Everything You Never Knew About Count Dooku in Star Wars

Christopher Lee as Count Dooku

Darth Tyranus, better known as Count Dooku, was one of the main villains of the Prequel Trilogy and The Clone Wars series. Portrayed by the incomparable Christopher Lee, he’s one of the more complicated characters in Star Wars. As a fallen Jedi, he walked both the Light and Dark Side paths. He was an unorthodox Jedi, a trait passed on to his two padawans. Count Dooku might have flourished in the Jedi Order if he had been born in a less rigid era.

While Dooku’s life as a Sith Lord has been well documented in films and television series, his life as a Jedi has been mostly kept to the books and comics. The exception is Tales of the Jedi, which features two shorts of his time as a Jedi and one after he left the Order. If you haven't dove into the Star Wars novels or need a refresher, here are 5 essential facts about Count Dooku’s life as a Jedi.

1. From Royalty

Count Dooku
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

“Count” wasn’t a title Dooku bestowed upon himself when he became evil; he came from actual royalty. His parents, Count Gora and Countess Anya were the heads of the ruling family of the planet of Serenno, and he was the middle child with an older brother named Ramil and a younger sister named Jenza.

Thanks to his cruel father, Dooku didn’t find out his lineage until later in life. Gora became fearful of his infant child’s Force abilities, thinking him a “freak,” and contacted the Jedi Order. Gora didn’t wait for the Jedi to arrive, and he cast his child out of his palace on the edge of the forest with no clothes or identification for the Jedi to find. Dooku was taken back to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, where he was raised.

Years later, as a youngling, Dooku attended a festival on Serenno with a group of Jedi, including Yoda. While there, two other kids caught his eye, and he believed to recognize them. He followed the duo and saw villains attempting to kidnap the kids. Springing into action, he used the Force to chase off the bad guys. Once out of danger, the kids introduced themselves as Ramil and Jenza.

As thanks, Ramil and Jenza take Dooku around the festival, play games, and eat food. At one point, Jenza showed Dooku a carving of a Tirra’Taka, an ancient dragon-like creature with ties to the Dark Side that caused bad luck. Dooku ignored Jenza’s warning, and when he touched the carving, an earthquake occurred, making the building around the kids collapse.

Others came to the children's aid, including Count Gora and Yoda. Upon hearing Dooku’s name, Gora shouted at Yoda that he never wanted to see his son again. At this moment, Dooku finds out about his lineage and realizes he spent the day with his siblings.

He was greatly wounded by the revelation his father abandoned him, which made him meditate thoroughly about his life if he wasn’t a Jedi. Sometime later, Dooku received a communication device from an attendant from Sereno. It was from Jenza, who wished to keep in contact with her brother, and they would send secret messages to each other for decades.

2. Friends With Sifo-Dyas

Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm

As Dooku was raised in the Jedi Order, he became close friends with another boy, Sifo-Dyas. The pair went on many adventures and, as kids do, got into mischief as well. Sifo-Dyas also attended the festival on Serenno with his friend.

Sifo-Dyas was gifted with intense visions of foresight, which the Jedi Council didn’t always take seriously. The future was constantly in flux to Jedi, but Sifo-Dyas’ prophecies had a penchant for being correct. It often frustrated Dooku in his adult years that the Council would ignore Sifo-Dyas’ warnings, especially when they came true, leading to civilian deaths due to Jedi inaction. The visions were so vivid and intense that Sifo-Dyas developed a stutter over the years.

The most crucial vision Sifo-Dyas had foresaw was the coming of the Clone Wars. Again, he was dismissed by the Jedi Council, which he was a sitting member of at the time. He was removed from the Council over his insistence that the Republic needed an army to defend itself.

He took it upon himself to enlist the cloners on Kamino, falsely claiming authority from the Jedi and Republic. He put in the order to build the clone army, but the act caught the eye of the hidden Sith Lord Sidious, living a secret life of Senator Sheev Palpatine.

Tragically, on a confidential mission for Chancellor Valorum, Sifo-Dyas was killed in a crash when the Pyke crime syndicate attacked his vessel. The attack had been orchestrated by his friend, Dooku, now a Sith Lord and acting on orders so the Sith could claim the clone army for their own to set up Order 66.

