Lispian Random meanderings on whatever catches my fancy

Count Dooku, the Waste of a Great Character

I’ve had long conversations with friends and family about Star Wars over the years, and I still do a Star Wars marathon with the kids now and again — and hope to do the Machete Order next time around. As an aside, the Machete Mix just seems like a great idea and was first proposed by Rod Hilton in a blog post. It’s a re-ordering of the movies into a more logically flowing whole, namely:

  • IV: A New Hope
  • V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • II: Attack of the Clones
  • III: Revenge of the Sith
  • VI: Return of the Jedi

And, yeah, Star Wars I is gone, but who’s going to miss that horrible movie.

It is nice having kids who are as into various types of “geekdom” as is their dad. In fact, they get a big kick out of the stuff and it allows them to enjoy more of popular culture than some other kids do. After all, being alive is being able to, now and again, simply escape into a make-believe world like Star Wars or Star Trek.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand: Star Wars, especially Star Wars II, Attack of the Clones and Star Wars III, Revenge of the Sith. Both are also disappointing in relation to the original 3, but there’s something that has bugged me from the moment I first saw Star Wars Episode II: Count Dooku.

Count Dooku is played by Christopher Lee who is a great actor. But the role is too one-dimensional, and yes I mean one dimensional. Even for Star Wars, that’s one dimension too little.

What bugs me is that Lucas could have made Dooku amazing. It just required a bit of innovation and a move away from the normal “good vs. evil” formula that everyone has to fit into in the Star Wars universe. I mean, how ridiculous is it that there are no shades of grey in Star Wars. Everyone is good or bad, and good triumphs over bad in the end and everyone has a parade — well, that part is actually lame and annoying, but that’s another post that I might write one day.

Anyway, back to Episode II. I recall while watching it originally and having the same feeling each time since that  Dooku is the only realist around. Yoda and the rest of the Jedi are too goody-goody unable to see the realities of the universe. Dooku is the only realist and pragmatist. He should have been shown as a third force, someone whose thinking doesn’t align with the other Master Jedi, who sees where things are headed because he isn’t blinded by “prophesies” or other gibberish. Dooku could have been someone who was able to stand apart from the Jedi and Sith and see that they were both a bunch of idiots about to ruin everything — the Sith evil and the Jedi blindly walking directly into the plot laid out by the Sith Master.

What I believe Lucas should have done is use Dooku as someone who tries vainly to avert the coming crisis by forming an army to confront the looming threat of the Sith, to populate the galaxy with robotic soldiers to maintain the peace that the Jedi will surely squander. And though he is oblivious to the fact another Jedi had similar ideas and created a Clone army, it just allows for an Empire Strikes Back type of climax where you don’t know what happens but thrown into the mix you’re not sure who to cheer for, either! It allows the viewer to realize that when the Jedi were “poo-poohing” the idea of an emergent Sith threat Dooku truly saw the threat, and so did someone else. But instead of realizing the threat is the Sith the Jedi turn their sites on Dooku, believing he’s the problem and use the Clone Army to wipe out the forces Dooku assembled to fight the future Sith threat.

And in this way you’d have a richer Star Wars universe. You have a Jedi who thinks differently. He doesn’t see things as black and white, good vs. evil. He sees that sometimes, to do good, you have to do a bit of evil. This obviously didn’t sit well with the Jedi Council and so he gets excommunicated, but so believes in his mission he does continues it of his own accord. And the Sith Lord then manipulates the Jedi to destroy the threat that Dooku presents because his out-of-the-box thinking, the very maverick within him, so irritates the complacent Jedi Masters.

This should be the climax at the end of the movie. Not with Dooku duking it out with Yoda but with Dooku warning Yoda, telling him where things are going, begging him not to exile him. You can then have Yoda call in the Clone Army to wipe out the droid army leaving Dooku furious as he makes his escape. He should leave by saying something like: “You don’t know what you’re doing nor what you’ve done! This isn’t black and white. The Sith will kill us all yet!”

Ending that way you’d get the desire to see the next movie. Is Dooku right (we know the Sith — or, in particular, Vader — wipe out the Jedi). However, one guy wiping out all the Jedi? No. But what if there’s an internal battle with Jedi who are starting to see that Dooku is right against the rest of the Jedi who see him as a traitor, perhaps a Sith Lord. Then we have the Sith manipulating events to have the two battle things out with the Sith becoming victorious by orchestrating the downfall.

It would have a beautiful linkage to what was happening in the Senate, where the Senate was self-immolating.

But this would require true story-telling. And unfortunately Star Wars appears beyond that. Too bad. Count Dooku held such promise. Such an interesting character with such huge potential, only to be wasted in the final act. He’s evil. He’s a Sith. He’s got that one dimension, nothing else. Bah!

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September 2012
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