One of the more memorable and interesting characters from the Star Wars prequels was the leader of the CIS separatist faction, Count Dooku. Brought to life by legendary actor Christopher Lee, Dooku is a standout in many ways and had a lasting effect on the events of the Star Wars Clone Wars.
With a large body of wealth, a stronger connection to The Force than most, and a skillset that made him one of the most dangerous swordsmen ever, Dooku was the primary threat for the Republic forces during most of the war. When Dooku left the Order, his knowledge and power were a great loss for the Jedi.
Older and more experienced than almost any other Jedi, he used his genius to push the Republic and the Order to near desperate measures by commanding the droid army, using his political savvy to turn systems against the Republic, and even training General Grievous.
Under the wing of the Emperor, Dooku’s considerable strength was further enhanced by the power of the Dark Side. Yet, despite taking the mantle of Darth Tyranus, Dooku is arguably the least evil of the Sith Lords. His fall was his own choice and the result of many years of disagreements with the politics of the Republic. In his own misguided way, he felt that their bloated bureaucracy was no longer functioning in the galaxy’s best interests.
Complex, intelligent, and dangerous, Dooku embodies the best and worst qualities of a Force sensitive person.
Here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Star Wars‘ Count Dooku.
15. He Was An Apprentice Of Yoda And The Emperor
Dooku spent nearly his entire life learning and practicing the ways of The Force, and his command of it grew to such a high level that he was recruited by powerful Jedi and Sith alike. When he was a youngling, he displayed a keen ability with The Force that was well beyond the rest of his peers.
In his adolescence, he was recruited by Master Yoda himself, and went on to become a Knight and Master in time. He developed a diverse range of skills in both Force use, combat, and diplomacy. His fighting skill was particularly admired and he was considered among the top duelists in the galaxy.
All of these abilities, as well as his ambition, led Emperor Palpatine to recruit him during the Clone Wars to lead the separatists against the Republic. He never realized until the very end that he was used as a placeholder apprentice, but served both the Jedi and Sith as one of their top commanders. There is no better testament to his abilities than the fact that he was personally recruited by the leaders and most powerful of both the light and dark sides of The Force.
14. He Was The Last Of The Lost Twenty
The Jedi Order has a history going back thousands of years, and in that time there have been many who have fallen to the dark side. However, there is a particular group of fallen Jedi who are regarded as sources of shame and failure of the Order: The Lost Twenty.
What sets them apart from other fallen Jedi is that every member of the Twenty was a Master who resigned from the Order over ideological differences. Not simply tempted by the power of the Dark Side, these Masters believed that the Jedi were wrong.
In the Jedi Archives, there is a hall with bronze busts of all twenty that serves as a reminder that the Order is not perfect, and they are used as a lesson to the Masters that the Order must always look to improve itself.
Each bust contains the great deeds that these Masters performed in their time with the Order but not why they left, showing how the Jedi reflect inward on themselves rather than condemning the fallen for their choice. Dooku was the last of them, as the Order was wiped out at the end of Revenge of the Sith.
13. He Was Originally Going To Be Female
George Lucas has been known to change a lot of his ideas throughout the filmmaking process. There are many pieces of concept art from the mvoies that differ from the final product, and one of the most interesting is a piece that depicts Dooku as a female character.
The earliest drafts of the script for Episode II name the character “Countess Dooku.” Some of these designs include never before seen species in the Star Wars Universe, such as a Medusa-inspired Sith Lord with snake hair, an aquatic-looking species similar to the Kaminoans, and a droid character that would eventually become General Grievous.
There was a final, shape-shifting design that was nearly used, but when Christopher Lee was recruited for the film, the character was shelved. We have yet to see a female Sith in the movies, so this was an unfortunate turn of events in a way. However, the concept lived on and became the memorable villain Assajj Ventress in the Clone Wars series.
12. He Was Born Into Wealth And Power
It may be confusing to some fans to know that Dooku has two titles: Count Dooku and Darth Tyranus. This is due to the fact that he only embraced his hereditary title after the events of Episode I.
Dooku was born into a very wealthy and influential family on the planet Serenno in the Outer Rim Territories. The Dooku family were very powerful both in terms of wealth and political influence, and it’s no accident that they were one of the cornerstones of the Confederacy during the Clone Wars.
Dooku’s parents proudly allowed their son to be trained by the Jedi Order when they called on him because it would be a great honor for a family member to become a Jedi, though he would hold no titles so long as he remained a Jedi.
Dooku’s long held resentment of the Republic finally came to a head when his former apprentice Qui-Gon Ginn was killed in Episode I, and he renounced his Jedi title and returned to Serenno to act as Count. Interestingly, we’ve known him as Count Dooku, Jedi Master Dooku, and Darth Tyranus, but George Lucas has never revealed his first name, and it’s possible we’ll never know it.
11. He Had Jabba The Hutt’s Son Kidnapped
In the early parts of the Clone Wars, one of Dooku’s main goal was to gather as many systems to the side of the Confederacy as he could. One particular plot crafted by the Sith was the kidnapping of Jabba the Hutt’s son, Rotta.
