In just a short time, the long-awaited Obi-Wan Kenobi series will be making its debut on Disney+. The world was recently treated to the show's teaser trailer, which gave fans their first look at Ewan McGregor back in the role of the iconic Jedi Master. Following Kenobi's brief voice-over, a foreboding monologue is given by the Grand Inquisitor, establishing the dark tone that will persist as Obi-Wan is hunted.
The trailer was the first time any of the Inquisitors have appeared in live-action, so casual fans can forgive themselves for not recognizing any of the Jedi Hunters. A few of the Inquisitors were even new to diehard fans; the Grand Inquisitor and Fifth Brother were both prominent in Star Wars Rebels, but Reva (the Third Sister) and a currently unknown member of the Inquisitorious' ranks are being introduced to the galaxy far, far away in the series.
Over the last two years, the Star Wars live-action shows to stream on Disney+ have only been tied to the MandoVerse. The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett have carried the franchise thus far on the platform, but Obi-Wan Kenobi has nothing to do with those shows beyond occupying a place in the same overarching storyline. While this is obvious to many, there are some who believed Baby Yoda was actually Yoda in The Mandalorian, and yet another return to Tatooine could be cause for confusion.
There's a rich history to Obi-Wan Kenobi, and not everything included is covered in the main saga films. As the Star Wars canon has expanded over the last eight years, so have the events in the timeline leading up to the series. For those concerned that they'll be in the dark on the context of the show, fear not; this is a comprehensive explanation that details the background and key players that will be taking part in the thrilling tale to come.
The Fall of the Jedi Order
Everything changed for the galaxy in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. After years of manipulation and brutal conflict in the Clone War, Anakin Skywalker gave in to his fears and turned to the dark side, becoming Darth Vader.
The events that transpired thereafter turned the galaxy upon its head. At the command of Darth Sidious, Vader led Operation: Knightfall, an attack on the Jedi Temple that eliminated nearly all members of the Order. Throughout the galaxy, clone troopers were instructed to execute Order 66, which activated inhibitor chips planted in their heads at prompted them to terminate their Jedi commanders without hesitation.
With the majority of the Jedi Order dealt with, Sidious turned his attention towards the final step of his sinister plan. Vader was dispatched to Mustafar to assassinate the Separatist leadership, and in doing so ended the Clone Wars. Sidious, who orchestrated the war by positioning both sides against one another while serving as Chancellor Palpatine, ended the Republic and declared the first Galactic Empire, to the thunderous applause of thousands of senators.
All pieces had fallen into place, but a few Jedi survivors nearly ruined the Sith Lord's plans. Master Yoda confronted Sidious on Coruscant and was unable to destroy him, with their battle resulting in a draw, at best. On Mustafar, Obi-Wan Kenobi confronted Vader after a tense exchange with the twisted fallen Jedi and his wife, Padme Amidala. The former friends engaged in a heated lightsaber duel, culminating in a crippling defeat and Vader's immolation.
A broken Obi-Wan reunited with Yoda and Senator Bail Organa, who watched on as Padme delivered her twins, Luke and Leia, before drawing her final breath. Sidious retrieved Vader's damaged body from Mustafar and returned with his apprentice to Coruscant, where he was repaired and fitted with a suit that would allow him to live. The Sith took over the galaxy as the remaining Jedi went into exile, and the twins were separated; Organa took in Leia, and Kenobi vowed to watch over Luke as the boy was raised by his family on Tatooine.
Obi-Wan and Yoda weren't the only Jedi to survive Order 66.
Ahsoka Tano, a former Jedi and apprentice to Anakin Skywalker, successfully survived the attack during The Clone Wars final arc, as well as the former Sith Lord Maul. Caleb Dume was protected by his master in the opening minutes of The Bad Batch, and he went on to live the remainder of his days as Kanan Jarrus in Rebels. As seen in Jedi: Fallen Order, Cal Kestis and Cere Junda also survived the purge, though their hopes of restoring the Order were eventually destroyed. The Mandalorian revealed that Grogu was rescued from the Jedi Temple by an unknown entity during Order 66, though there are some theories regarding the identity of his savior.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is set 10 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, and to that point, the Jedi Master's existence had been fairly mundane. Beyond watching over Luke, Obi-Wan settled a few disputes on the sands of Tatooine in the Marvel Comics, and he kept a journal that the younger Skywalker boy would later discover during his time with the Rebellion as he himself rained to become a Jedi.
