Star Wars thoughts: The Redemption of Reva

Having reviewed the six part Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries that recently appeared on Disney+, I wanted to take a closer look at the status of the character of Reva / Third Sister at the end of the series.

Reva, superbly portrayed by actress Moses Ingram, is an incredibly damaged figure. She was a Jedi “youngling” who was in the Jedi Temple when Order 66 occurred. All of her fellow students were murdered by Anakin Skywalker and his Clone Troopers; she only survived by playing dead. Consequently Reva was one of the few beings in the galaxy who knew that Darth Vader is actually Anakin.

The loss of her figurative “family” deeply traumatized Reva, and she desperately wanted “justice” for them. She joined the Imperial Inquisitors who served under Vader in in the hopes of climbing up through the ranks until she might one day get close enough to Vader to kill him. She didn’t care that she was hunting down her fellow Jedi survivors and other force sensitives, that she became everything she hated; all that mattered to her was gaining revenge, no matter how steep the price.

I honestly was not expecting Reva to survive the miniseries; I really believed she was going to get killed either by Obi-Wan or Vader. So it was actually a pleasant surprise that she was still alive at the end of the final episode and, more importantly, that she had chosen to turn away from the dark side of the Force.

Let me explain: In the Star Wars universe there’s a tendency for villains to choose to redeem themselves only to die soon after. The most notable examples are Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. In both their cases, the fact that they died after turning away from evil removed the problematic issue of anyone having to deal with the crimes they committed while they were alive.

There is a saying: “Dying is easy; living is harder.” Redemption is not simply a matter of saying that you will no longer commit evil acts, it also involves making amends for those past crimes. Reva committed numerous terrible atrocities as Third Sister. Now, having made the decision to turn over a new leaf, she ought to have to pay penance for her actions.

Earlier on in the miniseries, a horrified Obi-Wan asks Vader “What have you become?” In the final episode Reva must ask this of herself when she poses a very similar question: “Have I become him?” In response, Obi-Wan tells her “No. You have chosen not to. Who you become now, that is up to you.”

I think there’s a great deal of potential to the character of Reva, to seeing who she now chooses to become.

I wonder if it was a coincidence that Quinlan Vos was name-checked in the third episode of this miniseries. In both the comic books stories by John Ostrander & Jan Duursema from the old “Legends” continuity and in the more recent canon novel Dark Disciple by Christie Golden, Quinlan fell to the dark side and faced a long, difficult struggle to return to the light. Now Reva faces a very similar path.

Having read other blogs, I see there are other Star Wars fans who feel similarly about the character.  There could be some interesting stories to tell about a character Reva now that she must find a new path and work towards correcting the terrible mistakes that she’s made. And I’m sure Moses Ingram would do an amazing job with the material.

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