Star Wars’ Sith Inquisitors Explained: Who Are the Villains of the Obi-Wan Kenobi Series?
The upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series may feature the epic return of Hayden Christensen’s Darth Vader. But he’s far from the only villain leading the latest Star Wars project. The series will feature several Inquisitors who originally appeared in the Star Wars Rebels animated series and brand new villains such as Moses Ingram’s Rev. Vader’s elite Jedi-hunting assassins. Obi-Wan also encounters the Sith Inquisitors.
If you haven’t watched Rebels or played Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. You may not be familiar with the Inquisitors and how they fit into this particular era of the Star Wars timeline. But don’t be afraid. We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about the Inquisitors and the role they will play in Obi-Wan Kenobi. Here are the topics we cover here:
- What is the Sith Inquisition?
- Who are the inquisitors?
- Sith Inquisitors: Powers and Abilities
- Inquisitor: the story so far
- How the Inquisitors fit into the Obi-Wan Kenobi series
What is the Sith Inquisition?
The Sith Inquisition (also known as the Order of the Inquisitors and the Imperial Inquisition) was founded by Emperor Palpatine shortly after the end of the Clone Wars and reported only to Palpatine and Darth Vader. These dark side adepts are tasked with hunting down and killing any Jedi who survived the devastation of Order 66. They are also tasked with finding Force-sensitive children and bringing them into Imperial custody.
The function of the Inquistorius is twofold. They eliminate any potential Jedi threatening Palpatine’s rule and ensure that any potential new Jedi either fall under Imperial control or are killed. Palpatine ensures that the Jedi can never regain their former strength through his Inquisitors.
Palpatine ensures that the Jedi can never regain their former strength through his Inquisitors.
Who are the inquisitors?
All Inquisitors are Force-sensitives, many of whom served in the Jedi Order. Before either defecting to the Empire or being tortured and brainwashed into serving the Dark Side. Others were discovered at a young age and subjected to the same mental treatment that Palpatine later applied to his soldiers of the First Order. For example, the Grand Inquisitor was the Guardian of the Jedi Temple who willingly betrayed the Order out of a desire for unhindered access to the Jedi Archives. The second sister, the main antagonist of Jedi: Fallen Order, eventually turns out to be former Jedi Padawan Trilla Siduri.
The Grand Inquisitor is the highest-ranking member of the organization. Second only to Darth Vader himself. Members leave their old identities behind and assume Second Sister and Fifth Brother upon joining the Inquisition. There is little individuality in the Inquisitor, only a constant desire to surpass their rivals and rise through the ranks.
It is not known precisely how many members of the Inquisitor, though it appears to number around a dozen at any one time. This vagueness is likely intentional on the part of the Star Wars creators. While Vader’s possible fate has been carved in stone, the Inquisitors are essentially a blank slate that can be used to start new stories that take place between Episodes III and IV.
Sith Inquisitors: Powers and Abilities
The Inquisitors may not be true Sith Lords (Palpatine still believes in Darth Bane’s Rule of Two, after all), but they are all capable of wielding the dark side of the Force. Darth Vader trains the Inquisitors in lightsaber combat. Vader’s preferred educational tool is to chop off the limbs of his minions, which both teaches the Inquisitors the power of loss and causes the ex-Jedi among them to abandon the defensive fighting style they had previously used.
All Inquisitors wear the same black armor and helmets and wield their lightsabers. Most of these sabers are double-bladed with disc-shaped handles. This hilt has the handy bonus feature of spinning the saber’s blades so fast that they allow Inquisitors to hover in the air.
Despite this brutal training regime, Inquisitors are pretty low on the Dark Side power bar. While they are adept at hunting down fugitive Jedi, they don’t often perform as well in one-on-one combat with experienced Jedi Knights. However, this lack of strength is a feature, not a bug. Inquisitors are meant to fulfill a specific role but not become powerful enough to pose a severe threat to their masters. The ever-paranoid Palpatine is always afraid of being betrayed by a subordinate.
