- New Star Wars theory suggests Palpatine had an alternate plan for Grand Inquisitor, potentially grooming another Jedi, Pong Krell, for the role.
- Palpatine recruited corrupted Jedi by manipulating their fears and weaknesses, offering them power and knowledge in exchange for allegiance.
- Evidence in Star Wars canon suggests that Palpatine could plant dark dreams and false visions in the minds of Jedi, possibly using this method to groom potential Inquisitors.
A new Star Wars theory suggests Palpatine had an alternate plan for his Inquisitors, originally designing for someone else to serve as his Grand Inquisitor. New insights into Palpatine’s recruitment tactics have recently been revealed in the official canon, confirming that Palpatine was able to corrupt and seduce disenfranchised Jedi well before the end of the Clone Wars and the rise of his Empire. As such, one dark Jedi in particular may have been first selected by Palpatine for a leading role in the sinister Inquisitorius.
Serving directly under the command of Darth Vader, the Inquisitors were a band of dark side agents tasked with wiping out any remnants of the Jedi Order that survived the events of Order 66 as seen in Revenge of the Sith. In the nearly two decades before A New Hope, the Inquisitors were a deadly force to be reckoned with, having given up their old lives and names as Jedi and given numeric designations in service to the Sith Lords. Led by their Grand Inquisitor, it’s possible that the original Grand Inquisitor was meant to be another Jedi entirely.
Palpatine Groomed Potential Inquisitors During The Clone Wars
As confirmed by the new novel Rise of the Red Blade by Delilah S. Dawson, Palpatine had a network of undercover agents positioned as workers throughout the Jedi Temple before Revenge of the Sith. This allowed Palpatine to learn of any Jedi who were discontent with the Jedi Council or were struggling with the dark side. Preying upon their weaknesses and manipulating their fears, Palpatine eventually seduced many into swearing their allegiance with promises of power and knowledge. For these particular corrupted Jedi, Order 66 was not a day of horror but one of perceived freedom as they became Imperial Inquisitors.
However, there’s also evidence in the Star Wars canon that the Sith could plant dark dreams and false visions within the minds of the Jedi. This is something Palpatine could have used to great effect on Jedi he’d targeted as potential recruits for the future Inquisitorius, allowing him to play upon their fears and inner darkness. In the case of many Jedi who were eventually corrupted, Palpatine likely groomed them for years using methods such as this to prey upon their darkest moments while also offering what the Jedi could not.
As confirmed in Star Wars media set during the Empire’s reign such as Star Wars Rebels, EA’s Jedi video games, and Marvel’s Darth Vader comics, Palpatine had at least 13 known Inquisitors under Darth Vader’s command. This includes the Grand Inquisitor, the Inquisitors’ Pau’an leader under Vader featured in Obi-Wan Kenobi who was ultimately defeated by Jedi survivor Kanan Jarrus in the season 1 finale of Star Wars Rebels. However, Emperor Palpatine may have had someone else in mind beyond a former Jedi Temple guard.
Was Palpatine Grooming Pong Krell As A Potential Inquisitor?
Based on what’s known about the rogue Jedi Pong Krell who was featured during The Clone Wars season 4, it stands to reason that he could have been a prime candidate as Palpatine’s original Grand Inquisitor. Having received a vision in the Force of both the Jedi Order and Republic falling to a new order, Krell sought to join and rule as part of that future regime. Having secretly fallen to the dark side, Krell attempted to sabotage the Republic’s campaign on Umbara.
By tricking his clone forces into killing each other, Krell hoped that it would grant him an apprenticeship under Count Dooku himself. However, Captain Rex and his fellow clones of the 501st Legion eventually discovered his treachery and executed the fallen Jedi for his crimes. Had he not been so ambitious, perhaps he would have come into contact with Palpatine, the secret Sith Lord being the one responsible for Krell’s visions as the first step of his potential recruitment as the original Grand Inquisitor.
It’s possible Palpatine was originally grooming Krell to be his future Grand Inquisitor, a Jedi Master rather than a Temple Guard. However, Krell fell too far, too fast, and died as seen in The Clone Wars. While conjecture, it’s certainly an interesting theory supported by the recent new insights into the Inquisitors’ origins. Furthermore, Krell would have looked massively intimidating as a Grand Inquisitor, wielding two double-bladed red lightsabers in the Star Wars galaxy.