The upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series may feature the grand return of Hayden Christensen’s Darth Vader, but he’s far from the only villain headlining the latest live-action Star Wars project. Obi-Wan is also butting heads with the Sith Inquisitorius, Vader’s elite, Jedi-hunting assassins. The series will feature multiple Inquisitors who originally appeared in the animated series Star Wars Rebels, along with brand new villains like Moses Ingram’s Reva.
If you haven’t watched Rebels or played Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, you may be unfamiliar with the Inquisitors and how they fit into this particular era of the Star Wars timeline. But fear not. We’re here to break down everything you need to know about the Inquisitors and the role they’ll play in Obi-Wan Kenobi. These are the topics we cover here:
- What Is the Sith Inquisitorius?
- Who Are the Inquisitors?
- The Sith Inquisitors: Powers and Abilities
- The Inquistorius: The Story So Far
- How the Inquistors Fit Into the Obi-Wan Kenobi Series
What Is the Sith Inquisitorius?
The Sith Inquisitorius (also known as The Order of the Inquisitors and the Imperial Inquisition) is an organization established by Emperor Palpatine shortly after the end of the Clone Wars. Answering 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’re also tasked with locating Force-sensitive children and bringing them into Imperial custody.
The function of the Inquistorius is twofold. They eliminate any potential Jedi threats to Palpatine’s reign, and they ensure that any potential new Jedi are either brought under Imperial control or killed. Through his Inquistors, Palpatine ensures the Jedi can never reclaim their old strength.
Who Are the Inquisitors?
The Inquisitors are all Force-sensitive beings, many of whom served in the Jedi Order before either defecting to the Empire or being tortured and brainwashed into serving the Dark Side. For example, the Grand Inquisitor was a Jedi Temple Guardian who willingly betrayed the Order out of a desire to have unfettered access to the Jedi Archives. Second Sister, the main antagonist of Jedi: Fallen Order, is eventually revealed to be former Jedi Padawan Trilla Suduri. Others were discovered as younglings and subjected to the same sort of mental conditioning that Palpatine would later employ on his First Order troopers.
Once inducted into the Inquisitorius, members leave their old identities behind and adopt names like Second Sister and Fifth Brother. There’s little individuality in the Inquisitorius – only a constant desire to surpass one’s rivals and rise through the ranks. The Grand Inquisitor is the highest-ranking member of the organization, second only to Darth Vader himself.
It’s unknown exactly how many members the Inquisitorius has, though there appear to be roughly a dozen Inquisitors at any given point. This uncertainty is probably by design on the part of the Star Wars creators. While Vader’s eventual fate has been written in stone, the Inquisitors are basically a blank slate that can be used to anchor new stories set in between Episodes III and IV.
The Sith Inquisitors: Powers and Abilities
The Inquisitors may not be true Sith Lords (Palpatine is still a believer in Darth Bane’s Rule of Two, after all), but they all have a knack for wielding the Dark Side of the Force. The Inquisitors are trained in lightsaber combat by Darth Vader. Vader’s preferred educational tool is to sever his minions’ limbs, which both teaches the Inquisitors about the power of loss and conditions the ex-Jedi among them to abandon the defensive fighting style they previously used.
All of the Inquisitors wear similar black armor and helmets and wield lightsabers of their own. Most of these sabers are a double-bladed design with a disc-shaped hilt. That hilt has a handy bonus feature – it can spin the saber blades so quickly they allow the Inquisitors to glide through the air.
Despite this brutal training regimen, the Inquisitors are ultimately fairly low on the Dark Side power scale. While they’re skilled at hunting fugitive Jedi, they don’t often fare that well in one-on-one combat with veteran Jedi Knights. That lack of strength is a feature, not a bug, however. The ever-paranoid Palpatine is always wary of being betrayed by an underling. The Inquisitors are designed to fill a specific role, but not to grow strong enough to pose a serious threat to their masters.
The Inquistorius: The Story So Far
The Sith Inquisitorius made its debut in Star Wars Rebels, though it wasn’t immediately clear that there was more than one Inquisitor. The show’s first season focuses only on the Grand Inquisitor himself (voiced by Jason Isaacs), who is tasked by Darth Vader with eliminating the growing Rebel uprising on Lothal. The Grand Inquisitor dies in battle with Kanan Jarrus in the Season 1 finale, preferring to forfeit his life rather than return to his master in disgrace.
Season 2 introduces the remaining Inquisitors, all of whom are eager to seek vengeance for their leader’s death and claim his position. However, many of the Inquisitors are killed in the Season 2 finale, a loss which seems to have marked the end of Palpatine and Vader’s experiment. The final two seasons of Rebels shift focus from the Inquisitors to Grand Admiral Thrawn as the main Imperial threat, and the fates of any surviving Inquisitors have never been revealed.
Rebels is set in the final years leading up to the events of A New Hope, after the Inquisitorius has been at work for more than a decade. The origins of this group are revealed in Marvel’s Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith series. Set shortly after Revenge of the Sith, that series explores Vader’s early months as an Imperial enforcer, including his first missions commanding the Inquisitors. That series reveals Vader’s twisted training methods, while also shedding light on the Grand Inquisitor’s past and his hatred of Jedi librarian Jocasta Nu. In fact, Nu is revealed to have survived the Jedi Purge. She returns to Coruscant to retrieve a list of Force-sensitive children before it can fall into the Empire’s hands.
That plot point also feeds into the events of the 2019 video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Set roughly five years after Episode III, that game tasks ex-Padawan Cal Kestis with safeguarding a Holocron containing the names of Force-sensitive children, a mission that pits him against Ninth Sister and Second Sister. Cal defeats the former on Kashyyyk, while Second Sister is executed by Vader after she begins to question her own loyalty.
While we have yet to learn Palpatine and Vader’s exact motivations for ending the Inquisitorius, we do know the ultimate fate of one member. Marvel’s 2020 Star Wars comic reveals that Vader found a way to punish the Grand Inquisitor even in death. His spirit is now tethered to an ancient Jedi temple on Tempes.
How the Inquisitors Fit Into the Obi-Wan Kenobi Series
Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi is set roughly 10 years after the events of Episode III. That means the series will fill in a key gap not just in Obi-Wan’s life, but also in the history of the Sith Inquisitorius. These characters will play a major role in the series. We know of at least three Inquisitors appearing in the show – the Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend), Fifth Brother (Sung Kang) and Third Sister (Moses Ingram) – with glimpses of a mysterious fourth Inquisitor to boot.
Based on the teaser trailer, it appears Obi-Wan (again played by Ewan McGregor) will accidentally attract the attention of the Empire during his exile on Tatooine. This forces him to leave his desert home and create a trail for the Inquisitors to follow, lest they uncover the existence of a young Luke Skywalker. We know the series will also feature a rematch between Obi-Wan and Hayden Christensen’s Darth Vader, all while somehow allowing Master Kenobi to return to Tatooine in order to (eventually) complete his mission. That may require Obi-Wan to fake his own death, lest Vader come sniffing around his old home again.
Obi-Wan Kenobi looks to be putting extra focus on Third Sister, a character created specifically for the show. The trailer suggests she’s an especially fanatical member of the Inquisitorius, one who doesn’t mind killing a few civilians as an example to the rest. Interestingly, Third Sister is also given a civilian name, Reva. Does this imply she hasn’t quite left her old life behind? If so, she could be doomed to meet the same fate as Second Sister.
For more on the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, find out how the show can answer a decades-old Star Wars mystery and see the first image of Christensen in the Darth Vader costume, then brush up on every Star Wars movie and series in the works.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.