Rupert Friend, who plays the Grand Inquisitor in Obi-Wan Kenobi, sat down for an interview in which he teased an iconic lightsaber move from Rebels.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Grand Inquisitor actor Rupert Friend talked about his Star Wars experience and what fans can expect from his character in the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
Friend talked about what their inspiration for the character was and how the animated series Rebels played into the portrayal.
Interviewer: Let’s start broad and then dive in a little more specific, but what can you tell us about the Grand Inquisitor, especially for people that maybe aren’t familiar with his history from the animated series?
Friend: Okay, so basically the Grand Inquisitor is the chief of the Inquisitors, and he reports directly to Darth Vader. He’s a pretty powerful member of the dark side. And some people who aren’t familiar with Star Wars may or may not know this, but he used to be a Jedi. He used to fight for the forces of good as a temple guard. And he also is one of the people who trained Jedi in fighting styles, so he knows all the things that they know about fighting, and that makes him a pretty fearsome opponent.
Did you go back and watch any of Star Wars Rebels to sort of see your character in animated form or did you just want to kind of take it fresh with the live-action?
I really wanted to honor the character as I saw him, and so I almost deliberately did not see the animated interpretation. Myself and [director] Deb Chow and [writer] Dave Filoni and all of the guys really wanted to do something fresh that honored and was faithful to the spirit of the character without doing a kind of impression of anybody else’s interpretation.
Love Film & TV?
Get the latest Film & TV news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more
Rupert continues discussing the Grand Inquisitor’s Jedi background and how that plays into the character’s drive and tactics when it comes to hunting down Jedi.
Is his Jedi background something he’s going to talk openly about using to hunt these Jedi down?
All will be revealed in a couple of weeks, but I can say it really helped me to have as my backstory this sense of awesome power and knowledge where he’s effectively hunting the folks he once was. So he has all this insider information on them, and on the way that they might fight or evade capture, and that just brought an enormous kind of feeling of power beneath the performance.
After being prompted on lightsabers and the series’ fighting styles, Friend went more into these subjects and even confirmed that the Grand Inquisitor’s lightsaber helicopter move is something he can do in this series.
Talk a little bit about his techniques. This guy’s obviously very effective at what he does. How does he achieve his results?
Obviously, he’s the master of the Force. But to me, it’s that economy of power that demonstrates a truly powerful figure. As in, he’s not running around like a headless chicken chasing after people left, right, and center. There are plenty of lower minions who can do that. He’s the one who’s trusting the Force, trusting his gut. And he honestly, like a kind of expert rat catcher, just really feels he can sniff out any Jedi hiding anywhere, anytime. So if I were a Jedi and I were being hunted by this guy, I’d be pretty afraid.
Tell me about the lightsaber. It looks awesome.
It is phenomenal. It’s double-ended, as you’ve seen in some of the early-release artwork. So he can use it with one or both of the ends. He can turn it into a whirling blade. He can fly with it. It’s pretty kick-ass.
What’s lightsaber training like?
Lightsaber training is amazing. I mean, the stunt guys on Star Wars are the best in the world. So every time you show up to play, as I call it, it’s like playing in the best sandbox or the best adventure castle in the world. Because I think that everyone understands that people that fight with these techniques, people that have studied the way of the Jedi — there is a smooth, silent, deadly efficiency to everything.
It’s not two guys brawling in a bar. These are master, master swordsmen, masters of pretty much all the martial arts you could imagine rolled into one. So there’s almost a balletic quality about it that I find very, very beautiful.