- “The Inquisitor is powerful.”
- ―Darth Maul to Ezra Bridger[src]
The Inquisitorius was a group of Force-sensitives, individually known as Inquisitors and sometimes called "Red-blades" or dismissively "Mystics" by Imperial officers, who were recruited by the Galactic Empire to hunt down the Jedi who survived Order 66 and any other Force-sensitive children. Originally, only one Inquisitor, the leader of the faction, was dispatched to hunt down the Jedi on Lothal.
However, after his death, Darth Vader dispatched two new Inquisitors: the Fifth Brother and the Seventh Sister. Vader also sent the Eighth Brother to hunt down the former Sith Lord, Maul. Both the Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister were killed by Maul on Malachor while the Eighth Brother fell to his death from atop of the Malachor Sith Temple. The Sixth Brother perished over a decade previously as a result of a confrontation with Ahsoka Tano.
Hunting the Jedi
About one year after the rise of the Empire, an Inquisitor known as the Sixth Brother was active and searching for Force-sensitive children. However, he later abandoned this task after receiving word that a Force-sensitive being old enough to have received Jedi training was hiding in the Outer Rim and set out to hunt the individual in question. The supposed Jedi was in fact former Padawan Ahsoka, who had left the Jedi Order before the end of the Clone Wars after being wrongfully accused of treason. Laying a trap for Ahsoka, the Sixth Brother battled her on the moon of Raada, but due to his lack of finesse and Ahsoka's superior skill, he was defeated and killed, with Ahsoka taking his lightsaber crystals before fleeing the system. Shortly afterwards, The Grand Inquisitor arrived and, unaware of Ahsoka's identity, decided to hunt her himself, but not before informing Darth Vader.
When rumors emerged of a Jedi leading a rebel cell on the planet Lothal reached the ears of the Empire, Vader sent The Grand Inquisitor to take care of the problem. After several encounters, The Grand Inquisitor succeeded in capturing Kanan, but was defeated by the latter in a lightsaber duel during a rescue staged by the rebels and Kanan's Padawan, Ezra. Rather than face his Master's punishment for his failure, the Grand Inquisitor killed himself.
During a skirmish with a the Rebel Fleet, Vader learned that Ahsoka was still alive. Upon learning of this news, the Emperor ordered Vader to dispatch another Inquisitor to hunt the rebels down. At least two Inquisitors, the Fifth Brother and the Seventh Sister, were assigned to do so and confronted several crew members of the Ghost during a skirmish aboard an abandoned Republic Medical Station. Due to Garazeb Orrelios' quick-thinking, the rebels managed to escape the Inquisitors aboard the Phantom.
The death of The Grand Inquisitor was a great surprise for the other Inquisitors who saw new opportunities in hunting down the ones responsible. In addition to the Seventh Sister and the Fifth Brother, several other Inquisitors began to scour the galaxy searching for the two Jedi who had defeated their leader. While intercepting transmissions from Mustafar, Ahsoka discovered that the Inquisitors' second mission was to kidnap Force-sensitive children. Meanwhile, the Seventh Sister and the Fifth Brother kidnapped the infants Alora and Pypey above the planets Chandel and on Takobo. This brought them into contact with the Ghost crew and Ahsoka, who defeated them in combat. Later, the Seventh Sister and the Fifth Brother took part in an unsuccessful attempt to capture the Phoenix Squadron in Garel City.
later, the Fifth Brother and the Seventh Sister spent several months pursuing Kanan and Ezra. On one occasion, they managed to track the Jedi fugitives to the planet Oosalon where they fought with them. Despite their efforts, the Jedi managed to escape and regroup with the crew. Later, the Inquisitors followed Ezra, Kanan, and Ahsoka to the Lothal Jedi Temple. After forcing their way into the temple, the two Inquisitors were attacked by ghostly apparitions of the Jedi Temple Guards, which had been conjured by the Jedi Master Yoda. One of these apparitions was the former Grand Inquisitor, who had once been a Jedi. The Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister survived the encounter and managed to alert Darth Vader, who vowed to put an end to the Jedi threat.
Mission to Malachor
Some time after the events of the Lothal Jedi Temple, Kanan, Ezra and Ahsoka traveled to Malachor, under the guidance of Master Yoda. When they arrived there, the Eighth Brother, who was already there hunting the mysterious shadow known as Maul, attacked them. Soon after, Ezra became separated from the others and encountered the former Sith. As this was happening, Ahsoka and Kanan chased and captured the Eighth Brother, who unbeknownst to them sent a distress signal to his fellow Inquisitors. Maul and Ezra together entered the Sith temple and retrieved the Sith holocron inside.
Shortly later, they found the Fifth Brother, Seventh Sister and Eighth Brother dueling Ahsoka and Kanan. Maul and Ezra intervened and forced the Inquisitors to retreat. While attempting to plant the Sith holocron in the Sith temple's obelisk, they encountered the Inquisitors once again. Maul began force choking the Seventh Sister and urged Ezra to strike her down. When Ezra could not bring himself to do it, Maul then slung his lightsaber at her; killing her instantly. Maul and Ezra then found Ahsoka and Kanan once more fighting the Fifth and Eighth Brothers. After Ahsoka destroyed the Fifth Brother's lightsaber, Maul made quick work of him by stabbing him with his lightsaber. Kanan sliced the Eighth Brother's lightsaber. Cornered and outnumbered, the Eighth Brother attempted to escape by using his lightsaber to hover away from his three adversaries. This did not work, as the lightsaber malfunctioned in flight and sent the Eighth Brother plummeting to his death at the base of the temple below.
