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Obi-Wan Kenobi: Who Are the Inquisitors?

The teaser trailer for Obi-Wan Kenobi opened to thunderous applause from Star Wars fans, many of whom consider the character to be among their favorites in the whole franchise. The trailer hinted at potential trouble for the reclusive gentleman Jedi, who entered into an exile period following the targeted mass murder of the Jedi known as Order 66. Stranded on Tatooine, Disney +’s Obi-Wan Kenobi will follow the character’s previously unexplored journey between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. What’s more, Ewan McGregor will return to the beloved Jedi Master rolenearly 20 years after his last Star Wars appearance.


Also shown in the new trailer are a few individuals clad in black armor wielding the red lightsabers that are almost always associated with the Sith. At least 4 of these “inquisitors,” who have a rich history in the Star Wars franchise, could be seen in the trailer. Obi-Wan Kenobi marks the first time that these inquisitors make the leap from comic books and animation to live-action, leaving many to wonder: who are the Inquisitors exactly?

Related: Obi-Wan Kenobi Star Hayden Christensen Breaks Silence on Returning as Darth Vader

Are the Inquisitors Former Jedi?

Lucasfilm Animation

After seizing control of the Galactic Republic and creating the Empire, Emperor Palpatine would go on to lead a program for the creation of special hunters to track down Jedi Knights that had survived Order 66. These hunters would come to be part of a faction called the Inquisitorius, agents of the Empire known individually as Inquisitors. The majority of these Inquisitors were former Jedi that had either abandoned the teachings of the Jedi order, or been tortured to the point of insanity by the Empire. Wielding red lightsabersthe Inquisitors work at the command of Darth Vader, who was put in charge of the Jedi cleansing operation by his master, Emperor Palpatine.

First appearing in Star Wars Rebelsthe inquisitors would become a staple of the Disney era Star Wars stories focusing on the period between the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy. As former Jedi, the group are known for their acute force powers and brutal methods in chasing down and eliminating surviving Jedi. The trailer for the new series teased an encounter between Obi-Wan and at least one other inquisitor, which seems to suggest that the Jedi Knight may be less safe and hidden than previously understood.

How Many Inquisitors Are There?

Lucasfilm Animation

Although four Inquisitors were shown in the Obi-Wan trailer, their actual numbers are much greater. The exact number is unknown, but fans can assume that there are more than 10 inquisitors due to their selected appearances across TV shows, comics, and video games. Star Wars Rebels showed fans four distinct inquisitors. The Star Wars comics revealed a few more, and two of the inquisitors are part of the story of the game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Given the Empire’s methods of attrition and lack of value for human life, it’s likely that more inquisitors could have been trained if needed, but it’s unclear how many were active at a single time.

Are the Inquisitors Part of the Sith?

Marvel Comics

Although the Inquisitors wield red lightsabers and dark Force powers, they are not technically part of the dark side organization known as the Sith. The boundaries between the factions are a bit blurry, especially in a franchise that struggles under the weight of so many narrative properties. The Sith can be identified by title: Darth Maul, Darth Vader, and Darth Sidious (the Emperor) are all members of the Sith, identified by “Darth” in their titles. The Sith were known to take acolytes and indoctrinate them in the ways of the dark side, but it seems that the inquisitors not becoming part of the Sith was an intentional decision by Palpatine himself.

Specific Jedi were chosen by the Emperor to become inquisitors, on the basis that those selected would never rival the Emperor’s own powers. Additionally, in an issue of Star Wars Insider, it was said that Palpatine considered the Inquisitorious to be expendable. Not allowing these individuals to adopt the name of Sith may have been another strategy to keep them in check. However, this group was trained by Darth Vader and are amplified in power by the dark side, which makes them fearsome adversaries.

Related: Obi-Wan Kenobi Could Get a Second Season, Says Lucasfilm President

Who is the Most Powerful Inquisitor?

grand iq
Lucasfilm Animation

Though the inquisitors are led by Darth Vader, another of their number acts as a captain. Known as the Grand Inquisitor, this acolyte of the dark side was a former Jedi Temple guard that was offered access to forbidden knowledge by the Emperor himself. He would be defeated during the events of Star Wars Rebelsbut will make an appearance in Obi-Wan Kenobi judging by the appearance of his characteristic spinning lightsaber and familiar facial tattoos. Although none of the inquisitors are comparable in power to Darth Vader or the Emperor, the Grand Inquisitor was a fearsome enemy that clashed with notable Jedi during the period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Whether the Grand Inquisitor and Obi-Wan will clash remains to be seen, but his involvement in the trailer spells trouble for the gentleman Jedi.


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