Dave Filoni's Key Advice for Obi-Wan Kenobi's Grand Inquisitor Adaptation

By Andrew Gilman Updated:
Grand Inquisitor Rebels Kenobi Dave Filoni

As the trailers teased, the Inquisitors had a strong presence in Disney+'s Obi-Wan Kenobi. While Reva, the Third Sister with a complicated past, served as the primary antagonist until Darth Vader made the full weight of his presence felt, the other Jedi Hunters were deeply involved in tracking down Kenobi - the Grand Inquisitor, in particular.

Initially appearing as the first villain in Star Wars Rebels, Rupert Friend provided the Grand Inquisitor's live-action debut for Kenobi. Much of the fan discourse during the build-up to the series centered around the former Jedi Temple Guard, largely a matter of continuity. The Grand Inquisitor's appearance was roasted to no end, as the character's look didn't at all line up with the Pau'ans seen in Revenge of the Sith, but Friend's performance removed any distractions.

Adapting animated entities into live-action has been a balancing act for Lucasfilm, an effort that began when Saw Gerrera appeared in Rogue One. The effort became more difficult when the MandoVerse began to integrate Clone Wars and Rebels characters, notably Ahsoka Tano and Bo-Katan Kryze in The Mandalorian and Cad Bane in The Book of Boba Fett.

Getting the details right is a matter of approach, something Dave Filoni emphasized as the Kenobi team worked to bring the Inquisitors into the live-action world.

Dave Filoni's Influence on Inquisitor's Lightsaber

Grand Inquisitor
Star Wars

The official Star Wars website released a piece delving into the weapons of the Inquisitorius in Obi-Wan Kenobi, detailing the early aspects of the creative prospects. It was this advice from Dave Filoni during an early session with him and Deborah Chow that gave propmaster Brad Elliott a perspective on how to approach the creation of the Inquisitors' live-action lightsabers:

"Imagine the live-action came first, and that the animated material was an exaggerated version of the live action.”

Elliott explained that the thought process allowed for an easier transition from the animated weapons to physical props:

"This gave us permission to keep the form factor of the props established in animation, but to control the proportions and to bring them more in line with props made for human hands versus animated ones."

How Dave Filoni Guides His Padawans

Having learned directly from George Lucas while making The Clone Wars, Dave Filoni is often recognized as the heir holding the keys to the franchise. The success of Clone Wars, Rebels, and the MandoVerse projects built a significant amount of good will between Filoni and the fans, and his vast knowledge of all things Star Wars instilled a high degree of trust in him from his fellow live-action directors.

Deborah Chow has spoken highly of Filoni, citing him as the person she went to whenever she had lore question while spearheading Obi-Wan Kenobi. With the series bringing in the Grand Inquisitor and Fifth Brother from Rebels, involving the characters' creator in discussions about their transition to live-action was a natural decision. Filoni's guidance would have been instrumental in any capacity, but going through the experience himself makes for an easier task of offering words of advice.

When Ahsoka Tano was brought into The Mandalorian, the first thing fans saw were her white lightsabers. The weapons were also first introduced in Rebels, which had an animation style infamous for skinny lightsaber blades and drawing inspiration from Ralph McQuarrie's art. With that in mind, treating Ahsoka's lightsabers in live-action as the basis for a more stylized appearance in Rebels makes sense, as well as her shorter head tails - though those seem to be receiving improvements for Ahsoka.

For the limited screen time the Grand Inquisitor and Fifth Brother's lightsabers had, the weapons seemed faithful to their animated counterparts. Making slight alterations as needed to accommodate the hand sizes of the actors had little impact on the final outcome, which was well-constructed lightsabers that make a fine addition to the live-action collection.

All six episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi are available to stream on Disney+.

- About The Author: Andrew Gilman