3. Yoda’s Padawan

Yoda Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

When it was time for Dooku to become a padawan learner, he wanted to be the apprentice of a Jedi named Lene Kostana. Dooku was fascinated with relics and prophecies, and Lene’s specialty was Sith items in particular. He was disappointed when she didn’t choose him, but the feeling didn’t last long when he found out Grand Master Yoda chose him.

Yoda and Dooku would form a close bond as master and student. While Yoda would miss his student, he supported Dooku’s choice to leave the Jedi Order.

4. Rael Averross and Qui-Gon Jinn

Count Dooku
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Dooku had two padawan learners of his own, and both were quite unorthodox Jedi. Rael Averross was brought to the Jedi Order at age 5, leading him to have memories of his parents. He trained with the Jedi Knight for ten years when he became Dooku's padawan. Rael was an expert duelist and had a rogue personality. He saw the Jedi Order’s rules more as guidelines, leading him to smoke, drink, and participate in adult activities (much to the embarrassment of Qui-Gon Jinn). After being forced to kill his own padawan, Nim Pianna, Rael took up a long-term mission on Pijal to bury his grief. After Dooku became a Sith Lord, he contacted Rael to offer him a new secretive power to lure his padawan to the Dark Side. Rael rebuffed Dooku’s offer, saying that he chose the Light Side.

Qui-Gon Jinn would be Dooku’s second padawan. Qui-Gon was good friends with Rael, looking up to the older man as the two often swapped stories about Dooku’s training. Qui-Gon did witness his master’s struggle with the Dark Side over the years, even once witnessing Dooku use Force lightning, a Dark Side tactic, to save Qui-Gon’s life. Thanks to Dooku’s guidance, Qui-Gon also wasn’t one to strictly follow the Order’s rules. While he wasn’t as wild as Rael, Qui-Gon believed in following the will of the Force over the Jedi Code. His actions often led him to butt heads with the Jedi Council, even when Dooku was a sitting member.

5. The Lost Twenty

Count Dooku
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

The secret messages between Dooku and his sister came to be significant during the Invasion of Serenno after Ramil became the new Count. He wished for the people of Serenno to hate the Republic, so he allowed invaders to attack the planet and take over the capital city. Jenza took the lead of a group of resistance fighters and called Dooku, now a Jedi Master, to come to aid her.

The fight for Serenno began with Dooku and Jenza facing their brother and his droid army, an eerie coincidence to Dooku one day leading his own droid army during the Clone Wars. Dooku ended up killing his brother in the skirmish, leaving Serenno leaderless.

Feeling the weight of responsibility for Ramil's actions, Dooku took up the mantle of Count Dooku. By this point in his life, he became disillusioned with the Jedi Order and the corruption of the Republic, and Dooku truly believed he could lead Serenno in a new direction.

Giving his decision to the Jedi Council and Yoda, Dooku became a member of the Lost Twenty, a group of Jedi Masters who renounced the ways of the Jedi and left the Order. A bust of Dooku would be placed inside the Jedi Temple archives on Coruscant, which can be seen in the deleted scenes of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

Even with his departure from the Jedi, Dooku was welcomed back to the temple at any time to visit. This allowed him the freedom to change the archives and delete the planet of Kamino from the archives to hide the clone army being built for Darth Sidious. In the same visit, it would also be the last time he would speak with Qui-Gon before his demise in Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Qui-Gon’s death affected Dooku deeply, as none of the Jedi Council took Qui-Gon’s warning about seeing Darth Maul seriously. It was the last push into the Dark Side as he rebuffed a plea by Master Yaddle to return to the Light Side, and he killed Yaddle, solidifying for good his place as a Sith Lord.

Author: Hope Mullinax

Bio:

Hope Mullinax is a freelance writer with over ten years of experience working for various publications. She’s the Site Expert at Dork Side of the Force, a Freelance News Writer for Collider, and the Animation Staff Writer at The Geeky Waffle. When she’s not writing, she loves on her cats, collects Pokémon cards, and rolls dice on For Light and Dice, a Star Wars TTRPG podcast.