Since Obi-Wan Kenobi only released yesterday, we’re throwing the spoiler alert art up right away. Proceed at your peril if you have not seen the show’s first two episodes.
For much of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s pre-release buildup, the focus was rightly on how time has changed Ewan McGregor’s titular Jedi, and the eventual round two he’d have with Anakin Skywalker. But this being Star Wars in the Disney era, the trailers hid what the show would actually be about, so as to fuel speculation and make waiting up all night for a new episode to drop on a weekly basis worth it. Whether or not that marketing tactic works and how often it should be used is another discussion for another time, but in the context of this show, at least one thing the show hid was probably for the best: its lead villain fucking rules.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is set between the prequels and the original trilogy, meaning the Empire has resorted to Sith Inquisitors to hunt down the Jedi or kidnap Force-sensitive kids. The Inquisitors served as the primary antagonists for the first half of Star Wars Rebels, along with the 2019 video game Jedi Fallen Order, but in those contexts, they were not exactly what you’d call interesting antagonists. Like several villains in this franchise, they had cool outfits but little else to speak about, and the franchise frankly hadn’t done much to characterise them. For several of them, it was only shortly before they died that they actually get some depth. This happened with the Grand Inquisitor in Rebels, despite a strong vocal performance from Jason Isaacs and the fact that the character was well implemented throughout that first season. More infamously, Fallen Order’s Second Sister got cut down by Darth Vader just as she received an apology she was owed by her master, Cere Junda. Most of the time, they die like chumps and make you wonder why they were even feared in the first place.
In Obi-Wan Kenobi, a quartet of Inquisitors are hunting Kenobi down, but the most important of them all is Moses Ingram’s Reva, aka the Third Sister. Where the other Inquisitors let their intimidating presence instill fear in the people around them, she uses her lightsaber to cut off a civilian’s hand and loudly announces her intentions to kill Owen (Joel Edgerton) and his family if Tatooine’s people don’t produce a Jedi. The people of Tatooine don’t like her, and even her own coworkers don’t like her very much. Her superiors, the Grand Inquisitor (here played by Rupert Friend) and the Fifth Brother (Sung Kang), dress her down throughout the first two episodes, and she visibly chafes from their verbal needling. Without even saying it, you get the impression that she absolutely has fantasies of slicing up the other Inquisitors.
What makes Reva great, or at least a fascinating character to watch, is that she is completely obsessed with catching Kenobi. Her motives aren’t clear, but she very clearly has an axe to grind with the man, something he’s had experience with in the past. According to the Fifth Brother, the Inquisitors have been hunting the man down for a decade and coming up short, something you can feel as Reva takes increasingly unhinged moves to hunt him down. She isn’t just threatening people and chasing him down when she catches sight of him: she kicks off the entire show’s plot into gear by hiring a trio of bounty hunters to kidnap a young Princess Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) in the hopes of drawing the Jedi out. When that fails, she just decides to send Obi-Wan’s identity out to the bounty hunters on the planet Daiyu and wait for the inevitable blaster fire that’ll tell her where to go. And once that inevitably happens, she parkours across the rooftops like a Terminator with a cape, doing acrobatic feats for no real reason.
The ending of episode two has Reva searching for Kenobi in an empty spaceport, equal parts determined cop and slasher movie villain who’s cornered her prey. To draw him out, she tells the Jedi that she has orders from Darth Vader to bring him in alive. From the stunned silence at the namedrop, she cloyingly says, “You didn’t know… he’s alive, Obi-Wan. Anakin Skywalker is alive.” She’s delighting in getting to mess with him in this way, and the camera work and lighting do a great job of making that revelation feel like a gut punch for Obi-Wan. For him, this news stops him dead in his tracks, long enough to make you think she may actually get the drop on him. She doesn’t, of course, because the Grand Inquisitor shows up to berate her. Rather than put up with it though, Reva — who he referred to as “the least of us” earlier in the episode — runs him through with her lightsaber. She doesn’t get her prey, but she gets one over on her abusive boss, and that’s something to celebrate.
Whatever else comes of Reva’s story in the remaining four episodes, she’s already one of the more interesting on-screen villains we’ve had in some time. Moses gives her a unique presence that stands out among the more reserved Inquisitors that came before her, and she’s just plain fun. She’s not charming or overly badass like Darth Maul or Boba Fett, nor is she immediately imposing like General Grievous or Darth Vader. But what she is is unpredictable, and for a show that’s coasting on well done nostalgia, she’s the kind of chaos this show needs.
Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi premieres new episodes Fridays on Disney+.