Based on Nar Shaddaa, the Hutts were a very powerful family and the primary figures in a galactic crime and smuggling ring outside the Republic’s territory. Dooku enlisted the help of Rotta’s uncle Ziro to kidnap the infant Hutt and blame the entire incident of the Jedi, thus putting the Hutts in debt to the Sith.
Having convinced Jabba that Rotta was killed by the Jedi, the plot was supposed to end with the death of Anakin Skywalker, but Anakin and his apprentice Ahsoka were able to trick Dooku by separating, with Anakin acting as a decoy while Ahsoka took Rotta to safety.
In the end, Anakin fought Dooku to a draw and he, Ahsoka, and Senator Amidala foiled the plot and revealed the truth to Jabba. A tough loss for the Sith, but the war was still in their favor, and the Hutts would continue to be on friendly terms with the Empire.
10. His Lightsaber Was Designed To Maximize His Fighting Style
Possibly the most memorable trait of Dooku was just how dangerous of a fighter he was. He was among the top duelists of his era and probably one of the best duelists of all time. Dooku was a master of form 2, Makashi, sometimes called The Contention Form. This style was designed specifically for fighting other lightsaber wielding opponents, and accentuated all of the traits of Count Dooku’s character, such as elegance, fluidity, and balance.
The style focused on technique not power, and in the hands of a true master like Dooku, it allowed more focus to deflect Force attacks while simultaneously engaging in swordplay. Dooku made his lightsaber with a curved hilt, enabling him to further perfect the lunges, parries, slashes, and finesse that the makashi form emphasizes.
The form was somewhat outdated at the time because it was created during Old Republic time, long before the Sith’s Rule of Two was employed. Because of this, not many modern Jedi had experience dueling another lightsaber opponent and used other forms, but Dooku practiced the style his whole life. His proficiency, as well as his unfamiliar fighting form, made him the most dangerous Sith of the Clone Wars without question.
9. He Had Three Apprentices After Turning To The Dark Side
The Sith’s Rule of Two, which was started by Darth Bane long ago, states that there can only be two true Sith operating at any time– a Master to wield the power and an apprentice to desire it. This was to maximize the art of deception and subterfuge because the Sith could not defeat the Jedi in conventional war.
However, many Sith have skirted this rule over the years and Dooku was no different. The first of his apprentices was the fan favorite Assajj Ventress, who was a major antagonist for most of her time in the Clone Wars and rival of Ashoka. The second was Savage Opress, who was used as a tool for revenge on the Count by his first apprentice, Assajj.
The third was a Kiffer and former Jedi master Quinlan Vos. Though Vos had fallen under Sith influence, he and Assajj eventually became lovers and she became focused on saving him from the Dark Side. In the end, Assajj sacrificed her life to save Vos, breaking the Dark Side’s grip on him forever, and he returned to the Jedi for the rest of the war.
8. One Of His Apprentices Was Darth Maul’s Brother
Dooku’s apprentice Savage Opress was the most mysterious. After Assajj was nearly killed by Dooku, she hatched a plot for revenge and staged a brutal tournament to determine who was strong enough to serve in her plot. That person turned out to be Opress, who under the guise of servitude, became an apprentice to Dooku.
When Assajj finally sprung her trap, it had unforeseen consequences. Neither Assajj nor Dooku himself could contain Opress, and after he broke Assajj’s spell of control, the plan devolved into a three way lightsaber duel with no victor. However, Opress had managed to break free of both Assajj and Dooku.
Free of his apprenticeship to the Count, Opress would go on to become a major player in his brother Darth Maul’s story arc for the rest of the series. It was he who rescued Maul after he was cut in half by Obi-Wan and brought him to their home planet. He would fight alongside his brother in his quest for revenge against Obi-Wan until his death and the hands of The Emperor.
7. He Supported The Death Watch Faction On Mandalore
One of the hardest points of contention for the Jedi during the Clone Wars was the struggle over the loyalty of the Mandalorians. They were a notoriously warlike people from the planet Mandalore, and have been enemies of the Jedi since the days of the Old Republic.
Despite not possessing any Force wielders, they have killed many Jedi over the years. During the Clone Wars, a civil war gripped Mandalore, with a pacifist faction in control and Death Watch, the traditionalists, trying to take over.
Dooku saw a great opportunity to recruit the ancient Jedi enemies into the Confederacy, knowing that they are among the best warriors in the galaxy. This was a complicated and grueling series of battles and plots, including terrorist actions from Death Watch that killed prominent diplomats.
Mandalore was occupied for a time by the Watch, but after they were ordered to stand down after a failed assassination attempt on Duchess Kryze, they broke from the Confederacy and allied with Darth Maul and his brother to form to dreaded Shadow Collective.
6. He Was Once captured And Ransomed By Pirates
Many powerful characters have had bad spots in their time. Anakin and Obi-Wan have been captured many times, as have other Jedi. However, we hardly ever see this happen to a Sith. One of the more embarrassing moments of Count Dooku’s life was when he was captured by a band of spacefaring pirates.