Inquisitor: the story so far
Although it was not immediately apparent that more than one Inquisitor, the Sith Inquisition made its debut in Star Wars Rebels, the show’s first season focuses only on the Grand Inquisitor himself (voiced by Jason Isaacs), tasked by Darth Vader with putting down a growing rebel uprising on Lothal. In the season one finale, the Grand Inquisitor dies in battle with Kanan Jarrus, preferring to lose his life rather than return to his master in disgrace.
The second season introduces the remaining Inquisitors. All of whom seek to avenge their leader’s death and assert themselves. However, many of the Inquisitors were killed in the Season 2 finale. And this loss appears to have ended Palpatine and Vader’s experiment. And the fates of the surviving Inquisitors were never revealed. In the last two seasons of Rebels. The focus shifts from the Inquisitors to Grand Admiral Thrawn as the main Imperial threat.
Marvel series Darth Vader
Rebels are set in the last years before the events of A New Hope after the Inquisition had been in operation for more than a decade. The origin of this group is revealed in the Marvel series Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith. Set shortly after Revenge of the Sith, this series follows Vader’s first months as an Imperial enforcer, including his first missions under the command of the Inquisitors. This series reveals Vader’s twisted teaching methods. As well as shedding light on the Grand Inquisitor’s past and his hatred of Jedi Librarian Jocasta Nu. Nu is shown to have survived the Jedi Purge. She returns to Coruscant to retrieve the list of Force-sensitive children before it falls into Imperial hands.
This plot point also ties into the 2019 video game Star Wars Jedi. Fallen Order. The game takes place approximately five years after Episode III. In this game. Former Padawan Cal Kestis has to guard a Holocron containing the names of Force-sensitive children. And this mission pits him against the Ninth Sister and the Second Sister. Kal defeats the First on Kashyyyk, and Vader executes the Second Sister after questioning her loyalty.
While we have yet to learn Palpatine and Vader’s exact motives for ending the Inquisition, we do know the ultimate fate of one member. The 2020 Marvel Star Wars comic shows that Vader found a way to punish the Grand Inquisitor even in death. His spirit is now bound to an ancient Jedi temple on Tempes.
How the Inquisitors fit into the Obi-Wan Kenobi series
Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi takes place approximately ten years after Episode III. This means that the series will fill a critical gap in Obi-Wan’s life and the history of the Sith Inquisitor. We know of at least three Inquisitors appearing in the series – the Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend). The Fifth Brother (Sung Kang) and the Third Sister (Moses Ingram) – with glimpses of the enigmatic fourth Inquisitor to boot. These characters will play a significant role in the series.
Based on the teaser trailer, it looks like Obi-Wan (played again by Ewan McGregor) will accidentally draw the attention of the Empire during his exile on Tatooine. This forces him to leave his desert home and lay a trail for the Inquisitors to follow lest they discover the existence of young Luke Skywalker. We know the show will also feature a rematch between Obi-Wan and Hayden Christensen’s Darth Vader, all of which will somehow allow Master Kenobi to return to Tatooine to (eventually) complete his mission. This may require Obi-Wan to fake his death so that Vader doesn’t come sniffing around at his old house again.
A character was created specifically for the series. Obi-Wan Kenobi focuses on the Third Sister. The trailer suggests that she is an exceptionally passionate member of the Inquisition. One who doesn’t mind killing a few civilians as an example to others? Interestingly, the Third Sister was also given the civilian name Reva. Does this mean she hasn’t completely abandoned her former life? If so, she may be doomed to the same fate as the Second Sister.
For more on the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, find out how the show might answer the decades-old Star Wars mystery, see Christensen’s first image in the Darth Vader costume, then brush up on all the Star Wars movies and TV series, which are under development.
Jesse is IGN’s mild-mannered staff writer. Let him lend a machete to your intellectual thicket, following @jschedeen on Twitter.