Rupert Friend reveals that he “almost deliberately” did not watch Star Wars Rebels after being cast as the Grand Inquisitor in Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Obi-Wan Kenobi star Rupert Friend reveals he hasn’t watched Star Wars Rebels. Obi-Wan Kenobi, which premieres on Disney+ next month, sees Ewan McGregor returning as the titular Jedi Master alongside newcomers like Moses Ingram, Kumail Nanjiani, and Sung Kang. Friend is set to play The Grand Inquisitor, a force-sensitive dark side Jedi hunter who is tasked with pursuing Obi-Wan during his exile on the desert planet of Tatooine.
The Grand Inquisitor made his franchise debut in the first season of the animated series Star Wars Rebels, where he was voiced by actor Jason Isaacs. A high-ranking Empire operative, the Grand Inquisitor was responsible for hunting down the remaining Jedi in the years following Order 66 and took a special interest in the rebel crew of the starship Ghost. As seen in Rebels, the Grand Inquisitor had a complicated history with the Jedi and even served as a Jedi Temple Guard prior to his fall to the dark side. He ultimately met his demise at the hands of Kanan Jarrus in the show’s Season 1 finale. But despite the fleshed-out backstory he received in Rebels, the character’s live-action counterpart was reluctant to watch the animated series while gearing up for Obi-Wan Kenobi.
While speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Friend revealed that he “almost deliberately” did not see the animated interpretation of the Grand Inquisitor while preparing for his role. He went on to defend his reasoning behind not watching Rebels, citing a conversation with Deborah Chow and Dave Filoni where he explained that the creators, “really wanted to do something fresh” with the character, as opposed to mimicking the previous iteration seen in Rebels. Friend’s full quote can be read below:
“I really wanted to honor the character as I saw him, and so I almost deliberately did not see the animated interpretation. Myself and Deb Chow and 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.”
Despite having only appeared in a handful of Rebels episodes, the Grand Inquisitor has certainly established himself as one of the most threatening villains in the Star Wars universe. Because of this, it might come as a surprise to fans that Friend chose not to watch the animated series, unlike his Obi-Wan Kenobi co–star, Hayden Christensen, who binge-watched both Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars in preparation for his return to the galaxy far, far away. But as many beloved characters start to make the jump from animation to live-action—such as Ahsoka Tano and Cad Bane—it’s obvious that not every specific detail, costume design, or character nuance seen in their animated counterparts are going to perfectly translate to live-action. Therefore, it’s not entirely necessary for actors to watch every piece of Star Wars media so long as they have a basic understanding of the character they’re set to portray.
It’ll be interesting to see if the show will heavily rely on the Grand Inquisitor’s Rebels storyline, or if audiences really will meet a completely different version of the character. While it’s unclear just how large of a role the Grand Inquisitor will have in the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series, trailers and recent photos do confirm that he will be present for a decent portion of the action. Perhaps Obi-Wan Kenobi will lay the groundwork for the Grand Inquisitor’s arc in Rebels and will serve as a sort of connective tissue between the two shows. Regardless, fans can look forward to seeing Friend’s take on the character in Obi-Wan Kenobi, which premieres on Disney+ on May 27.
Source: Entertainment Weekly
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