Why don't you like the look of the Grand Inquisitor in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series trailer? Because the fandom of Star Wars are you tired of criticism? Why are criticisms useful, as long as they are not gratuitous insults?
Well yes, we are facing one new controversy inside the Star Wars fandom. After the one about Gina Carano and horrible fat-shaming in Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett, this time in the center of the small cyclone is a secondary character from the Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
This time, however, the writer joins the complaints. In this article, I would like to briefly talk about the issue, argue my position and make some reflections on the complaints of the fandom of Star Wars, which are often also very heavy and free.
In this sense, I underline that I wrote this article starting from some reflections it aroused in me another article on the subject, written by Gaetano Vitulano for the editorial staff of The Insolence of R2D2. Gaetano has a different point of view from mine, but I recommend reading his article because it still brings good arguments.
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What happened and who is the Grand Inquisitor?
As I mentioned, at the center of the week's controversy is a secondary character, namely the Grand Inquisitor. Let's see who he is and where he appears.
For those who are not familiar with the fandom of Star Wars, a small summary: a few days ago it came out the trailer for the series about Obi-Wan Kenobi. The trailer is very nice, basically everyone liked it and, in short, the series promises very well.
However, there is one thing that has attracted the attention of fans negatively. This is the appearance of a character that we first saw in the animated series Star Wars: Rebels. (If you missed it, check it out, because it's a jewel!) The character is the Great Inquisitor, an ex-Jedi Pau'an who now works for the Empire, hunting down Jedi who had escaped Order 66.
The original look of the Grand Inquisitor is what you see below, evidently very inspired by the character design of the Pau'an de Revenge of the Sith. Instead, in the Obi-Wan series, the look is the one in the image above. Off with the elongated skullcap, off most of the Nosferatu aspect, off the yellow eyes and off the sharp front teeth.
You will understand that this change of look did not appeal to many people very much. I am among the discontented, and I would like to say a couple of things.
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The importance of not mistaking legitimate criticism for bullying the actor
First of all, it is essential that any complaints about the character's look do not go to affect the actor, Rupert friend. Friend is a great actor and the voice he gives to the Grand Inquisitor is perfect, absolutely on par with Jason Isaacs' dub in Rebellious. Friend is not the problem.
This would seem obvious and obvious. But it is important to point this out, because unfortunately the Star Wars fandom tends to bully the actors, even very heavily. We have already seen it with Temuera Morrison, Kelly Marie Tran, Jake Lloyd (who played Anakin Skywalker as a child) e Ahmed Best (who played Jar Jar Binks).
In short, the fandom must stop these toxic behaviors: You can criticize without being a cheap bully.
What's wrong with the Grand Inquisitor's look?
So, let's make some criticisms.
For my part, I find that the Grand Inquisitor's look in Obi-Wan Kenobi is a downgrade from the trick we saw in it Revenge of the Sith and with respect to the character design of the character in the series Rebellious.
Facial implants, acting and intrusive makeup
Of course, the actor must be able to move and acting expressively, so he can't have all the paraphernalia the Pau'an had in the Lucas movie. A prosthesis with sharp front teeth would be very problematic for a clear wording, so we can gloss over.
As sad as I am to say it, even the Grand Inquisitor's yellow eyes in Rebellious they can be avoided. In fact, we have already seen that manipulating the eyes of the surroundings too much (with contact lenses or digitally) makes them lose their expressiveness. Perhaps, it would be even less intrusive to give Friend totally black eyes, instead of giving him CGI yellow eyes.
In short, we cannot expect a one-to-one transposition from the animated series to live action, because what works in animation doesn't always look good with real actors.
But the rest, that is the non-elongated skullcap and the skin without the deep vertical grooves, are, always in my opinion, a purely bad job. A prosthesis on the skull does not prevent acting, the grooves on the face are not so intrusive, also because we have seen that Friend already has facial prostheses here, and the same rounded skull cap he wears would look like a prosthesis (but it might not be, given Friend's natural head). So, really, what did it cost to use a prosthesis more in line with the character design of the character in Rebellious, which evidently resumes in Pau'an de Revenge of the Sith?
At least so you would understand to what species the character belongs. Instead, in this trailer, no one could compare him to the Pau'an of Lucas' film: he is a pale human, with a round head and black eyes.
The influence of comics?
Some say that the Grand Inquisitor's appearance in the Obi-Wan series echoes the look they gave him in comics di Star Wars, where in fact its head is more rounded. But, let me tell you, I think this is due to the fact that often in the comics of Star Wars artists don't do a great job of respecting them reference to existing characters: that's why the Grand Inquisitor of comics has nothing to do, aesthetically, with his counterpart in Rebellious.
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The fandom of Star Wars and criticism: a difficult relationship, made more difficult by an often toxic fandom
What are criticisms for
But what's the point of complaining about the look of a secondary character, who appeared in two comics in the cross and introduced in an animated series?
Well, for my part, I think it's important to get these criticisms to Lucasfilm, as over there they have to understand that no, they can't always give the fandom a low quality sop thinking they can always get away with it. If they do a bad costume job, their work will be criticized with memes. If the Grand Inquisitor's look looked bad in the trailer, then it means they did a terrible job of the costume and character presentation.
They could do better, and it is hoped that the criticisms will convince the production to do better: make better costumes, better take care of the design of your characters.
When criticism turns into insult
For fans of Star Wars who read us: yes, the constant criticism got bored. Sometimes it seems that some people look at the works of Star Wars just to complain about it. Sometimes it almost seems like a crime to appreciate the works of Star Wars, because we will be bombarded with negative comments, some even very toxic and aggressive.
I understand that you are tired of all this criticism, because I am a little bit too. Moreover, when the criticisms are so aggressive and polarized they turn into insults towards those who, on the other hand, appreciate the work: "This thing is bad and can only please the stupid fanboy". Thus, we tend to make the parallelism "criticism of the work = insult to my person", or "someone criticizes the work = I cannot like this work".
Legitimate criticism, on the other hand, is different. And it never has to consist of morally judging a person just for his or her tastes on Star Wars. I feel ridiculous to have to say such trivia, but sometimes this fandom seems to forget the basics of civil conversation.
Fortunately, however, at least in Italy there is no lack of virtual spaces in which it is possible to discuss in a not too polarized way and in which we try to counter toxic discussions.
But we can't just like masterpieces
But the world is not divided between masterpieces and rubbish. I will probably enjoy the series very much Obi-Wan Kenobi, and I'll probably like the Grand Inquisitor character in live action, because Friend's interpretation already convinces me. But I don't think I will be able to enjoy the series 100%: there will always be some things that will make me turn up my nose, and that's okay. We will hardly ever find works that are literally tailored to our tastes.
So yes, we have to let the criticisms of the works we like, as long as they are polite criticisms and not insults. Remember that, sooner or later, we all end up stumbling upon something, in the works of Star Wars, which makes us turn up our noses very much and that we will criticize. It is inevitable.
Today, it's my turn with the Grand Inquisitor, a totally irrelevant secondary character who, however, I loved very much in Rebellious. And that yes, I would have liked to have seen it rendered better in the Obi-Wan series. So I'm complaining, hoping Lucasfilm will correct the shot in the future. But if you liked the look of the character or it is neither hot nor cold, I'm happy for you and that's okay.