Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Episode 5 Twist Sets Reva Apart From Other Star Wars Villains
The following story contains spoilers for Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 5, “Part V.”
Episode 5 of Obi-Wan Kenobi—appropriately titled “Part V”—was easily the show’s best since its two-episode premiere. Not only did we finally get to see Hayden Christensen in the flesh as Anakin Skywalker (thankfully he was brought back for a reason), but we got some clarity on what exactly has been guiding Reva, the villainous inquisitor played by Moses Ingram. Reva, also known as the Third Sister, has been both hunting down Obi-Wan and Leia and playing her own ambitious game of dark side politics from the very beginning of the series—and now we can begin to understand why.
In an attempt to stall for his friends, Obi-Wan (again, so perfectly played by Ewan McGregor) talks with Reva, and figures out a key detail about her; she knows that Anakin and Darth Vader are the same person. And she shouldn’t know that. Obi-Wan and the viewers both come to the realization at the same time that the hero and the villain share a common foe: Vader. But that villain also isn’t losing any love for the Jedis. It’s truly a set-up where she’s playing the system from the inside, but doesn’t care about who she’s hurting on the other side either.
By the end of Part V, Reva is alive, but barely. She’s been overpowered and stabbed with a lightsaber by Vader, who found out about her espionage. Vader and the (alive! somehow!) Grand Inquisitor (Rupert Friend) leave her “in the gutter” to die—but she discovers a lost message from Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) revealing Luke Skywalker’s presence on Tatooine.
Obviously, we know Luke is going to be A-OK. But Reva ends the episode clearly intending to kill Anakin’s child (and Obi-Wan’s de facto charge) just as Anakin killed so many important children in her own earlier life as a youngling (more on that in a bit). If Star Wars wants to do some truly dark and interesting storytelling, it will make her unrelenting in her ways as we approach the finale. We’ve seen enough redemption stories; turning Kylo Ren was one of the many mistakes made in Rise of Skywalker. It’s time for more villains being villains, even if the only side they’re really on is their own.
Reva is really trying to kill Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.
We touched on it above a bit, but Part V brings the opening scene of the very first Obi-Wan Kenobi episode all the way back to relevance. Reva knows that Anakin Skywalker is Darth Vader because she was one of his targets—a child—during the Order 66 killings that took place during the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. She only survived, she reveals, because she hid among the corpses of her fellow younglings, feeling their bodies gradually go cold.
All along, she’s been seeking revenge on Vader from the inside, kind of like a cross between Matt Damon’s dirty cop character in The Departed and Zoë Kravitz’s Catwoman in The Batman. Reva’s been playing the long game, and the closer she gets to Vader, the closer she gets to her triumphant moment of revenge.
However, Episode V also hammered home the fact that Obi-Wan may not be the strongest Jedi, but he’s one of the best there ever was at manipulating people into doing what he wants. He talked Reva into attacking Vader, and clearly it was the wrong time; she was defeated. But still wants her vengeance.
Reva doesn’t care who else she hurts along the way either—including Obi-Wan Kenobi and other Jedis.
While Reva’s main target for revenge was Darth Vader, she doesn’t exactly hold Obi-Wan or any of his Jedi companions in high regard either. In fact, part of her doesn’t really believe that she and Obi-Wan want the same sort of revenge on him at all. As she says during their confrontation:
“Do you really want Anakin dead? Where were you when he was killing my friends? Why didn’t you stop him? Why didn’t you save us?”
Clearly the thought is that Obi-Wan wants to bring Anakin back to the light—not to destroy him.
Reva blames the Jedi who didn’t help her almost as much as the man who carried out the executions. And while that’s flawed thinking, it makes her lone wolf motivations make a good bit of sense.
This all makes Reva a unique villain in the live-action Star Wars canon.
While it kind of seems like Reva should be pretty much dead in the sand after being stabbed through the chest by Darth Vader, it’s clear that she’s going to at least have enough energy to go threaten child Luke Skywalker one last time.
Reva being a force-sensitive person who’s neither directly aligned with our heroes (Obi-Wan, Leia, etc) nor our villains (Darth Vader, Grand Inquisitor, etc) makes her a rare sort of figure in Star Wars: a vigilante seeking her own personal absolution.
Now, we know how things are going to work out: Luke is going to be OK. Luke is, in fact, almost certainly going to have no idea that anything is even going on around him (because, obviously, he’s basically oblivious as a late teen in A New Hope).
But we’d still like to see Reva’s journey continue as one of moral failing. She’s not going to be successful, but it would make for a great Star Wars tragedy—one near the level of Anakin Skywalker—to see a villain who, if the world had not failed her, could have been a hero on the level of someone like Obi-Wan. But because the Jedi failed to properly train Anakin, a villain of a whole new sort was born.
We know that the Star Wars universe is flawed, and this should represent a new and unique way to really visualize the kind of tragedy and dark outcome that those actions can spiral into. A boring redemptive arc would zap those decisions of any major impact.
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