Sith Happens

Obi-Wan trailer reboots a Star Wars villain more dangerous than Darth Vader

Here's what to know about the Inquisitors.

Who does Darth Vader call when he needs people hunted down? The short answer is the Inquisitors, a group of lightsaber-wielding assassins led by a villain who is even more unhinged and evil than Vader himself: the Grand Inquisitor. Here’s how the new Obi-Wan Kenobi trailer just brought this villain — and all of his minions — back to Star Wars in a big way. Mild spoilers ahead for Star Wars: Rebels.

Who are the Inquisitors?

As glimpsed in the new trailer (and as reported by Entertainment Weekly), one of the new major characters in Obi-Wan Kenobi is an Inquisitor named Reva (Moses Ingram.) First introduced in Star Wars Rebels, the Inquisitors are lightsaber-wielding assassins who work for Darth Vader and are specifically not Sith. Most were retroactively established as fallen Jedi, but some of their origins are not entirely clear.

In the Obi-Wan trailer, in addition to Inquisitor Reva, we very clearly see both the Grand Inquisitor (the guy talking about how to murder Jedi) and the Fifth Brother (the one with the big hat). Prior to now, both characters have only ever appeared in animation, not live-action.

The Fifth Brother, an Inquisitor from Star Wars Rebels.Lucasfilm

By the time of A New Hope, it’s also notable that most of these Inquisitors are dead. The Fifth Brother will eventually be sliced and diced by Maul, and the Grand Inquisitor will eventually meet his end at the hands of Kanan Jarrus, but that’s not the end of his story. In the Marvel (canon) Star Wars comics, the ghost of the Inquisitor — controlled by Vader — eventually faces Luke Skywalker.

Why the Grand Inquisitor is such a big bad in Star Wars

In Rebels, the Grand Inquisitor is basically Vader’s point-person for hunting down the Jedi. This is made clear in the trailer when the Inquisitor gives his lesson: “The key to hunting Jedi is patience.”

The thing that makes the Grand Inquisitor different from Vader, however, is that, unlike Vader, he’s pure evil. Even before Darth Vader fully betrayed the Emperor in Return of Jedi, there were several instances of him doing stuff beyond the Emperor’s back. Vader even tries to get Luke on his side to take down the Emperor in The Empire Strikes Back.

The Grand Inquisitor (and all the other Inquisitors) are not like this. From what we’ve seen of them in Rebels, there’s pretty much zero chance they’ll ever show any mercy, ever. In fact, the whole reason why the Grand Inquisitor is finally felled in Rebels is that he’d take a lightsaber to the chest than admit defeat.

You don’t want to mess with this guy.Lucasfilm

These people are murderous and single-minded. It feels likely that we’ll get a wrinkle on that characteristic with the introduction of Inquisitor Reva (she’s not around in Rebels!) but the Grand Inquisitor himself will likely come across as much more brutal and unhinged than Darth Vader.

In the classic Star Wars films, Vader’s job description is slippery. He feels like both a high-ranking official for the Empire and the Emperor’s enforcer (who sometimes dabbles with his own hobbies). But the Grand Inquisitor is the personification of murder weapon for the Empire.

Not the same Grand Inquisitor?

In Rebels, the Grand Inquisitor was voiced by Jason Isaacs. In canon, the species of the Inquisitor is that of Pau'an. He also had some red markings on his head and cheeks which don’t quite match the Inquisitor we see in the Obi-Wan Kenobi trailer. Could this be a different guy?

Because Rebels takes place after Obi-Wan, it’s reasonable the Grand Inquisitor might change his look at some point. But the difference is notable enough to make you wonder. If the Grand Inquisitor in Obi-Wan is just as vicious as the one we saw in Rebels, there could possibly be a bigger secret lurking here. Could all of these guys be clones?

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