WARNING: Spoilers ahead for ‘Part V’ of Obi-Wan Kenobi!
If you’re watching Obi-Wan Kenobi but are not a hardcore Star Wars fan, then the return of the Grand Inquisitor in this week’s episode may have you scratching your head a bit. After all, a lightsaber through the gut is generally fatal.
To be fair, even some Star Wars fans who should have known better freaked out a bit. After all, the Grand Inquisitor serves as the primary antagonist in Season 1 of Star Wars: Rebels, a brilliant animated series that takes place approximately four years after the events in Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Thankfully, there are some very good reasons both narratively and medically that the Grand Inquisitor is still alive at this point in time.
‘Tis But a Scratch
Let’s dive into the medical stuff, first.
One thing that has not been discussed in-story (yet at least) is Grand Inquisitor’s alien biology. He’s a Pu’an, which is an alien race that you may remember from the scenes on their home planet of Utapu in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. This was where Kenobi defeated General Grievous only to have Commander Cody and the 212th Attack Batallion turn on him after Order 66.
What you may not know is that Pu’ans have two stomachs. Considering that their species can live for hundreds of years, it’s safe to assume that they can survive with one stomach much like humans can survive with one kidney if needed.
If you look at where Reva stabbed the Grand Inquisitor, it’s very likely she took out one of his stomachs. It’s also worth noting that a lightsaber wound like the one she inflicted would’ve immediately cauterized, thus preventing him from bleeding out or developing a severe infection.
Lest you think this is an example of us Star Wars nerds trying to explain things with forbidden knowledge, Grand Inquisitor actor Rupert Friend brought up this same point during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel just last week. You can skip to 4:30 in the embedded video below to see for yourself.
Keep in mind that this is the same actor who purposefully avoided watching the Grand Inquisitor’s portrayal in Star Wars: Rebels (voiced by Jason Isaacs). Now, however, he’s able to bring up a very particular aspect of Pu’an biology before Kimmel can.
Whether the two-stomach aspect is directly referenced in the show or not, it’s clear this was always part of the plan behind the scenes.
As we learned after Vader kicked Reva’s ass, Vader was always aware of her desire to get revenge on him. He allowed it to play out so her talents and obsessive determination could help locate Kenobi.
Taking this into account, it’s very likely that the Grand Inquisitor was immediately extracted and plopped into a bacta tank following Reva’s betrayal. As we’ve seen in multiple pieces of Star Wars media, bacta has incredible healing properties — hence why we see Vader taking a soak in it at the end of Part II.
As good as bacta is, truly severe wounds can require much more than Star Wars’ favorite medicinal substance to keep the victim alive.
Thankfully, Star Wars lore gives us some solid examples of this, as well.
Abilities Some Would Consider to Be Unnatural
Bad guys coming back to life is a staple of genre fiction. In Star Wars, this can be achieved by
recognizing a good marketing opportunity the villain’s Dark Side-driven hatred sustaining them.
The most obvious example that most folks will remember is Anakin surviving his final duel with Obi-Wan on Mustafar. Despite losing three limbs and being burnt to a crisp, his hatred of Kenobi allowed Anakin to survive long enough for Palpatine to retrieve and rebuild him.
This ability to cheat death (and the fear of losing Padme) was what Palpatine initially used to hook Anakin into becoming his apprentice. In reality, the use of this ability was much messier and more corrosive than the protective insurance policy he was hoping for. In the end, it helped turn Anakin into the Emperor’s brutal Sith enforcer.
Another lesser-known example (especially if you don’t watch the animated Star Wars shows) is Darth Maul. As you may remember, Kenobi cut him in half during one of the only good scenes in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
This would normally be where most folks punch out, but not Maul. Burning with hate for Kenobi over his defeat, he grabbed an air vent on the way down the reactor shaft and slipped into a garbage trash container. This eventually led to him being taken to the junk world of Lotho Minor and dumped out with the rest of the trash.
*Side Note: Although it’s technically not canon, Star Wars Clone Wars: Sith Hunters provides a great visual journey of Maul’s survival on Naboo and his journey into exile.
During his time on Lotho Minor, Maul lost his sanity while keeping himself alive through sheer anger. He also cobbled together some space trash into a lower half that made him look like a nightmarish spider. As you can see in the picture below, this did not end well for a group of scavengers who happened to cross paths with him.
After twelve years in exile, Maul was eventually discovered by his brother (Savage Oppress), who was sent on a mission to find him by Mother Talzin. Just that one sentence contains a ton of lore to unpack. For now, however, we’ll keep things simple and focus on Maul’s recovery.
If you want some horrifying visuals of just how broken Maul was, however, here’s a clip of Savage and Maul’s reunion.
From that point on, Maul’s primary goal in life was to get revenge on Kenobi for denying him his place at the Palpatine’s side once the Empire came to power. The poor guy never realized or accepted that he was never part of Palpatine’s long-term plan, but it didn’t matter — Kenobi was the source of his rage.
Long after the events in Obi-Wan Kenobi, the pair finally met for one final duel, which is widely considered one of the best scenes in all of Star Wars.
Low Impact Evil
So to recap:
- Anakin’s dark side rage allowed him to survive losing three limbs and having massive burns all over his body.
- Maul’s dark side rage allowed him to survive for twelve years after being sliced in half.
Meanwhile, the Grand Inquisitor, an elite Dark Side Force user, lost an extra organ via a clean wound that was immediately cauterized. Combine that with the fact that Reva’s betrayal was expected, and his continued survival isn’t shocking at all.
That said, his return was still a great moment — especially the sneering way he referred to Reva as “Grand Inquisitor” before walking away. It was a bit odd that he and Vader didn’t finish her off, but that likely has more to do with them feeling she was beneath their concern.
We’ll find out next week if they should’ve confirmed the kill.
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