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Count Dooku (Darth Tyranus)

Star Wars Character Profile

By

Count Dooku

Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) in Attack of the Clones.

Lucasfilm Ltd.

Count Dooku was one of the Lost Twenty, Jedi Masters who voluntarily left the Jedi Order due to ideological differences. Under the guidance of Darth Sidious, he became a Sith, Darth Tyranus. He did not realize until it was too late that Sidious was only using him to create the Clone Wars, the massive conflict that helped usher in the Galactic Empire.

Early Life and Fall of Count Dooku

Dooku was born in 102 BBY into a noble family on the planet Serenno. He was taught by Yoda as a youngling. At the age of 13, he became the apprentice of Jedi Master Thame Cerulian, a scholar of the dark side of the Force. After Dooku became a Jedi Knight, he trained Qui-Gon Jinn as his apprentice. As a Jedi Master, Dooku was asked to join the High Council; he initially declined, but later accepted.

Yoda and Mace Windu were the only Jedi to match Dooku’s skill with a lightsaber. For a time, Dooku taught lightsaber techniques to students at the Jedi Temple.

After seeing Jedi lives lost for political reasons, Dooku became disillusioned with both the Republic and the Jedi Order. Around the age of 70, he left the Jedi Oder, returned to Serenno, and claimed his family title of Count. Although he initially fought the Sith, Dooku came to believe that the dark side could not be stopped. He became the apprentice of Darth Sidious after realizing that they had similar goals. As a Sith, he took the name Darth Tyranus.

The Clone Wars

A former colleague of Count Dooku, Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas, had a premonition of the Clone Wars over a decade before they occurred. In order to protect the Republic, he secretly instructed the cloners on Kamino to create a clone army. Darth Sidious ordered Tyranus to kill Sifo-Dyas in order to test his loyalty. Afterwards, Tyranus recruited Jango Fett to serve as the subject of the clone army, paid for its creation, and erased Kamino from the Jedi Archives to hide his tracks.

Beginning in 24 BBY, Count Dooku publicly led the Separatist Movement, which called for planets to secede from the corrupt Republic. At first, the Jedi believed that rumors of Dooku’s involvement were merely propaganda. When Obi-Wan Kenobi encountered him on Geonosis, however, he realized that Dooku had fallen to the dark side. Dooku incapacitated Kenobi and cut off Anakin Skywalker’s arm in a battle, but was unable to defeat Yoda; instead, he distracted the Jedi Master and made his escape.

Dooku served as the Separatist leader throughout the Clone Wars. He also trained at least two Dark Jedi apprentices -- Asajj Ventress and Savage Oppress -- and taught General Grievous how to fight with lightsabers.

Death of Count Dooku

Near the end of the Clone Wars in 19 BBY, Chancellor Palpatine -- who was really Darth Sidious -- set up his own capture by Count Dooku. When Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi came to the Chancellor’s rescue, Count Dooku severely underestimated how much their fighting skills had improved. While he was able to knock out Obi-Wan, Anakin overpowered him and cut off both his hands.

Although Dooku realized that Anakin was strong in the dark side, he did not know about Palpatine’s ultimate plan to make Anakin his new apprentice -- so when Palpatine encouraged Anakin to kill him, it took him by surprise. His last thoughts were, “Treachery is the way of the Sith.”

Behind the Scenes

George Lucas considered several different ideas for Darth Sidious’ new apprentice in Attack of the Clones. Early character designs a shapeshifting alien, who would eventually become the bounty hunter Zam Wessell, and a female villain who would eventually become Asajj Ventress, Dooku’s apprentice. According to Christopher Lee’s autobiography, the name “Dooku” comes from the Japanese word for poison, “doku.”

Christopher Lee portrays Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Stuntman Kyle Rowling served as the body double for most of Dooku’s combat scenes. Lee also voiced Dooku in the film The Clone Wars. Corey Burton voices Dooku in The Clone Wars the animated series, while Jeff Bennett has provided the voice in video games.

Read More

  • The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force by Daniel Wallace (2010)
  • Labyrinth of Evil by James Luceno (2005)
  • Legacy of the Jedi by Jude Watson (2003)
  • Episode III: Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover (2005)
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