Almost nothing is currently known about the origins of the Inquisitors except for the Grand Inquisitor, who was a fallen Jedi. Their existence is largely kept secret from the galaxy at large, so that the rebel cell on Lothal knew nothing about them before first encountering the Grand Inquisitor. Even then, for a considerable time they believed that this Inquisitor was the only one.
Given that the Grand Inquisitor was seen receiving orders from Darth Vader, the Inquisitors seem to be Dark Side users trained by Darth Vader (and possibly Emperor Palpatine) in the 14 years since the Jedi Order was almost completely destroyed in the purge of Order 66, and intended to hunt down any of the few surviving Jedi that fled into hiding, to ensure that they will never rise again.
While it was at first unknown if there was even more than one Inquisitor, it was later revealed that "the Inquisitor" first sent against the Lothal rebels actually held the full title of "Grand Inquisitor" - making him "the Inquisitor" because he was a leader in the organization.
Lower Inquisitors apparently use a ranking system based on a combination of a number and a familial term. Ranks are higher the closer they are to one, i.e. the "Fifth Brother" apparently outranks the "Seventh Sister". Their use of familial terms such as "Brother" and "Sister" is evocative of monastic orders - not unlike a dark mirror image to the old Jedi Order.
It is unclear if there are at least eight "brothers" and seven "sisters" (which would make at least fifteen Inquisitors), or if the brother/sister terminology is based purely on what gender the current "seventh Inquisitor" happens to be (i.e. it could have been the "Seventh Brother" if the seventh Inquisitor happened to be male). If the latter is the case, it would seem to indicate that there are at least three Inquisitors-a Second, Third, and Fourth-whose status is unknown. It is also unknown whether the Sixth Brother, was replaced in his ranking or if his slot was left open.
Weapons and Gear
The Inquisitors used special double red-bladed Lightsabers in combat. They could be wielded in the single-bladed or double-bladed crescent mode, or in spinning mode, the latter function capable of spinning the two blades on its ringed emitter. Inquisitors frequently use Force-telekinesis to throw and pull back their lightsabers while they are set in double-bladed spinning mode, as a ranged attack that clears a path through their enemies. They typically wear gray bodysuits with black armor plates and shoulder plates bearing the Imperial emblem.
The spinning double-bladed lightsabers of the Inquisitors rely on disorienting and confusing an opponent. In this sense they are well-matched to a Dark Side user's mentality, relying on a flurry of chaotic, rage-based attacks. Like a Jedi fighting with two lightsabers at once, however, this also divides the user's focus, making them somewhat more unwieldy. Kanan demonstrated this in his final duel with the Grand Inquisitor, when through meditation with the Force, he calmed his mind enough to focus on making a precise strike against the Grand Inquisitor's emitter-disk, destroying it. Similarly, Ahsoka exploited this lack of focus when she first dueled the Seventh Sister: Ahsoka deactivated her own lightsabers and knelt, to silently focus all of her attention, and when the Seventh Sister moved in to strike, Ahsoka deftly reached forward with extreme precision to grab her opponent's emitter-disk, bare-handed, in the split-second between swings of its duel blades. That being said, the Inquisitors were not really intended to face calm, focused Jedi Knights such as there were during the time of the Republic, but to hunt down any surviving Jedi attempting to flee, who would tend to be frightened and panicking in the first place. Their chaotic, intimidation-based tactics also work very well in their more day-to-day secondary task of capturing any new Force-sensitive children born in the galaxy - intentionally trying to make as much of a display as possible with their blades against crowds not used to seeing light-sabers at all.
Producers Filoni and Hidalgo revealed in the Rebels Recon featurette for "Rise of the Old Masters", that an Inquisitor lightsaber is sort of like a "cheat-mode": it does automatically (twirling the double-blades at a great speed) what the full-Sith Darth Maul could do on his own (with his bare hands), which is subtly meant to imply that the Inquisitors aren't as highly trained as Darth Maul was - because they aren't actually full "Sith". The Emperor and Vader were careful not to violate the "Rule of Two", because if there were too many Sith they would start fighting each other for power. The Emperor isn't one to share power, so the Inquisitors are what he allows to exist, keeping them on a short leash - i.e., he doesn't have them trained as full Sith so they'll never be powerful enough to turn against him.
Inquisitors also tend to be equipped with other weapons and vehicles better than what is typically used as standard-issue to regular Imperial forces. The Grand Inquisitor, Fifth Brother, Seventh Sister and Eighth Brother have all been seen flying prototype TIE Advanced v1 starfighters, better models than common TIE fighters.
The Inquisitors can use their lightsabers as some sort of helicopter mode for flying to places; the lightsaber spins extremely fast and the Inquisitor can control the direction they go.
Besides their unique lightsabers and their TIE Advanced v1 starfighters, some Inquisitors, like the Seventh Sister and Eighth Brother used additional equipment, such as ID9 Seeker Droids and explosives, respectively.
- The episode "Always Two There Are" hints that the Inquisitors are somewhat distanced from the rest of the Imperial Army. It also implies that there is fierce competition between Inquisitors.
- The Inquisitors are a concept that had appeared in numerous Star Wars media (from which the name "Inquisitorius" stems), though Rebels is the first canon material to feature them since Disney bought out Lucasfilm.
- All of the Inquisitors introduced thus far have been non-humans, which is something of an abnormality in the Empire given its historical prejudices against nonhumans. This is likely due to their Force abilities, as was the case with Maul.
- The Inquisitors seem to have ceased to exist by the time of A New Hope, as Darth Vader was said to be by Wilhuff Tarkin the only Force-wielder in the Emperor's service, which means the Inquisitors must have been disbanded or all deceased at the time. Pablo Hidalgo has noted that the Inquisitors were most likely few in number.