Star Wars: Grand Inquisitor Actor Bluntly Reacts to Controversial Design Change

By Nathan Johnson Posted:
Obi-Wan Kenobi Grand Inquisitor

Obi-Wan Kenobi's Rupert Friend commented on the controversial design change made to the Grand Inquisitor's head in the Disney+ show.

Although the Grand Inquisitor didn't have a massive role in Obi-Wan Kenobi, the character still appeared on-screen and was met with some criticism by fans.

However, the actor behind the threatening villain seemed to enjoy his time playing the Pau'an, as he called the Star Wars universe "an amazing thing to be a part of."

Now, almost a year after the release of Obi-Wan Kenobi, some fans still have questions regarding the live-action design of the Grand Inquisitor.

Grand Inquisitor Actor Reacts to Character Design Change

Rupert Friend, who portrayed the Grand Inquisitor in the Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ show, bluntly reacted to someone asking him about the character's design change from Star Wars Rebels.

In Star Wars: Rebels, the Grand Inquisitor has a long, skinny head, and when Obi-Wan Kenobi was released, many fans quickly pointed out that the design of Friend's version of the character didn't match up with how it looked in animation.

Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, The Grand Inquisitor
Obi-Wan Kenobi & Star Wars Rebels

At Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo 2023, also known as C2E2, Friend was part of a panel of actors there to talk about Obi-Wan Kenobi

In a video shared by Popverse from the convention, the actor was asked about whether the studio ever discussed "making [his] head bigger," and Friend responded by saying, "Making my head bigger? It wasn't big enough?"

The person who asked the question clarified that the "cartoon" version of the character had a head that was "thin and long." Friend bluntly responded to the question by noting the difference between animation and live-action:

"Yeah, the key word there, my friend, is 'cartoon.'"

Later on in the panel, a fan asked Friend a question regarding Jason Isaacs' portrayal of the Grand Inquisitor in Rebels, specifically if the actor watched the animated show or took any inspiration from Isaacs' performance.

Friend previously revealed in May 2022 that he hadn't watched Rebels. The actor went on to admit at C2E2 that he "wasn't familiar with the character" at all when his journey on the show began.

Upon learning about Isaacs' role in the animated series, Friend stated that he didn't want to do "an impersonation of someone else's interpretation:"

"So when I got this role, I wasn’t familiar with the character, or the Inquisitors, or anything like that. So for me, it was completely fresh. New world, new character, and I wanted to relate to that in my own instinctive way first, but I then was made aware of Jason’s interpretation. The last thing I wanted to do was an impersonation of someone else’s interpretation. So I let my own instincts come through first, and then I had a look at what he’d done, which I thought was terrific."

Friend also went on to reveal that he and Isaacs talked to one another as Obi-Wan Kenobi was released on Disney+. He stated that Isaacs would often joke around with him about how people "wished that it was [Isaac's]" instead of Friend:

"And Jason basically gave me sh*t, pardon my French, over text throughout the process about why he was better, and that everyone wished that it was him, and all of that. So, he’s not going to let me forget that one. But if you’ve seen the movie we did together, 'Death of Stalin,' where he gets to gut punch me to the floor, he gets the last laugh, maybe."

Should Live-Action Star Wars Stay True to Animation?

Obi-Wan Kenobi wasn't the first time that Star Wars made a controversial design change in 2022.

When Cad Bane made an appearance in The Book of Boba Fett's final two episodes, fans immediately noticed that his head was also not accurate to the way it looked in animation.

Just like the Grand Inquisitor, Cad Bane's head wasn't as long or as thin as it was in The Clone Wars.

Fans have continued to criticize the design of characters in live-action that first debuted in animation, but Star Wars has proven that practical effects and makeup will take precedence over CGI when it comes to character design.

It is important to remember that Rosario Dawson's version of Ahsoka faced a lot of backlash too when it was first seen due to her lekku not being accurate with animation.

In a perfect world, Star Wars would be able to make live-action characters look perfectly in sync with their live-action counterparts, but when there are actors actually in costume, some changes have to be made.

- About The Author: Nathan Johnson
Nathan is a writer at The Direct where he covers Star Wars, the MCU, and DC news. He joined The Direct in April 2021 and currently writes news and feature articles about all three brands mentioned above, but his main specialty is his knowledge about anything and everything Star Wars.