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Imperial Inquisitors, explained: 'Obi-Wan' recasts a beloved Star Wars villain

“The key to hunting Jedi is patience.”

The first trailer for Obi-Wan Kenobi doesn’t hold much back. From its opening scene of Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) literally watching over a young Luke Skywalker on Tatooine to its effective use of “Duel of the Fates,” the first teaser for Lucasfilm's latest Disney+ series packs a lot of exciting Star Wars moments into its short runtime. However, what the trailer perhaps does better than anything else is communicate the constant danger that McGregor’s Obi-Wan is in when the series begins.

It does that by placing just as much focus on Obi-Wan Kenobi’s primary villains as it does on McGregor’s exiled Jedi. Specifically, the Obi-Wan teaser features several moments with the show’s Inquisitors, who are force-sensitive warriors trained to hunt Jedi by the Empire. The teaser is even narrated by the Grand Inquisitor, the leader of the Empire’s Inquisitorius Program.

Fans of Star Wars Rebels are already very familiar with the Grand Inquisitor, but they should be prepared to see the character in a new way in Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Who plays the Grand Inquisitor in Obi-Wan Kenobi?

The Grand Inquisitor holds his deadly lightsaber in Star Wars Rebels.Disney XD

In Star Wars Rebels the Grand Inquisitor was voiced by Jason Isaacs, who brought the character to life in an unsettlingly dignified, sinister way. The character’s dialogue and actions in the Obi-Wan Kenobi teaser suggest that those aspects of his personality will be present in the new Disney+ series, despite him being played by a different actor and featuring a slightly different design than he did in Rebels.

Following the Kenobi trailer’s release, StarWars.com confirmed the Grand Inquisitor is played by Rupert Friend, who’s probably best known for his breakout turn as Peter Quinn in Homeland. Friend’s version of the Grand Inquisitor also looks slightly different than the one in Star Wars Rebels did, and fans haven’t been shy when it comes to sharing their opinions about those differences.

But what matters more than anything else is whether the Grand Inquisitor manages to be as intimidating in Obi-Wan Kenobi as he is in Rebels. We won’t know if that’s the case until Kenobi finally premieres, but its first teaser certainly suggests that the Grand Inquisitor will be a force to be reckoned with.

How many Inquisitors are there?

Reva (Moses Ingram) meets with two of her fellow Inquisitors in Obi-Wan Kenobi.Lucasfilm

The Grand Inquisitor isn’t the only member of the Empire’s Jedi hunter program featured in the Obi-Wan Kenobi teaser. It features appearances from several Inquisitors, including the Fifth Brother, a Star Wars Rebels villain who will be played by Fast & Furious star Sung Kang in the new show. The trailer also focuses heavily on a new Inquisitor named Reva, who will be played by Queen’s Gambit star Moses Ingram.

Another unnamed Inquisitor can be seen very briefly, including in the shot shown above, but it’s not clear who the character is or who plays them. Outside of those featured in the Kenobi teaser, fans have already met a number of other Imperial Inquisitors, including the Second Sister from Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and the Seventh Sister from Star Wars Rebels.

It’s not clear exactly how many Inquisitors there were during the Empire’s reign. The highest-numbered of the Jedi hunters that we know about is the Tenth Brother, but that doesn’t mean there were only 10 Inquisitors, and it’s entirely possible that Lucasfilm will introduce more members of the program in future movies and TV shows.

The Fifth Brother (Sung Kang) marches through the streets of Daiyu in Obi-Wan Kenobi.Lucasfilm

The Inverse Analysis — Obi-Wan Kenobi will mark the first time that Star Wars fans get to see the Empire’s Inquisitors brought to life in live-action form. And by featuring appearances from not just one but four different Inquisitors, the series’ teaser makes it clear that Kenobi isn’t wasting that opportunity.

Even better, if the tone of the Obi-Wan trailer is any indication, it looks like the Inquisitors will be even more deadly and intimidating in the new Disney+ series than they’ve ever been before.

Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres May 25, 2022 on Disney+.