Obi-Wan Kenobi has its fair share of villains that keep our heroes on their toes. But, by far the most interesting of the Star Wars baddies is the Third Sister, the Inquisitor Reva. Reva’s singular obsession with one Obi-Wan Kenobi has driven much of the show’s plot forward. Truly, Reva’s desire to pin down Obi-Wan seemed nearly to parallel that of Darth Vader himself. And though Reva appeared to be so steeped in the hunt because of her dark side ambitions, Obi-Wan Kenobi has now revealed the truth of who Reva really is and why her backstory is so crucial.
So who is Inquisitor Reva? The loyal dark side devotee she purported to be? Not quite. (Although, in a sense.) Throughout Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s episodes, we recieved many clues as to Reva’s true identity. We saw so many hints, in fact, that we correctly speculated about Reva’s past as Jedi Youngling after episode one. But a good story does not necessarily have to be one no one saw coming. From Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s very first scene featuring Younglings to Reva’s powerful Force abilities to the way her other dark side peers disrespected her to, of course, the fact that she knew Darth Vader was Anakin, it became readily clear that Reva was a Youngling present at the Jedi Temple during Order 66.
And in Obi-Wan Kenobi episode five, the audience viscerally relives that moment from Reva’s backstory. Through flashbacks, we learn that Reva was present when Anakin stormed into the temple, slaughtering everyone in his path. And, unfortunately, that included the frightened Jedi Younglings. Reva herself only barely survived.
But Obi-Wan Kenobi does give us a little twist to the story. Although Reva became consumed by grief and then anger, her turn to the dark side was motivated by a desire to destroy Darth Vader, not by a desire to serve him. This leaves Reva as an excellently complicated villain on Obi-Wan Kenobi. Reva’s aim may not mirror that of the dark side, and her rage at Anakin is completely justifiable, but in a sense, she had to become the evil that initially devastated her to get to this point. In her quest for vengeance, she wrecks what was wrought on her.
In the end, though, Reva is a victim of forces greater than her and the decisions of others which ultimately drove her to the place where she ended up. And nowhere is this more apparent than in her conversation with Obi-Wan after the revelation of her past. “Let me help you,” Obi-Wan urges Reva, “We want the same thing.”
But Reva is not appeased. “Do we, Obi-Wan?” She hisses. “Do you really want Anakin dead? Where were you while he was killing my friends? He was your Padawan. Why didn’t you stop him? Why didn’t you save us?”
Obi-Wan did leave Anakin for dead on Mustafar, but he didn’t finish the deed himself. Though that would have been too late to save Reva from her fate, it may have changed the course of what happened next. It feels clear in Obi-Wan Kenobi that Obi-Wan’s feelings toward Darth Vader remain unresolved, but, meanwhile, Vader is committing horrible atrocities. While Obi-Wan was hiding with his grief, others were paying heavy prices. Though some found community and hope, others, like Reva, were left alone to fend for themselves. The questions Reva poses might haunt Obi-Wan, but they haunt Reva even more.
Though we don’t know what the future holds for Reva in the Star Wars universe, a simple redemption might not make sense for her story. Instead, understanding the intricacies of Reva’s past and backstory allows us to see the full complexities of her character.
As Yoda once said, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” And on Obi-Wan Kenobi, Reva may suffer most of all.