If you’re an eBay seller of Count Dooku collectibles, there’s a good chance that Star Wars author Cavan Scott is one of your customers.
“I’ve bought a lot of merchandise in the last couple of weeks,” Scott, writer of the upcoming audio drama Dooku: Jedi Lost, tells StarWars.com with a laugh. “Some of it arrived the other day, and my wife just looked at the big box and went, ‘That’s another Dooku thing, isn’t it?’ ‘Yes. Yes it is.’”
For Scott, writing Dooku: Jedi Lost has made him a bigger fan of the character than he ever was before — and that’s because his story is not just about revealing Count Dooku’s past, but exploring how a mixture of personality and circumstance led to the villain he’d become.
“There has to be a reason he’s so shut down,” Scott says of the cold, manipulative Sith Lord. “And it can’t just be because he’s been turned by Darth Sidious.”
Dooku: Jedi Lost, coming April 30, will investigate Dooku’s early days training Asajj Ventress, and in turn, his journey to becoming the Sith Lord we meet in Star Wars: Attack the Clones — one who would murder his friends and start a war that would tear the galaxy apart. As the story unfolds prior to the beginning of the Clone Wars, Dooku’s sister has gone missing; he dispatches Ventress to find her in a surprising first — and very personal — mission for his new assassin. “In doing this, she starts discovering stories of Dooku and his sister from when they were very young,” says Scott, “and we find out that Dooku, even though he joined the [Jedi] Temple at a very early age, still kept in touch with his family.”
Indeed, as Ventress learns about her new master, so will we. “We meet his family,” Scott says. “We meet his father. We meet his sister. We meet his brother. We go from him being a Padawan in the temple, right through the moment he tells the Council he’s leaving. So it’s his entire life.” We’ll see Dooku as a Padawan with his master, Yoda, adventuring with his best friend Sifo-Dyas — who would later take the fall for the creation of the clone army — and his time with his own Padawan learners. Pulling back the curtain on one of Star Wars’ biggest bad guys is no small venture, especially when mystique is part of the villain’s character.
“One of the questions we had to ask ourselves was, ‘Why would he open up?’” Scott says. “It was a bit of a blank canvas. I’ve drawn from some things we’ve known from Legends about Dooku. But it’s a very different story.”
The blank canvas proved “liberating” for Scott. He worked closely with author Claudia Gray, who was writing Star Wars: Master & Apprentice at the same time; this was particularly beneficial when it came to the inclusion of Rael Averross, Dooku’s Padawan after Qui-Gon Jinn, who appears as an older Jedi in Gray’s book. “In Jedi Lost we see him with Dooku and Qui-Gon, as well,” Scott says. “So there is a relationship between Qui-Gon and Averross.”
One challenge facing Scott was showing Dooku before he turned to the ways of the Sith, while not undercutting his impact as a villain, or making him too sympathetic. “He doesn’t start off as the man we now know,” Scott says. “But there’s always a sense that he knows that he’s better than everyone in the room. And there’s an arrogance there right from the beginning.”
Scott illustrates this through his relationship with Sifo-Dyas, who received only a mysterious mention in Attack of the Clones and was fleshed out a little more in The Clone Wars. “He’s a bit of an outsider as well, so the two of them at the temple just come together,” Scott says. “Sifo-Dyas is there to say, ‘Just remember you’re the same as the rest of us.’ And they encourage each other to perhaps push the boundaries of what they should be doing.”
In exploring a Jedi who pushes these boundaries, Scott was keen not to retread previous stories in the same vein. His way of avoiding this pitfall came down to a major realization of what separates Dooku from one of the saga’s icons. “Whereas Anakin was always saddled with being the Chosen One, Dooku wants to be the Chosen One,” he says. “Right from the off, he thinks he’s better than everyone.” And perhaps, this ambition and arrogance doesn’t go unnoticed. “Pablo [Hidalgo] pointed out that Yoda taking a Padawan was huge. There would be a reason that Yoda would want to take him.” And while this is not quite the tale of his seduction by Darth Sidious, it looms large. “The dark side plays a part throughout,” Scott says, “because I think it’s always there in his nature.”
And the dark side certainly comes into play with Asajj Ventress, Dooku’s newly minted Sith apprentice at the start of Dooku: Jedi Lost. Scott’s first time writing the character — a favorite of his daughters — he found her incredibly layered and complex. And in Dooku: Jedi Lost, she may be at her lowest. “She’s at quite a difficult point in her life,” he says. “She’s been a slave. She’s seen her master die. And then she basically goes into another form of servitude, willingly to a certain degree. She’s not quite the Ventress we know from later on.” Scott worked to define Ventress’s thinking at this time: her desire to be christened as a Sith — and her feelings of not completing her Jedi path. “It’s called Jedi Lost,” he says. “It’s not just about Dooku.”
Dooku: Jedi Lost promises to change the way we see both Ventress and Dooku. But for the Sith Lord, it will deliver something previously elusive: a deeper appreciation. “That’s the whole point of doing this kind of project,” Scott says. “We want people to identify more with him and understand him more. He’s the character now for me, personally, that I wanted him to be when I went to see Episode II.”
Dooku: Jedi Lost arrives April 30 and is available for pre-order now.
Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.
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