Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re looking at the origins of Star Wars villain Count Dooku.
For this video, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the life of this Jedi Master turned Dark Lord of the Sith. We’re including information from the anthology series “Tales of the Jedi”, so consider this your spoiler alert.
Is Dooku up there with your favorite Star Wars villains? Tell us in the comments.
Dooku showed immense potential from a young age, but a series of disappointments and tragedies became inflection points that led him down a dark path. The first of these came when he was just an infant.
Born on Serenno in the year 102 BBY, Dooku manifested his Force-sensitivity as a child. However, his father, ruler Count Gora, saw Force-users as freaks, and demanded that the Jedi take him away. He left the infant Dooku naked outside, where spine-wolves would have eaten him had a Jedi-seeker not found him.
He learned of this abandonment as a youngling during a galactic festival on Serenno, after a furious Count Gora rebuked Grand Master Yoda for bringing his son. This is how Dooku discovered who his father was, and that he had a sister, Jenza, and brother Ramil.
Throwing himself into his training, Dooku became incredibly skilled, and would go on to master Form II, a style of lightsaber combat designed for dueling. In fact, during the Initiate Trials, he beat his friend Sifo-Dyas while wearing a blindfold and with one hand behind his back. He had hoped to become the Padawan of Lene Kostana, who studied Dark Side relics, but a higher honor awaited: becoming the apprentice of Grand Master Yoda himself.
Yoda would also disappoint Dooku, however. In 85 BBY, Sifo-Dyas had a Force-vision of a solar storm hitting the planet Protobranch. Unconvinced, Yoda wished to meditate on the vision, and refused to issue a warning. Together with Yoda, Dooku was on the planet when the storm hit, and witnessed its apocalyptic devastation first-hand. Despite massive loss of life, the main concern of Protobranch’s Senator was reduction in its bacta exports. The disaster was a serious blow to Dooku’s faith in the Order and the Republic.
At 20 years old, Dooku returned to Serenno for his mother’s funeral, but was attacked by his hostile father. On a subsequent mission, when a dark side cult captured Dooku, Sifo-Dyas, and Kostana, Dooku had visions of different futures - the Jedi seizing control of the Senate in one, and the Clone Wars and extermination of the Jedi in another. To escape, he used Force lightning to burn the cultists to crisps.
The darkness was building inside him.
One of the greatest Jedi of his time, Dooku became a renowned Jedi Master. He constructed a new lightsaber with a curved hilt, ideally suited to his deft, elegant combat style. He also took on his own apprentices. The first was Rael Averross, who introduced him to Naboo senator Sheev Palpatine, and the second a young Qui-Gon Jinn.
Dooku only became more disillusioned with the Jedi and the Republic, however. While investigating a kidnapping, he saw how Senator Dagonet had neglected his people. Realizing that they had been driven to desperate measures, he took their side against the Senator.
He witnessed corruption again on Raxus Secundus, where rebels had turned on their Senator for bleeding the planet dry. While Dooku remained loyal to the status quo, the words of these ‘rebels’ left a deep mark. His resentment deepened when his departure from orders cost him a seat on the Jedi Council.
Dooku apparently also had a third Padawan, but she fell to the dark side and had to be killed - an embarrassing episode for a Jedi Master.
Dooku’s disgust with the Jedi Order led him to leave. Due to conflicting information, the exact sequence of events isn’t clear. However, in every account, Darth Sidious exploited his resentment toward the Republic to recruit him to the Sith. Dooku collaborated with an unwitting Sifo-Dyas, who had foreseen an upcoming galactic conflict, to create a clone army. Tying up loose ends, he had his old friend murdered and erased the location of Kamino from the Jedi Archives.
When Jedi Master Yaddle caught onto his secret, he had a chance to return to the Light. But he was already in too deep. In an intense duel, he defeated and executed her. In his desire for order and power, Dooku had truly become a creature of the Dark side. With Sidious’ apprentice Darth Maul assumed dead, Dooku took Maul’s place as Darth Tyranus.
At some point, Dooku defied the Jedi Council to help his sister Jenza overthrow their tyrannical brother Ramil, and abandoned the Order to become Serenno’s new Count.
He also trained his own proteges: General Grievous, whose crippling accident he masterminded to rebuild Grievous as a cyborg; and fallen Jedi Asajj Ventress. In order to keep his secrets safe, he had Ventress execute his own sister.
Now ready, in 24 BBY Dooku broke his silence, delivering his famous Raxus Address, which denounced the Republic as futile, corrupt, and favoring the Core Worlds. He founded the Confederacy of Independent Systems, leading to the Separatist Crisis that sparked the first battle of the Clone Wars.
Even at 80, Dooku remained formidable, a match for both Obi-Wan and Anakin. Only his former master, Yoda, was skilled enough to defeat him. Nonetheless, he was able to escape and deliver the plans for the Death Star to Sidious.
Live by the Sword …
As a child, Dooku had been betrayed by a cruel father. In the end, betrayal would define his life.
Since this is more about Dooku’s origins, we won’t go into too much detail about the Clone Wars here. Suffice to say, during the conflict, Dooku betrayed his own apprentice - turning her and her fellow Nightsisters against him. Both of his later apprentices, Savage Opress and Quinlan Vos, turned on him too. Dooku also schemed against his own master, along with anyone who crossed him. Among his most heinous acts was the massacre of the Nightsisters through Grievous.
Once a shining light in the Jedi Order, Dooku ultimately could not escape the tragedy of his past. And his life ended with a final betrayal.