The trailer for Obi-Wan Kenobi has finally dropped and wow, did it ever impress. The scope, dark and serious tone and the return of Ewan McGregor have cranked that anticipation up to 11. I wasn’t expecting the teaser trailer to put so much emphasis on the Dark Side though. Set largely to the iconic Duel of Fates song from The Phantom Menace, the teaser introduces us to quite a few individuals wielding red sabers. But if you’re only privy to Star Wars from its live-action content, you may be asking yourself: who are these people?
The teaser trailer for Obi-Wan Kenobi features no less than four members of the Inqusitorious hunting down Ben, as he’ll be known in this period of time. After the Lucasfilm company logo disappears into sand, we immediately cut to a ship flying towards a menacing-looking structure jutting out of the ocean. For fans of the excellent game Jedi: Fallen Order, this edifice will certainly look familiar, as it’s Fortress Inqusitorious, the stronghold of the Imperial Inquisitor Program, as it’s officially called. It’s located on the moon Nur, which is in the Mustafar system. You can actually see the magma planet in the image below. The stronghold is largely submerged underwater and is heavily fortified. This is where the Inquisitors bring back breathing prey, so to speak. The whole point of the Inquisitors, also known as Jedi-hunters, is the hunt down and track Force-sensitive beings, usually children, and Jedi who survived Order 66. When cornered, most meet an unfortunate end, whether Jedi or not, but some are offered a position in their ranks. In fact, Palpatine would sow the seeds for the Inquisitor Program as far back as the Clone Wars when he hired bounty hunters like Cad Bane to abduct Force-sensitive children. Despite this, the program only being implemented once he overthrew the Galactic Republic.
The Inquisitors are identified largely do by rank and title. As mentioned, in Jedi: Fallen Order, we have the Seventh Sister, who was often accompanied by the Ninth Sister. But in this teaser trailer, we see different faces, some of them familiar to those invested in the Star Wars canon thus far. The most obvious would be that of the Grand Inquisitor himself, from the animated TV series Star Wars Rebels. In animation, he’s voice by Jason Issacs, perhaps best known as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films. In live-action however, he’ll be played by Rupert Friend of Homeland fame. The Grand Inquisitor is the leader of the program and answers directly to Darth Vader, who will be returning to live-action with the assistance of Hayden Christensen. I would imagine that with Hayden coming back (and presumably James Earl Jones as well), we’ll likely get some flashbacks between Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker during the events of The Clone Wars.
The next Inquisitor is another familiar face thanks to the starwars.com release. Sung Kang will be playing the Fifth Brother, who made his debut in the second season of Rebels. Like the Grand Inquisitor, the Fifth Brother does have some differences from the animation form that may appear jarring for those used to the highly exaggerated proportions and artistic style from the show.
The Fifth in animated form is voiced by Philip Anthony-Rodriguez and definitely leans into that Latin accent, whereas Sung Kang is an American-Korean, which makes me wonder what his accent will sound like. Likewise, in animated form, the Fifth has very pale eyes, whereas Kang’s character seems to have dark eyes. But they have similar suits and the trademark hat, so it’s close enough.
We get two brief shots of the mysterious fourth Inquisitor in the teaser and we know nothing else beyond that. Here’s a shot from the teaser in Fortress Inquisitorious, featuring the submerged base. There’s definitely a head chair and it could easily belong to the Grand Inquisitor, who is the boss, or it could be his boss, Darth Vader himself. The chair looks an awful lot like Fortress Vader, as seen in Rogue One, with the two towers cutting out of the seat.
But it looks like the main antagonist for Kenobi in the show will be Reva, played by Moses Ingram from The Queen’s Gambit. As you can already tell, Reva breaks from tradition by seemingly having a name, but will also go by the designation Third Sister. Director Deborah Chow and writer Joby Harold described Reva in the Entertainment Weekly exposé as being “ruthlessly ambitious“, so I hope we see her do some dark acts that really solidify the Inquisitors as a threat. They were created for Rebels, which wasn’t as dark as The Clone Wars and as a foil for the characters to have lightsaber fights without getting owned by Vader all the time. So while they wield red lightsabers and use the Force, they are intentionally weaker than the Sith to ensure they know their place in the hierarchy and that the Rule of Two remains intact.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is set to premiere on Disney+ on May 25th, the same day the original Star Wars debuted on the big screen in 1977.