Tales of the Jedi on Disney+ shows how and why Count Dooku fell to the Dark Side, retconning a bit of the novel Dooku: Jedi Lost. This article will go through why Dooku fell and which bits got retconned. This article will have spoilers for Tales of the Jedi season 1, episodes 2-4.
Count Dooku is a major villain in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, appearing in Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and several books and video games. However, for the most part, fans have only seen him as a villain and not as the Jedi that we knew he was. Episodes 2-4 of Tales of the Jedi give audiences a substantial look at his time in Order and why he fell.
These shorts focus very much on the political reasons that Dooku fell and show the Republic being corrupt. This highlights something that’s hinted at in the films but is explored a bit in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It looks like those that make the Republic feel more nuanced and real instead of an idyllic good guy.
Why does Count Dooku fall to the Dark Side in Tales of the Jedi?
The first two episodes of Dooku’s story very much focus on the corruption present in the Republic. On a distant planet, Dooku and Qui Gon Jinn are sent to resolve a hostage crisis but find that the people are living in poor conditions due to the corrupt nature of the senator. He nearly goes as far as killing him.
On Raxus Secundus, Dooku again encounters a corrupt senator. This time, the senator was opening up Raxus for industrial opportunities, allowing the beautiful nature of the planet to bleed dry because of his own greed. Because the senator was absent on Coruscant, he was out of touch with what his people thought about those policies.
Both times Dooku speaks out against the corruption involved and points out that the Jedi are just tools of the Senate, but is dismissed. The Jedi Council are too set in their ways to adapt. Dooku feels that the Jedi are out of touch with the Republic they serve and won’t change either.
Dooku himself is more violent than the average Jedi, force-choking a senator (typically a dark side ability) and acting outside of the Council’s orders on Raxus. Later, he tells Yaddle that he wants to “bring peace and order to the galaxy,” a quote that sounds eerily similar to what Anakin tells Obi-Wan on Mustafar. Only a Sith deals in absolutes, after all.
These actions motivate Dooku to confide in Palpatine in a similar way to Anakin many years later. Palpatine, however, manipulates this fair criticism of the Republic for his own gain and convinces Dooku to lead a group of planets to secede from the Republic. These planets become the Confederacy of Independent Systems or Separatists. This crisis eventually becomes the catalyst for the Clone Wars.
How does this compare to Dooku: Jedi Lost?
Dooku’s fall to the Dark Side has already been told in the book Dooku: Jedi Lost by Cavan Scott. As most of the book focuses on Dooku’s time as a padawan, that bit hasn’t been retconned by Tales of the Jedi. But there are bits that do get retconned, especially in the way that Dooku leaves the Jedi Order.
The first two episodes that focus on Dooku could very well take place during the events of Dooku: Jedi Lost, as there is a time jump in the book of several years.
However, Tales of the Jedi season 1, episode 4 retcons how and when Dooku left the Jedi Order.
In Dooku: Jedi Lost, Dooku leaves the Jedi Order peacefully. He is frustrated with how the Order works but also because he doesn’t get help to free his home planet of Serenno from corrupt rulers. Dooku goes against the Jedi Council’s wishes to free the planet and accidentally uses the dark side to abuse a creature called the Tirra’Taka. After this, he tells Master Yoda he will resign from the Jedi Order and returns to Serenno. This takes place in 42BBY.
Tales of the Jedi changes this. Dooku’s motivations for wanting to leave the order are largely the same, revolving around his being frustrated with the Jedi. But it changes the time that it takes place. Previously, Dooku had left the Jedi Order before his apprentice Qui Gon Jinn died, but now it’s shown he was still part of the Order during that time and that Dooku left at the end of The Phantom Menace, in 32BBY.
Another bit that’s changed is the way Dooku leaves. Instead of leaving peacefully by informing Master Yoda, Dooku kills Master Yaddle while being goaded by Palpatine.