It all started with a plan by Anakin and Obi-Wan, where Anakin would board Dooku’s ship and allow himself to be captured then spring the trap and the two would take Dooku out together. Things didn’t go as planned, however, and both parties had to exit the ship and crash land on the nearest planet.
Dooku evaded the Jedi but ran into a pirate gang led by Hondo Ohnaka. At this point, he was at their mercy and they were deciding whether to ransom him to the Jedi or Sith. Anakin and Obi-Wan eventually met the pirates and managed to trick them into drinking drugged alcohol.
5. Christopher Lee’s Head Was Digitally Inserted On His Body During Most Of His Fight Scenes
Christopher Lee brought gravitas to any character he portrayed, and was thus a perfect fit for Dooku. However, he had one limitation. Lee was 80 during Episode II and III, and though he remained very active, he simply could not meet all of the physical requirements that his character’s fighting ability demanded.
Of his many accomplishments, Lee was an expert swordsman in real life and prided himself on performing his own fight scenes throughout his career.
However, due to his age, a double was used in Star Wars for far shots that required athletic speed and coordination. The most famous scene is the duel between he and Yoda in Episode II.
George Lucas said that this was possibly the most nerve wracking scene in the whole series because it would be the first time showing Yoda fighting, and if it went badly it would follow him forever. Luckily, Lee showed off his skills with the green screen.
4. He Held A Deep Resentment For Mace Windu
Dooku’s disillusionment with the Jedi didn’t often shake his exterior since he was, after all, a Jedi Master himself. However, one Master stood out to him as someone who embodied all of his disgust for The Order: Mace Windu.
Windu held great power on the Council, second only to Yoda, and Dooku blamed a series of what he saw as political and moral missteps on him. One of the worst was when Dooku first encountered Jango Fett. They were on opposite sides of a battle that left most of its combatants dead, including 11 Jedi. Fett lost and was captured, but it was Dooku who was ordered to turn him over to the local government, who sold him into slavery.
Dooku saw this as unfathomable because the Jedi knew what would happen. Angered that they were okay with slavery, he blamed Mace for the arrogance of the Council. Mace’s pride could also be seen when he refused to believe that Maul was a Sith Lord when Qui-Gon Jinn told him this because he felt that the Jedi would have sensed him.
3. The Emperor Personally Sought Him For His Wealth
The Emperor worked for decades from the shadows toward the elimination of the Jedi, and he saw a perfect opportunity to further damage them in Dooku. Palpatine sensed Dooku’s detachment from the Jedi and manipulated him into becoming his apprentice.
This wasn’t simply to acquire a Jedi Master, but to use Dooku’s assets for his own gain. When he renounced the Order, Dooku reclaimed his formerly discarded title as Count of Serenno. His family’s wealth was enormous. He could fund the droid armies across dozens of systems, bribe officials and generals, and facilitate supply and information lines across the galaxy.
Dooku did all of this to great efficiency. Additionally, Serenno is in the Outer Rim, and his family’s great history and political power swayed much of the systems that would go on to form the CIS. Dooku’s acquisition was one of the Emperor’s best moves because it helped his cause in nearly every way and allowed him to further his plans and continue the war.
2. He Was Motivated By Power
Dooku was an idealist. Though he was a borderline sociopath who had little regard for sentient life, he still held onto the idea that he could make the galaxy a better place. His hatred for the Jedi’s bureaucracy, indecision, and moral ambiguity led him to think that he had been aiding a cause that harmed the galaxy at large for years. He felt that the entire Republic was corrupted by the Jedi and must be destroyed and built from the ground up.
Though this sounds evil, Dooku never aspired to establish a totalitarian empire the way Palpatine did. He never knew of Sidious’ ultimate plot, and genuinely felt that he would bring about a better alternative for everyone with himself as the leader.
He decided that he must use any means necessary to better the galaxy. Normally this would not be an option for a Jedi Master, but when he saw the moral failings of the Order, he regarded them as hypocrites who didn’t adhere to their own philosophy. Though the Dark Side had influenced him, Dooku’s reasoning was more misguided than it was evil, and one can see why he made the choices he did.
1. He Was An Example Of The Flaws Of The Jedi Code
Count Dooku’s story arc stretches almost as wide as any character in the series, and we can see through his experiences that the Jedi’s fall was due in no small part to their own flaws. For most of his life, he embodied all the good things a Jedi can be– strong, wise, intelligent, and able to work for the benefit on the galaxy.
He didn’t regret giving up his possible life of wealth when he was a child because, at least at the time, he believed in the Jedi. However, as time went on, Dooku’s many issues with the Jedi were not created from emotion alone. Instead, they were based on reason and the objectivity of an observer.
It is true that the Jedi became too arrogant and complacent in their position. It’s also true that they accrued too much power and influence to be used within the Republic structure, and that they refused to learn from their mistakes.
Dooku was never truly evil. This was especially evident after Qui-Gon Jinn’s death, which he was deeply affected by. Dooku’s failure as a Jedi Master was due to the underlining issues of the Jedi Order. It’s too bad that they only learned this after it was too late.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about Star Wars‘ Count Dooku? Let us know in the comments!
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