- "The Inquisitorius. A project of mine, long planned. Slaves to the light side once, now awake. Hunters, one and all."
"What do they hunt?"
"Why, Jedi, of course."
- ―Darth Sidious and Darth Vader
The Inquisitorius, also known as the Inquisitorius Program, was an organization of Force-sensitive agents who worked for the Galactic Empire. Members of the Inquisitorius were known as Imperial Inquisitors, Inquisitors, Red Blades and sometimes even Jedi hunters. They were tasked with hunting down the remaining Jedi who had survived Order 66 at the end of the Clone Wars. In the years leading up to the Battle of Yavin, the Inquisitors came into conflict with the Spectres, a rebel cell that included the Jedi Purge survivor Kanan Jarrus and his Padawan Ezra Bridger. Their pursuit of the Spectres also brought them into contact with another Jedi Purge survivor, the former Jedi Ahsoka Tano, as well as the former Sith Lord Maul, who sought revenge against the Sith for casting him out and killing his brother and mother.
The Inquisitors' primary mission was to hunt down and kill surviving Jedi who had survived the Jedi Purge. A secondary mission was to identify and abduct Force-sensitive individuals including infants and Imperial cadets. If these individuals would not serve the Galactic Empire, then they would be eliminated. The Inquisitors wore black and grey bodysuits with armor and were equipped with red double-bladed spinning lightsabers, that were also capable of spinning in a helicopter-like motion for escape. Besides hunting Jedi, the Inquisitors were also known to pursue other Force-sensitive opponents of the Sith, like the renegade dark sider Maul.
Serving the SithEdit
- "You would question me, Seventh Sister?"
"Only when you're wrong, Fifth Brother"
- ―The Fifth Brother pulls rank on the Seventh Sister
When the Clone Wars ended, Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine formed the Galactic Empire and declared the Jedi Order its enemy. Using Jedi Master Mace Windu's attempt to have him arrested as justification, the new Emperor activated Order 66 which had been hardwired into every single one of the Republic's clone troopers and instructed them to kill their Jedi Commanders. The majority of the Jedi were killed by the clones but several managed to escape, especially after Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi sent out a distress signal from the Jedi Temple, warning the survivors off. As such, several Jedi had survived the initial purge and gone into hiding. Fearing the threat the surviving Jedi posed to his rule, Palpatine created the Inquisitors to track down and eliminate the last remaining Jedi.
The Inquisitors were trained by Darth Vader, the Emperor's apprentice, in the ways of the dark side of the Force and wielded double-bladed spinning lightsabers with a ringed emitter, allowing the blades to rotate. The Inquisitors were former Jedi, with the Grand Inquisitor having served as a Jedi Temple Guard. They also developed Interrogation chairs to assist in their questioning of suspected rebels or Jedi.
Several of them also studied the records of the Jedi Order to familiarize themselves with their enemies' fighting techniques, making them dangerous fighters. Due to the nature of their mission, Inquisitors had the power to commandeer any required Imperial Military forces, and all officers were to obey their orders. Any officer who came into contact with Force-sensitive beings was to immediately contact an Inquisitor to investigate the situation. Despite being assigned to hunt and kill Jedi and other Force-sensitive targets, the Inquisitors did not seem particularly powerful; two working in tandem were defeated by Ahsoka Tano, and three combined did not overcome former Sith Lord Maul. Also, some Imperial officers disliked the interference of Inquisitors with some, such as Admiral Kassius Konstantine, dismissing them as 'mystics'.
The Inquisitors were heavily involved in efforts to prevent Force-sensitive children from falling into the hands of the remaining Jedi or from using their skills against the Empire. As part of this strategy, an operation, codenamed Project Harvester, was designed to identify cadets in Imperial academies across the galaxy who met the criteria that would identify them as Force-sensitive. Should they be identified as such, the cadets would be abducted and taken into custody for unknown purposes, whilst their families and colleagues would be fed false information about their disappearance.[source?]
Hunting the JediEdit
Following the formation of the Empire, the Grand Inquisitor worked with Darth Vader on locating the Jedi Order's Chief Librarian, Jocasta Nu. During his research in the Archives, the Grand Inquisitor was confronted by Nu. At first the Grand Inquisitor planned to kill Nu but was prevented from doing so by Lord Vader. As Vader and the Grand Inquisitor argued, Nu was able to make her escape.
