a planet killer.

Why didn't they just contact Saw directly or just directly go for Galen to either question or just kill him (like they tell Cassian to do when they go for him on Eadu)?

It seems overly complicated to crosscheck both Saw and Galen's background to discover about Jyn then try to retrace her in the vast galaxy (where she's actively trying to hide), then if this isn't hard enough, needed to extract her from Imperial Prison.

14

Saw Gerrera had a falling out with the Rebel Alliance over his use of extreme tactics, and would not agree to meet with them. Any agents they sent would likely be killed unless they were someone who already knew Saw personally. When Jyn Erso is first brought before the Alliance leadership they mention this exact problem.

CASSIAN: We know how to find him, that’s not our problem. What we need is someone who gets us through the door without being killed.

JYN ERSO: You’re all rebels, aren’t you?

MON MOTHMA: Yes, but Saw Gerrera’s an extremist. He’s been fighting on his own since he broke with the Rebellion. His militancy has caused the Alliance a great many problems. We have no choice now but to try to mend that broken trust.

  • Fair enough, but doesn't the message expressly say to tell the Rebel Alliance about the superweapon? From the Wookiepedia : The trio [rebel council] told her that an Imperial defector claimed to have been tasked by her father to pass information to the Rebel Alliance pertaining to a planet-destroying superweapon. Wouldn't Gerrera have an incentive to set their beef apart for that? – Addramyr Jan 15 at 17:21
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    @Addramyr He might have done so, but the Rebellion had no guarantee of that, so retrieving someone who could get to him seemed like a better plan. And we even see that Saw is so paranoid that he assumes that the defection was just a ruse to get him to reveal himself. He only believes it's true after torturing Bodhi. – Kyle Doyle Jan 15 at 17:37
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    Also @Addramyr - the Alliance would think that Saw is the type that would want to co-opt the superweapon for his own uses and turn it against the Empire, rather than destory it for the safety of the galaxy – NKCampbell Jan 15 at 18:01
4

The film addresses this. The Rebellion did not know how Saw would react as by now the connection between the Rebellion at large and Saw's group is tense to an extreme degree. Saw doesn't trust them, and has become increasingly paranoid. We see this both at how Saw reacts when they bring him Bodhi (emphasis mine):

SAW GERRERA: Every day, more lies.

BODHI: Lies? Would I risk everything for a lie? No, we don’t have time for this! I have to speak to Saw Gerrera before it’s too late.

The sack is pulled off of Bodhi’s head.

BODHI: Okay... So, you... Um. Uh.That’s-That’s for you. And I gave it to them, they did not find it! I gave it to them. Galen Erso. He told me to find you.

SAW GERRERA: Bor Gullet.

BODHI: Bor Gullet? Galen Erso sent me! He told me to find you!

And then there is the conversation he has with Jyn which kind of proves again they had reason to try and find someone Saw would trust (emphasis again mine):

SAW GERRERA: You were the daughter of an Imperial science officer! People were starting to figure that out. People who wanted to- to use you as a hostage. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. But today, of all days? It’s a trap, isn’t it?

JYN ERSO: What?

SAW GERRERA: The pilot! The message. All of it. Did they... send you? Did you come here to kill me? There’s not much of me left.

Essentially they knew that Saw Guerrera by this point could react like this, the safest bet was to get someone they hoped he already trusted rather than just any random person sent by the rebellion.

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