Warning: This article contains spoilers for the first season of Star Wars: The Jedi Chronicles.
Star Wars fans can be forgiven for not being too excited about the animated anthology series The Jedi Chronicles. The Tales of the Jedi comics are set thousands of years before the movies, a time when the galaxy is a much wilder place and the Jedi and Sith are at open war with each other. The animated series, on the other hand, is set in the time of the Prequel Trilogy and focuses mainly on the familiar faces of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. After all this time, it seems Disney Remains Reluctant to Venture Outside the Boundaries of Star Wars Movies.
But if The Jedi Chronicles lacks the ambition and scope of the original comics, yes it contributes something vital. The first season does something that not even The Clone Wars did, by giving a new depth and vision of Count Dooku. The promise of Episode III that the Clone Wars were filled with heroic characters on both sides of the conflict is finally fulfilled.
This is enough for fans of the prequels to have to watch this series. let’s explore how the series is able to add so much to this enigmatic Star Wars villain.
Count Dooku: Intergalactic Man of Mystery
Christopher Lee’s Count Dooku is probably the second most important villain of the prequels, even though he only gets fairly limited screen time in Episodes II and III. Attack of the Clones casts him as the underground leader of the separatist movement, a former Jedi Master who left the Order and has spent the last decade quietly helping Darth Sidious orchestrate a galactic civil war. In Revenge of the Sith, Dooku doesn’t even make it out of the first act of the film before meeting his end at the cybernetic hand of Anakin Skywalker.
There are a lot of things those movies don’t tell us about Dooku. What prompted you to leave the Jedi? When exactly was he recruited by Palpatine? Does he really believe in the separatist cause or, like his teacher, is he only interested in gaining power and influence?
The Clone Wars spent seven seasons developing the period between Episodes II and III and exploring how characters like Ahsoka Tano, Captain Rex, and Asajj Ventress fit into this devastating conflict. The series promised to be based on an idea that was only hinted at in the first chapter of Episode III, the notion that “there are heroes on both sides”.
Whether he actually succeeded in that goal is open to debate, but it’s hard to deny that The Clone Wars didn’t really take advantage of Dooku as one of its main villains. The character appears in many episodes, often clashing with Anakin and Obi-Wan and sometimes even plotting against his master with minions such as Ventress and Savage Opress. However, as the series catches up with the events of Episode III and makes its last stop in season seven, there is still much we don’t know about Dooku and his past. Expanded Universe stories, like the Darth Plagueis novel, filled in some crucial gaps for a time, but those stories are no longer part of the official Star Wars canon.
Dooku is an enigma as much now as he was in 2002. Or, at least, It was until The Jedi Chronicles came along..
El origen secreto de Darth Tyrannus
Dooku is essentially one of the two main protagonists of the first batch of Star Wars: The Jedi Chronicles episodes, all of them set before the character’s live-action debut in Attack of the Clones. These three shorts, despite being roughly the length of a single episode of The Clone Wars, they reveal much more than that series did about what motivated Dooku’s decision to leave the Jedi Order.
If there is something that can be extracted from these three short films, it is that Dooku was a man of strong principles in his days as a Jedi Knight.. He, more than anyone in the Order, is fed up with the corruption of the Galactic Senate. Dooku despises the fact that the Jedi have become defenders of the status quo rather than the benevolent guardians of the peace that they were meant to be. Dooku’s idealism pits him against his fellow Jedi, even costing him a seat on the Jedi Council. And it’s not hard to imagine that some of that headstrong attitude rubbed off on his Padawan, Qui-Gon Jinn.
This finally comes to a head in Dooku’s third episode, which takes place at the same time as the end of The Phantom Menace. As Masters Yoda and Windu attend Qui-Gonn’s funeral on Naboo, Dooku is forced to choose between his loyalty to the Order and his alliance with Darth Sidious. In the end, Dooku chooses the Dark Side. When Dooku attacks Yaddle, his old self is gone and Darth Tyrannus is born.
By the time Dooku attacks Yaddle, his old self has disappeared and Darth Tyrannus has been born.
That episode even resolve a loose end from Attack of the Clonesas we learn that it was Dooku himself who erased Kamino’s existence from the Jedi Archives shortly before his defection.
These three episodes may only show us specific moments in Dooku’s long career, but they reveal much about his motivations and his role as an outsider in the Jedi Order. Indeed, there was a time when he really believed in the separatist cause. As cruel and ruthless as Dooku was during the Clone Wars, he had his reasons for defecting from the Jedi and becoming a Sith Lord.
That makes his abrupt death in Revenge of the Sith even more tragic. Dooku wasted his life to serve a man who gleefully discarded him like a broken tool at the first opportunity. He started down this path with noble intentions, and in the end that choice cost him everything.
How Dooku is reflected in Anakin Skywalker
Star Wars: The Jedi Chronicles not only gives Count Dooku the story he’s been missing for 20 years, but also reveals just how far this character’s rise and fall reflect that of his replacement, Anakin Skywalker. Emperor Palpatine definitely has marksmanship when it comes to recruiting powerful yet disposable minions.
Both Anakin and Dooku are men who spend most of their careers taking on the Council and resisting the rules and restrictions that govern the Jedi Order. Dooku is enraged at the Republic’s corruption and inaction. And Anakin (a former slave boy) knows very well that the galaxy is riddled with injustice.
They both break the rules in search of what they consider to be a greater good. And both feel the pull of the Dark Side and the allure of limitless power to right wrongs.
Dooku’s final turn to the Dark Side acts as a clear parallel to Anakin’s terrible choice in Revenge of the Sith. As he will later do with Anakin, Palpatine goads Dooku into killing Yaddle and demonstrating his commitment to their shared cause. Like Anakin, Dooku is plagued by doubt and indecision, but ultimately decides that the only way forward is to embrace the power that Palpatine offers him.
We doubt that Anakin ever understood how much he has in common with his nemesis.. To him, Count Dooku was nothing more than an enemy to conquer and an old score to settle.
But Dooku must have seen something of himself in this promising Jedi Knight who was being drawn to the Dark Side. Maybe Dooku even harbored secret thoughts of turning Anakin himself and overthrowing Palpatine together. We can only hope that a future season of Star Wars: The Jedi Chronicles will delve deeper into that connection. This series has reinvigorated Count Dooku as a Star Wars villain, but there’s no reason for his story to end here.
Are you happy with the way The Jedi Chronicles has developed this iconic Star Wars villain? What other Jedi would you like to see in the spotlight in season two? Let us know what you think in the comments, and then check out all the Star Wars movies and series currently in development.