As much as "Star Wars" has been a story of good triumphing over evil, it's always been the bad guys that are recognized as the iconic characters. Think about it. Darth Vader was popular enough to inspire his own trilogy, and the prequels peaked with Darth Maul.
That's why there was so much pressure on the creative team behind Disney XD's excellent "Star Wars Rebels" series to deliver a memorable Sith villain. On this week's episode, we all got our formal introduction to The Inquisitor, a highly skilled and educated Sith (or non-Sith according the video below), who packs a rotating double-bladed lightsaber.
And while a unique lightsaber was obviously an important aspect of a new villain, it wasn't the only thing executive producer Simon Kinberg and the rest of the creative team considered.
"I think in some ways the biggest challenge generally about 'Star Wars' is that the stuff in the films and in 'Clone Wars' is so great, you do want to honor it and just copy it," Kinberg told me over the phone. "I grew up a fan of these films. The first reflex instinct is to do what has been done so well. Part of the challenge is, 'How do you make it new?'"
In the case of The Inquisitor, the creative team at Lucasfilm crafted a personality for him that hadn't been seen before when it comes to the Sith.
"One of the things that we thought was really important is to make him almost cold and clinical about everything, even about the Jedi, and to make him feel more like he's an educated, almost professorial type of character, who is also obviously super power and super aggressive in action," Kinberg said. "There's almost a contradiction between the way he acts and the way he speaks."
And while The Inquisitor remains mostly a mystery (Who is his master? Why is he answering to Darth Vader?), Kinberg revealed that future episodes would shine some light on who he is and where he comes from.
"We have a clear sense of his backstory, and there will be some revelations about his backstory in episodes to come. The focus of the show is certainly the present show, when the show takes place," Kinberg said. "Like all 'Star Wars' characters, he has a complex personal history. That plays out dramatically before you even know about it, and then there will be things we reveal about it."