Darth Tyranus, at face value, appears to nothing more than Palpatine’s apprentice, a Sith lord working towards the founding of the Empire.
However, despite the prequel films’ lack of development for the famed face of the Separatists, he is a much more complex character – he isn’t just Sheev’s apprentice, playing the long-winded game of one-sided chess.
The beginning of Dooku’s story
He was born in 102 BBY on Serenno to the planet’s rulers, Count Gora and Countess Anya, hence his title. He used this mantle to obscure the fact that he was a Sith. Unlike Vader and Maul, he did not proudly identify as a ‘Darth’, rarely using the title. He was known as Dooku by most, Tyranus by few.
From a very early age, he was force-sensitive, which terrified his father who, because of this, branded him a ‘freak’. His mother summoned the Jedi Order to claim him but rather than waiting, she left him abandoned in the forest, naked and without means of identification. Luckily, a Jedi seeker found the infant and brought him to Coruscant.
With the Jedi, he joined the Hawkbat Clan amongst the younglings Zang Arraira, Arath Tarrex and Sifo-Dyas. He made a connection with Sifo, forming a friendship, and the two along with Yoda travelled to his home world for a parade where a groundquake caused the Great Assembly to collapse.
Yoda called out to him and Dooku’s father heard, leading to a confrontation in which he proclaimed that he never wanted to see his son again. This caused Dooku to question how he ended up in the order and Yoda revealed the truth.
The seeds of doubt
Dooku was taken on as Yoda’s apprentice, a very honourable position to hold. However, his love for the Jedi would soon fade as things began to take a turn.
His close friend, Sifo, had a vision of a deadly solar storm hitting Protobranch but, when informing the Jedi Council, they did not care as they claimed that visions are not absolute. However, this one came true, and due to acting too late, many were killed.
Then, in 84 BBY, Dooku attended his mother’s funeral and he was verbally and physically abused by his father. Not long after, he ventured on another journey with Sifo but he was kidnapped by a dark side group and he had visions of his own future. Following this, he broke out of his confinement, killing his captors with force lightning, a power mostly associated with the Sith.
The Birth of Tyranus
Once Dooku obtained the rank of Jedi Knight and then Master, he took on Rael Averross and Qui-Gon Jinn as his apprentices, whilst also helping Mother Talzin of the Nightsisters.
However, despite what many believe, Dooku departed the Jedi order prior to Qui-Gon Jinn’s death at the hands of Darth Maul.
He returned to his home, taking on the title of Count, overthrowing his very own brother. His newfound fortune was one of the largest in the galaxy, immediately propelling him into a place of power.
Dooku then went quiet, dipping out of the public eye for a while, until he resurfaced as a Sith lord, proudly standing at the helm of the Separatist army. He was also behind the formation of the Clones, as he and Sifo planted Jango Fett as the model
Whilst it is uncertain as to when Dooku was approached by the all-seeing Palpatine to become his new apprentice, it is very likely that this followed the death of Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace because Sheev truly believed that Maul was the perfect fit, the one to be his apprentice.
Whether he accepted out of a hatred for the Jedi, a lust for power or a desire to build something better than the Republic matters not. What matters is that Dooku accepted Palpatine’s offer and became Darth Tyranus.
Dooku was doomed from the start
The fateful moment in which the Count fled from the Jedi order, followed by Maul’s death and his subsequent hiring, marked Dooku for death. The Sith have a rule of two and Palpatine sticks by this rigidly.
[Count Dooku] was a proton torpedo. He served his purpose and he was gone… I had a… superior candidate in mind.Emperor Palpatine
Dooku knew this – the entire time he was under Palpatine, he was trying to recruit his own apprentices to overthrow the Chancellor. Whether it was through Ventress, Opress or even the failed attempt at bringing in Obi-Wan Kenobi, he was constantly preparing for the inevitable.
Palpatine had his sights set on Anakin Skywalker, the most powerful force user he had ever met, since the boy was only a child, a slave. He manipulated the would-be Lord Vader, constantly moulding and grooming him into a potential Sith so that one day, he could turn Skywalker to the Dark Side and replace Dooku in his new Empire.
Count Dooku, for the entirety of the Clone Wars, was as much a pawn in the Emperor’s game as the Jedi Order, the Republic and the Separatists. The only difference was that he knew.
After years fighting the Clone Wars under Palpatine, training Grievous, Ventress, Oppress and building up the Separatist forces, he was cut down by the order of his master who used the man that would replace him.
Dooku had plans, vision, goals and motives that were somewhat in-line with Palpatine, but at his core, he wasn’t nearly as evil. However, the dark definitely took its toll, consuming him piece by piece. The man Dooku was at the start of Attack of the Clones was not the man he was in his final moments.
The fear is rich on his face and he does not go out willingly. It isn’t a moment of bliss, where he understands that his time has come, it’s a moment of horror as he is cut down in his stride.
Where Maul died at peace and Anakin a hero, Dooku was cut down early. Whether he remained silent due to respect for Palpatine or from being choked is unknown, but he was not ready to die and that much is certain.
You can find out more about Count Dooku by checking out the sources that I used to write this article.