Every Star Wars story is as much about its Sith villains as its Jedi heroes – Rebels is no different. However, the bad guy in Rebels is not that easy to identify – is it the Grand Inquisitor or Darth Vader or Emperor Palpatine himself?
These bigger canon villains made their presence felt throughout Rebels but remained in the background. Ordering attacks, leading troops but rarely dealing in one-on-one combat.
The Imperial Inquisitors, led by the Grand Inquisitor, were the main villains of Star Wars Rebels. They were tasked with hunting down any surviving Jedi by Sith Lord Darth Vader, who later took over as the show’s main bad guy.
The Grand Inquisitor, or simply the Inquisitor, is not a new character. He was introduced as a background character in the Clone Wars and was a supporting character in the 2017-18 Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith comic book series.
He was a Pau’an Inquisitor tasked by Sith Lord Darth Vader to either turn the last remaining Jedi to the Dark Side or end them. His legacy included serving as the main antagonist of Season 1, a posthumous antagonist of Seasons 2 and 3, and a flashback antagonist in Season 4.
Inquisitors’ order did not end with the Grand Inquisitor and included at least a dozen other Jedi hunters trained by Vader. Each of them was Force-sensitive, and most used a lightsaber. Known as the Inquisitorius, the order certainly had many influential members, but the Grand Inquisitor takes the spot as the most powerful of the lot.
Almost all Inquisitors were dead by the end of Rebels. But there are still those who believe these brothers and sisters of the Sith could make a comeback in future Star Wars tales.
1. Who Was Sith in Star Wars Rebels?
The main Sith lords in Star Wars Rebels were Darth Sidious aka Sheev Palpatine and Darth Vader. But the Sith were not the main villains of Rebels. They enacted their plans through the Inquisitors in Rebels.
2. Are Inquisitors Sith? Is the Grand Inquisitor a Sith?
The Inquisitor only served the Empire and the Sith and was not a Sith himself. Honestly, the line between Inquisitor and Sith was kept a tad fuzzy in Rebels. They both wear black, their weapons are red, aspire to use the Force in the same way, and often have overlapping goals.
Trained in the ways of the dark side by the Sith Lord Darth Vader, the Grand Inquisitor was able to learn about individual Jedi and use their secrets against them. The Inquisitor also studied the Jedi Temple records to not only identify Jedi but also understand their combat forms and traditions.
He could identify a Jedi’s Master after just one fight with them, such as when he identified Depa Billaba as Jarrus’ Jedi Master within moments of their first duel. This ability allowed him to inflict an opponent with fear – the most potent weapon he wielded against his enemies.
The Inquisitor also had a keen Force sense, demonstrated during his pursuit of Kanan and Ezra on Empire Day. What’s more – he was not just a formidable lightsaber duelist but also skilled in the use of telekinesis – the ability to move stuff around without touching them.
He could easily push Kanan Jarrus clear across a hall, send Ezra Bridger flying backward, and throw his lightsaber with lethal precision.
Besides the Grand Inquisitor, others too displayed a powerful dark Force-capability. Before being killed by Darth Maul, Seventh Sister displayed many full-fledged Sith characteristics, including a more sophisticated fighting style, masterful planning, and psychological manipulation.
It seems that if we compared the most accomplished Inquisitors with the Sith, the only difference seems to be a promotion-worthy title.
3. How Many Inquisitors were There? Who Was The Most Powerful?
We know that there were relatively few of them, maybe 12, and only Darth Sidious and Darth Vader (who directly governed them) were privies to that information. Each one was a former Jedi who defected from the resistance and chose to join the Empire. Once initiated into the Inquisitorius, we know that devotees relinquished their given names and were known only by number and gender. (No rainbows in the Sith universe, there are!)
Led by the Grand Inquisitor, the Inquisitorius consisted of a gallery of bounty hunters exclusively contracted to the dark side. The most we see of the Inquisitors in the official canon is in the Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith comic series, where they frequently accompany the Sith lord on missions around the Galaxy.
In Rebels, the Fifth Brother and the Seventh Sister pursue the show’s band of heroes across the Galaxy. In the second season episode, “Always Two There Are,” we get to see these two Inquisitors and their impressive skills in action as they chase down the Ghost crew.
This also meant that not all Inquisitors were created equal. But while the other Inquisitors were undoubtedly powerful, the Grand Inquisitor takes the spot as the group’s most potent.
4. Did All Inquisitors Die?
The Grand Inquisitor, Eighth Brother, Seventh Sister, and Fifth Brother all die in Rebels. Ahsoka killed the Sixth Brother in a novel, and Maul killed/defeated at least one other before Rebels. Second and Ninth Sisters die in Fallen Order.
As the highest-ranking Imperial Inquisitor, the Grand Inquisitor was fiercely devoted to the Empire and held a deep respect for his superiors. The rest of the Inquisitorius shared this diligence. The Inquisitors were most notably dedicated to Darth Vader, although this sincerity was founded deeply on fear. The Grand Inquisitor chose to commit suicide rather than face Vader’s wrath after a failed mission. Regardless, the Grand Inquisitor was responsible for the death of countless Jedi.
But just as more Jedi survived Order 66 than we first suspected, it’s possible more Inquisitors survived the canonical plotlines of the games, series, and comics than we know. Some fans believe the Inquisitors stayed loyal to Vader and Sidious and became Royal Guardsman. Others believe they could have stayed loyal to each other, and their story could serve as a precedent for other independent Force-sensitive actors later on.
5. About Star Wars: Rebel
Set between Episodes III and IV, the Star Wars: Rebels follows the spaceship crew Ghost, which completes smuggling missions and has a growing connection to the fledgling Rebellion against the Empire.
Ezra Bridger (voiced by Taylor Gray) is an orphan on the planet Lothal, who encounters the starship Ghost crew.
Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze, Jr.), a former Jedi apprentice who survived Order 66, senses Ezra’s abilities with the Force and recruits him as a Padawan.
Rounding out the crew are Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall), the ship’s pilot, Sabine Wren (Tiya Sirdar), a Mandalorian former bounty hunter and graffiti artist, and Zeb (Steven Blum), a Lasat who is the last of his kind and the heavy combat member of the team.