Greetings, Rebelscum fans! We’re continuing our coverage of the Star Wars prequel saga with a week dedicated to Attack of the Clones. Make sure to check out our “Expand Your Mind” section exploring the film’s development, and our “Timeline Breakdown” explored other connections to the Star Wars universe. Stay tuned for more coverage of Episode II when our “Force Facts” offer some fun trivia about the film. Make sure to check out Bobby’s videos adding additional commentary, and exploring the coolest Attack of the Clones merchandise for collectors.
Today with our “Character Profile,” we’re spotlighting the chief antagonist of Attack of the Clones who became Palpatine’s new apprentice after the presumed death of Darth Maul. Lucas selected legendary British actor Christopher Lee for the role. Lee has portrayed some of the most famous villains in film history. He is best known for his role as Dracula in the 1950s Hammer horror films (alongside Grand Moff Tarkin actor Peter Cushing), The Mummy, The Cure of Frankenstein, and as the James Bond villain Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun and the dark wizard Sauraman in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Lee returned to voice Dooku in the 2008 theatrical film Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but Corey Burton took over the role for the series (Burton also voiced Cad Bane and Ziro the Hutt among others). The name “Dooku” itself is derived from the Japanese word “doku,” meaning poison; Tyrannus comes from the Greek word “Tyrannos,” known as the leader of a city-state who won rulership through betrayal. Dooku was developed as the central antagonist of Attack of the Clones after the conception of a shape-shifting villain became Zam Wessell, and the idea of a female villain was abandoned.
Dooku’s backstory in the Expanded Universe fleshed out his days before his descent into darkness. Unlike most Jedi, Dooku grew up outside of the order to rich parents on his homeworld of Serrano before being adopted as an apprentice. A few Expanded Universe storylines introduced Jedi Master Thame Cerulian as Dooku’s master, but later storylines reversed the backstory to officially make Dooku a direct apprentice of Yoda.
As a youngling, Dooku’s best friend Lorian Nod became his chief rival as the two aimed to be adopted by Jedi Masters. After a bitter competition in which Nod was unveiled as a cheater, Dooku grew hardened by the betrayal, and Nod was expelled. Nod held on to his animosities towards Dooku, later becoming a fearsome space Sepratist. He would return to threaten the Jedi Order with an attempted kidnapping of Republic officials while Dooku trained Qui-Gon, and Qui-Gon later exposed Nod’s corrupt ascension to the government of the planet Junction V. Dooku himself slew Nod during the Clone Wars, when he attempted to join the Galactic Republic after rejecting the Sepratist movement.
The new canon has continued to explore Dooku’s complicated relationship with the dark side. Cavan Scott’s audio novel Dooku: Jedi Lost explored more of Dooku’s childhood, and how his relationship with Sifo-Dyas grew as the two developed as Jedi Masters. The novel Dark Disciple, adapted from storylines planned for The Clone Wars before the series was cancelled, depicted an even more brutal Dooku who survives an attempted assassination at the hands of Quinlan Vos and Asajj Ventress.
Dooku is unique among Star Wars villains. His distinctive curved lightsaber made his duels even more engaging, and his senior age gave him a knowledge of the Force not possessed by other Sith. His story is a tragic one; while once a promising hero, he grew corrupted by his pursuit of Sith holocrons and artifacts. Palpatine was able to court his ambition, yet never intended for him to rule at his side. Lee himself made critical changes to Dooku’s death in Revenge of the Sith; he insisted a man of his nobility would never plead for Anakin to spare his life, and the lines were cut.
What do you think, Rebelscum fans? How does Count Dooku rank among your favorite Star Wars villains? What are some of your favorite Dooku moments from Attack of the Clones? Let us know below, and as always, may the Force be with you!