There’s a lot we don’t know about the Inquisitors introduced on Star Wars Rebels. Over the course of the show we’ve learned more about what these dark side users are doing for the Empire, but exactly who any of them were or where they came from remained a mystery. Then, with one scene in “Shroud of Darkness,” that changed.
The second season episode saw Kanan, Ahsoka and Ezra return to Lothal’s Jedi Temple, where they each experience different visions. Kanan finds himself facing a Jedi Temple guard, and when he tells the guard he’s looking for the knowledge to defeat Darth Vader and the Inquisitors, the guard says trying to fight will result in failure and Ezra will fall to the dark side. The guard wants to eliminate Ezra before that happens, but Kanan refuses and tells the guard he won’t let that happen. A lightsaber duel follows and the guard is joined by two others. Eventually Kanan admits that he can’t always protect Ezra and all he can do is train Ezra to the best of his abilities. The guard ends the fight and Kanan is confused until the guard removes his helmet to reveal the face of the Grand Inquisitor, who tells Kanan he’s now a Jedi Knight as he once was. In the end, the Grand Inquisitor and his fellow guards face the Inquisitors who have entered the temple in an effort to delay them.
The Grand Inquisitor was the main villain of the first season of the show until his death in the finale. The Inquisitors being former Jedi was always a theory that made sense to me, but actually seeing that confirmed about the Grand Inquisitor here after not seeing him for so long was a powerful moment that was handled well in its build-up to removing the helmet, the shock shown on Kanan and the other Inquisitors’ faces at seeing him, and the fact that he appeared to Kanan specifically. Executive producer Dave Filoni revealed last year that the Grand Inquisitor wasn’t just any temple guard either, but one who we saw in The Clone Wars arresting Ahsoka and then later Barriss Offee in that final Season 5 arc. That adds a whole other layer of complexity to the character but even just looking at this scene alone, for me it turned the Grand Inquisitor and the others into more interesting, compelling villains. What made them turn from their paths to serve Darth Vader and the Emperor? How did they become what we see in Rebels? If they all weren’t Jedi, where did the others come from?
This moment made me realize just how much I want to know more about the Inquisitors. We may only have one season of Rebels left, but whether it’s in those last episodes or in other media I hope we learn more about all of the Inquisitors and their pasts eventually!