Reva stands at attention with civilians in the background.

Reva Is the Best Character in ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’

Reva, the Third Sister of the Imperial Inquisitors tasked with hunting down and killing Jedi, seems to have the deadly combination of ambition and fanaticism so common to the Empire in the Star Wars universe. When we first meet her in Disney Plus’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, her motivation seems pretty straightforward: She wants to deliver Obi-Wan to Darth Vader so that she can eventually become Grand Inquisitor. All her actions seem perfectly in line with the ruthless, murderous nature of the Empire. That’s until Part V reveals its jaw-dropping twist.

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**This post contains major spoilers for Obi-Wan Kenobi, so only read on if you’ve seen “Part V.” Also note that this post contains references to violence against children.**

When Reva arrives on Jabiim to capture Obi-Wan, he tells her he wants to negotiate. While they’re talking, out of earshot of both the rebels and the Imperial troops, Obi-Wan asks how she knows Darth Vader’s identity and realizes that she must have seen him on the night of Order 66. It turns out that Reva was one of the Jedi younglings targeted for execution, and Obi-Wan realizes that Reva isn’t serving Vader—she’s hunting him.

The series could have portrayed Reva and Obi-Wan’s relationship as a straight partnership from that point on, but Reva proves to be much too complicated and multilayered for such a simple solution. When Obi-Wan offers to help her, she turns on him. “Why would I ever trust you?” she snaps. Reva, at least, blames Obi-Wan for Anakin’s actions on the night of Order 66, and that blame may be part of what’s driven her actions so far.

Reva and the Trauma of Genocide

There are so many implications wrapped up in the revelation that Reva is an Order 66 survivor. Order 66 was an act of genocide, and Reva tells Obi-Wan the harrowing story of how she survived: When Anakin struck down her classmates, she played dead alongside them. “Hid with the bodies,” she says. “Felt them go cold.” Reva’s story, and her accompanying flashback, is arguably the most viscerally upsetting moment in the entire series (partly because of its horrific similarity to real atrocities, both recent and historical).

We don’t know what exactly Reva did after that initial attack, but we do know that, in the Grand Inquisitor’s words in Part II, she “came from the gutter” to infiltrate the Empire’s ranks and become an Inquisitor. What was Reva’s day-to-day life like as a child and adolescent, trying to survive in an empire that had tried to murder her? What survivor’s guilt did she carry with her? What was it like to live with both the grief of losing her loved ones and the fear of being found out, day after day? The psychological trauma Reva must have endured is unfathomable to anyone who hasn’t survived a genocide themselves.

Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi inquisitor Reva.
(Lucasfilm)

One especially heartbreaking aspect of Reva’s character is how desensitized to violence she becomes in order to climb the ranks of the Inquisitorius and get her eventual revenge on Vader. She’s presumably killed numerous Jedi by the time we meet her in “Part I.” She lops off a woman’s hand without a second thought, and she’s willing to torture 10-year-old Leia to get information about Obi-Wan. Is Reva’s ruthlessness all in service of getting close enough to Vader to kill him, or has the Empire’s violent ideology seeped into her despite herself?

And then there are her complicated feelings toward the Jedi. As much as Reva turns out to hate the Empire, her feelings for Obi-Wan aren’t much warmer. “Where were you while [Anakin] was killing my friends?” she asks. “He was your Padawan. Why didn’t you stop him? Why didn’t you save us?” Reva’s experience, and her feelings of betrayal by the elders who were supposed to protect her, have left her unable to trust anyone, for any reason. And honestly, it’s hard to blame her.

Ugh, my heart just aches for Reva. I wish I could take that child in the Jedi Temple back to her birth family and let her start her life all over again. I wish I could bring adult Reva into my house and give her a hot cup of tea and tell her that she was safe, that no one would ever hurt her again.

But in the series, Reva is still dangerous, and thanks to Obi-Wan dropping Bail Organa’s holographic message during his escape, she now knows that Luke is on Tatooine. It’s entirely possible that her quest all along has been revenge against both Vader and Obi-Wan, and there’s no telling what she’ll do with the information she now has.

In the meantime, though, Reva is a poignant reminder that even the most ruthless villain can surprise you.

(featured image: Lucasfilm)


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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>