Star Wars has finally explained Count Dooku's fall to the dark side - and it's very similar to Darth Vader. Introduced in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones played by Christopher Lee, Count Dooku has become one of the franchise's most imposing villains. The second Sith Apprentice to Palpatine, Dooku was the mastermind behind the Clone Wars, leading the Separatists in battle against the Republic and ultimately starting the rise of the Empire.
As fascinating a character as Dooku may be, he's also long been something of an enigma. Other prequel trilogy villains have been well-explored in a range of different mediums, with both Darth Maul and General Grievous now fully-fleshed-out, three-dimensional characters. Dooku, however, has been largely relegated to the shadowy mastermind in the background, a Machiavellian schemer who was ultimately betrayed by Darth Sidious.
Lucasfilm has finally begun to correct this, with the first Star Wars audiobook exclusive, Cavan Scott's Dooku: Jedi Lost. This reveals how Dooku became a Jedi, and why a celebrated Jedi Master left the Jedi Order. The story ties in perfectly with Claudia Gray's recently-published novel, Master & Apprentice, which featured a brief cameo from Dooku and hinted he'd been trained by Palpatine before Maul was killed in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Together, these books change how fans will view Dooku going forward.
Jedi are traditionally separated from their birth family, but Dooku ended up reuniting with sister Jenza as a teenager and was repeatedly drawn back into the affairs of his homeworld of Serenno. At the same time, he grew increasingly disillusioned with the Jedi Council, believing they were bound to the politics of the Republic rather than the Force. Matters came to a head when Serenno was invaded by raiders and the Republic chose not to intervene. Dooku disobeyed orders to liberate his homeworld in spectacular fashion, controlling a Sith War Beast in a devastating attack upon the raiders. With the invaders repelled, Dooku elected to leave the Jedi and inherit the title of Count of Serenno.
That is a rather sharp divergence from Dooku's history in the old, non-canon Expanded Universe. The EU's version of Dooku's fall from grace focused on his philosophical dispute with the Jedi Council, which worsened after disastrous campaigns on the planets Galidraan and Baltizaar. This rationale never quite felt personal enough to drive a Jedi Master to the dark side, and is likely why Lucasfilm's taken their time with a do-over.
This new Star Wars backstory essentially transforms Count Dooku into something of a tragic hero, a powerful Jedi who really did want to make a difference in the galaxy, but felt unable to do so under the constraints of the Jedi Order. What's more, many of his complaints were well-founded; the close relationship between the Jedi and the Republic was indeed a major problem, one that ultimately drew the Jedi into the Clone Wars.
The parallels to Darth Vader are clear; Anakin Skywalker would similarly be drawn to Palpatine when he felt the Jedi dogma was obstructing the greater good. This highlights a recurring trait of Palpatine and makes the young Jedi's fall all-the-more inevitable.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019