By the time the events of A New Hope occur (nine years after Kenobi), the Jedi are all but forgotten. The old religion is largely regarded as extinct, and it's the handy work of the Empire that can be attributed to that, as audiences will see in Obi-Wan Kenobi. While the Sith reign supreme over the galaxy, the Jedi still remain a threat to them - and there are enforcers tasked specifically with wiping out the light of the Force.
Darth Vader and the Inquisitors
The Inquisitors serve Darth Vader. Darth Vader serves the Emperor. The Emperor rules his Empire.
And no Jedi can be allowed to exist while tyranny persists.
The Inquisitorious was formed very shortly after Revenge of the Sith, during the events of the Darth Vader (2017) comic line. Vader was gifted the group of dark warriors by Sidious and tasked to prepare them for Jedi Hunting - so, naturally, the Sith apprentice's first "lesson" for them was the vicious removal of one limb each. At the time, Vader wasn't convinced that his underlings could effectively hunt Jedi survivors, but he soon learned they were the perfect people for the job.
All the Inquisitors are former Jedi themselves.
While each member of the Inquisitorious ultimately reached the same outcome, they have unique journeys that led to their falls into darkness and gripping hate for their old Order. The dark side is fueled by hate, fear, and anger. Some Inquisitors are strongly motivated by one of these qualities; others find their strength through all of them.
The Grand Inquisitor, for instance, was once a Jedi Temple Guard. He was one of the four who accompanied Anakin Skywalker to Ahsoka Tano's trial during The Clone Wars, and the words of the true mastermind behind the Temple bombing, Barriss Offee, shook his faith in the Order and ultimately compelled him to turn away. It's unknown how exactly he left the Order, or when, but he quickly came into the Empire's service and was named head of the Inquisitorious.
Though she won't be seen in Obi-Wan Kenobi (having been fatally punished by Vader for her failure a few years prior), the Second Sister Inquisitor from Jedi: Fallen Order was actually Cere Junda's Padawan, Trilla Suduri. Junda was initially captured by the Empire but gave up Trilla's hiding location during interrogation, and the young Jedi was taken while the younglings she protected were slaughtered. After relentless torture, Trilla gave in to darkness and became an Inquisitor.
Reva is going to be an interesting case, as she's a new character being introduced in Obi-Wan Kenobi. She isn't around four years later come Rebels, so her odds of survival aren't good. But the trailer and Entertainment Weekly cover feature dedicated a great deal of focus to the Third Sister, who's curiously spoken of by her real name, whereas her fellow Inquisitors have purged their identities.
Then, of course, there's Darth Vader. The Dark Lord of the Sith doesn't have time to follow every lead on an exiled Padawan, which is why he dispatches his Inquisitors to the deeds instead. Vader generally resides in his castle on Mustafar, and the Inquisitors are located in the same system on the planet Nur at Fortress Inquisitorious. It's a corner of the galaxy few dare to cross and has been described as the place where Jedi go to die.
It's personal business for all the dark siders involved, but Vader in particular. The Jedi represent his past, which he views as a failure. Be it in Rebels, the novels and comics, or Return of the Jedi, Vader constantly dissociates himself from Anakin Skywalker, claiming he's destroyed the hero. Vader hates himself for betraying the Jedi, the Republic, and his friends and family, which is why he seeks to destroy all reminders of them.
There won't come a bigger opportunity to do so than when he confronts his former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Inquisitors may try to snuff him out, but Kenobi is too good. It's a job Vader deems worthy of doing himself, and he'll be fueled by his rage when the inevitable rematch comes. For Darth Vader, the Jedi must all be destroyed, his past must be purged, and his old friend must pay the price for betraying him.
Obi-Wan Kenobi debuts on Disney+ on May 25.