Star Wars Explained is our ongoing series where we delve into the latest Star Wars shows, movies, trailers, and news stories to divine the franchise’s future. In this entry, we examine Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 4 and the tomb below Fortress Inquisitorius.
As a result of its timeline placement, Obi–Wan Kenobi is a bummer. There are thrills. Several. Watching the failed Jedi Knight (Ewan McGregor) get his groove back in Episode 4, chopping into Stormtroopers, provides cardiac exhilaration. Witnessing a young Princess Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) come face to face with the Empire and seeing her political power activated is inspiring. And Darth Vader, that delicious James Earl Jones/Hayden Christensen combo, being his absolute worst, sends shivers across the skin.
However, like The Bad Batch, we’re experiencing Star Wars at its bleakest moment. The old heroes lost, and the new heroes are years away from reclaiming the galaxy. Those who resist do so at great peril, and throughout this season, we’ve already watched many nameless pre-Rebel agents struck down. Opposing Imperial rule seems impossible, but for a few, the option to do anything else is equally unfeasible. Which makes Obi-Wan’s ten years doin’ nothin’ on Tatooine utterly painful.
Within Obi-Wan, a hell rages. As we see during Episode 4’s opening, when he awakens inside a Bacta tank, startled by his nightmarish clash with an ex-pupil. He’s committed to protecting Leia, but he’s nowhere near his prime, and his brief encounter with Vader in the previous chapter impressively crumbled his ego even further.
Much of this week’s episode revolves around Obi-Wan opening himself up to Rebellion. On Jabiim, he meets fighters in Roken (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) and Sully (Maya Erskine). While Obi-Wan pressed pause on his life after taking the high ground against Anakin, these two, along with so many more, went into overdrive, helping the Force-sensitive escape Vader’s Inquisitors. They made loss their motivation, while Obi-Wan accepted a beating. Experiencing their heroism and the threat to Leia’s life, the former Republic general finally comprehends an option other than hiding.
A Return to Fortress Inquisitorius
Obi-Wan and Tala (Indira Varma) plot a kiddie jailbreak. They travel to Nur, a water moon in the Mustafar system, a hop skip, and a jump from Vader’s castle. Leia is held within Fortress Inquisitorius’ bowels, suffering mental and physical abuse at the hands of Third Sister Reva (Moses Ingram). Whether she’s merely tough as nails or emboldened by her own Force sensitivity, Leia withstands the attacks and doesn’t give up her friends. Something she’ll prove capable of doing later when Vader attempts something similar in A New Hope.
Fortress Inquisitorius first appeared in the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. As initially described there, the underwater compound served as a secret base for Vader’s Inquisitors. The location and purpose were unknown to most Imperial members. It’s where Vader’s lackeys would bring those Jedi who miraculously escaped Order 66. Within its walls, they would die or turn to the Dark Side.
Obi–Wan Kenobi Episode 4 borrows heavily from Fallen Order. Our struggling Jedi practically walks in the footsteps of the game’s hero Cal Kestis. We battle through the same corridors, the same interrogation chamber. For the first time in live-action, we encounter Purge Troopers, aka Stormtroopers specially trained in the practice of hunting and defeating Force-wielders.
Fortress Inquisitorius is a terrifying sanctuary for the black-hearted. The compound represents ultimate evil, and Obi-Wan must wander and absorb its blood-soaked hallways. In tearing Leia from its clutches, Obi-Wan frees himself, and what he finds in its darkest depths will steady his heart when he eventually has his Darth Vader rematch.
Entering the Tomb in Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 4
As Obi-Wan sneaks his way through Fortress Inquisitors, he stumbles into a section previously unexplored in the canon. It’s a nearly endless corridor, two-stories high. Planted like portraits on the walls are seemingly lifeless Jedi, encased in something akin to the amber once essential to the Jurassic Park plot.
Speaking to Tala via a comlink, Obi-Wan can barely put what he’s found into words. He calls it a “tomb,” but it’s also a monument to the wretched deeds Vader has accomplished in his time between Revenge of the Sith and this series. His Inquisitors have been busy striking down Jedi scraps.
We do not recognize every dangling body, but a couple jump out as familiar faces. One of the first we see could be Coleman Kcaj, the Jedi Council member we first met in Revenge of the Sith but went on to a decent career in The Clone Wars animated series. While his distinctly monstrous face marks him as a fascinating action figure to collect, Coleman never seemed to interest the franchise masters enough to give him a significant plot.
Who is Master Tera Sinube?
The most prominent trophy is Master Tera Sinube, the corpse the camera lingers on as Ewan McGregor names the graveyard. When Ahsoka Tano lost her lightsaber during The Clone Wars, Master Sinube helped her navigate the underworld in her quest to retrieve the weapon. Does this sound a little like Akira Kurosawa’s Stray Dog? Yes, absolutely. The “Lightsaber Lost” episode is a direct homage with Tano taking on the Toshirō Mifune role and Sinube the Takashi Shimura character.
Before he ever ran into the Inquisitors, Sinube lived an epic life. He was a passionate teacher, and in the audio drama Dooku: Jedi Lost, it was revealed that the diabolical count played by Christopher Lee in the prequels was once his student. We shouldn’t hold that against Sinube, however. We must remember that Dooku was once Yoda’s Padawan, and both Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi can count Darth Vader as their pupil. And Luke taught Kylo Ren. So, Jedi righteousness often leads to Sith betrayal. If only they could learn from such things.
Sinube stirs the perfect amount of recognition in Obi-Wan as well as those watching. If Mace Windu or Quinlan Vos were discovered in the tomb, the Star Wars discourse would explode and overshadow the moment’s emotion. The series focus is Obi-Wan’s despair and his long climb out of it. As fun as easter eggs are, let’s not get distracted.
Who is the dead youngling?
The tomb sequence concludes with Obi-Wan gazing upon a dead youngling. It’s worth noting that this child is played by twins Jonathan Ho and Oliver Ho. Both actors played one of the younglings fleeing Order 66 during Obi–Wan Kenobi‘s first episode. It’s reasonable to think this kid stuck in amber is the same kid from the show’s first scene.
Another safe bet is that Obi–Wan Kenobi will return to its first moments in either next week’s episode or the final episode. We know the obvious impact Order 66 had on Obi-Wan, but there could be some subtleties we’re missing. Third Sister Reva’s desire to trap Obi-Wan certainly extends beyond pleasing Lord Vader.
Could this dead child and Reva have a history? Did this boy tell the Inquisitors to “F off” while she reluctantly signed up? We’ve bumped against a lot of tragedy in the Disney+ show, but more is certainly coming.
From its first shots, Obi–Wan Kenobi has concerned itself with how war affects children. The main narrative has paired Obi-Wan with Leia, but on the fringes of their story is the notion that the Empire is stamping out threats before they grow into adulthood. Youth is something that terrifies the Emperor because it suggests infinite possibility. When control is your mission, the unknowable is your enemy.
Obi-Wan bet on a kid once. It didn’t work out so well for him. By this series end, we need to understand why he would do it again with Luke Skywalker. Experiencing the horror the Empire inflicts on the galaxy’s children and the heroism it sparks in folks like Tala and Roken has awakened Obi-Wan’s humanity. Where the Emperor sees fear, Obi-Wan sees hope. And a second chance.
Obi–Wan Kenobi Episode 4 is now streaming on Disney+.