King Ramsis Dendup refused to commit Onderon to the Clone Wars, thinking that neutrality would spare the planet from the violent conflict. Sanjay Rash knew better. To ensure Onderon's prosperity and strength in the shifting galaxy would require a strong alliance -- and that meant striking an accord with the Separatists. Through methods cloaked in intrigue, Rash assumed the crown of Onderon, deposing Dendup and branding him a powerless old crone. Rash then allowed the Separatists to establish a firm foothold, cementing his rule of the planet.
In its earliest ages of civilization, Onderon was a world marked with savage jungles that were filled with dangerous creatures. To survive, the primitive human inhabitants of the planet protected themselves behind the walls of fortified settlements. Over time, these grew to become enormous walled cities, like the planet's capital, Iziz. In the modern era, during the time of the Clone Wars, the planet's monarch King Sanjay Rash allied Onderon to the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Many Onderonians, however, refused to recognize the legitimacy of Sanjay's rule -- they preferred the neutral stance championed by former monarch Ramsis Dendup, whom Rash ousted.
Saw Gerrera was a loyal follower of King Ramsis Dendup, the benevolent monarch of Onderon who attempted to keep his world apart from the tensions of the Clone Wars. Saw believed firmly in independence, and did not want to see his planet thrust into galactic warfare. But Dendup was ousted by King Sanjay Rash, who committed the world to the Separatist cause. Saw was one of the fervent young loyalists who refused to acknowledge Rash's rule, and openly rebelled against the crown. He and his sister Steela were cast out of the walled city of Iziz and forced to live in ruins amid the jungles of Onderon, but formed a rebellion.
The leader of the royal guard and native military forces of Onderon, General Tandin was a proud patriot devoted to protecting the crown and the sanctity of the Onderonian people. When the planet sided with the Separatists during the Clone Wars, Tandin supported the new king, Sanjay Rash, despite his misgivings of offworld interlopers interfering in Onderonian affairs. The people of Onderon, though, began to reject Rash's rule, and an insurgency began targeting the battle droid forces stationed on the planet. Tandin had difficulty waging war against his own people, and cared little for the military support and tactical advice offered by the emotionless droids sent by the Confederacy to reinforce his defenses.