About one year after the rise of the Empire, an Inquisitor known as the Sixth Brother was searching for Force-sensitive children. However, he later abandoned this task after receiving word of a Force-sensitive old enough to have received Jedi training was hiding in the Outer Rim and set out to hunt the individual in question, hoping to earn a promotion. The supposed Jedi was in fact former Padawan Tano, who had left the Jedi Order before the end of the Clone Wars after being wrongfully accused of treason. Laying a trap for Tano, the Sixth Brother battled her on the moon of Raada, but due to his lack of finesse and Tano's power, he was defeated and killed, with Tano taking his lightsaber crystals before fleeing the system. Shortly afterwards, the Grand Inquisitor arrived and, unaware of Tano's identity, decided to hunt her himself, but not before informing 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 Jarrus, but was defeated by the latter in a lightsaber duel during a rescue staged by the rebels and Jarrus's Padawan, Ezra Bridger. Rather than face his Master's punishment for his failure, the Grand Inquisitor killed himself.
During a skirmish with Phoenix Squadron, Vader learned that Tano, who had been his apprentice during the Clone Wars, was still alive. Upon learning of this news, the Emperor ordered Vader to dispatch another Inquisitor to hunt the rebels down. 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, all of them hoping to advance their own position within the Inquisitorius. While intercepting transmissions from Mustafar, Tano 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 respectively. This brought them into contact with the crew of the Ghost and Ahsoka, who soundly defeated them in combat. Later, the Seventh Sister and the Fifth Brother took part in an unsuccessful attempt to capture the rebels in Garel City.
Three years before the Battle of Yavin, the Fifth Brother and the Seventh Sister spent several months pursuing Jarrus and Bridger. On one occasion, they managed to track the Jedi to the planet Oosalon where they fought with them. Despite their efforts, the Jedi managed to escape and regroup with the Spectres. Later, the Inquisitors followed Jarrus, Bridger, and Tano 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. One of these apparitions was the former Grand Inquisitor. The Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister survived the encounter and reported to Vader, who vowed to put an end to the Jedi threat.
Mission to MalachorEdit
Some time after the events of the Lothal Jedi Temple, Kanan, Ezra and Ahsoka traveled to Malachor, following a hint given by Jedi Master Yoda. When they arrived there, the Eighth Brother, who was already there hunting an individual known as the shadow, attacked them. Soon after, Bridger became separated from the others and encountered the former Sith apprentice. As this was happening, Tano and Jarrus chased and captured the Eighth Brother, who unbeknownst to them sent a distress signal to his fellow Inquisitors, the Fifth Brother and the Seventh Sister. Maul and Bridger together entered the Sith temple on Malachor and retrieved the Sith holocron inside.
Shortly later, they found the Fifth Brother, Seventh Sister and Eighth Brother dueling Tano and Jarrus. Maul and Bridger 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 Brider to strike her down. When Bridger could not bring himself to do it, Maul then slung his lightsaber at her, killing her instantly. Maul and Bridger then found Tano and Jarrus once more fighting the Fifth and Eighth Brothers. After Tano destroyed the Fifth Brother's lightsaber, Maul made quick work of him with a fatal slash to the gut. Jarrus 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.
End of the huntEdit
- "The Jedi are extinct. Their fire has gone out of the universe. You, my friend, are all that's left of their religion."
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin, to Darth Vader
Approximately three years after the incident on Malachor, the Jedi Order was largely thought to be completely extinct by the Empire, rendering the Inquisitorius useless. Eventually, it ceased to exist entirely. At a meeting aboard the first Death Star, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin confidently expressed his belief that the Force itself had disappeared from the galaxy, and that Vader was the only living practitioner of what he termed "the ancient religion".
The First Order, the faction that rose from the ashes of the Empire following its fragmentation after the New Republic's victory at the Battle of Jakku and the subsequent signing of the Galactic Concordance, used interrogation chairs, based on those used by the Inquisitorius, to extract information from their prisoners.
Behind the scenesEdit
Inquisitors were originally created for The Star Wars Sourcebook, a 1987 sourcebook for a Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game written by Bill Slavicsek and Curtis Smith. Their role was expanded upon in many sources that are now labeled Star Wars Legends, and thus not part of official canon. However, the Inquisitors were canonized by their inclusion in the animated television series Star Wars Rebels.
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- (First identified as Inquisitorius)