Count Dooku, the leader of the Separatist movement during the Clone Wars, hasn’t had much said of his background since his introduction to the series in 2002. Is Dooku: Jedi Lost the Star Wars backstory the Count of Serenno deserves?
The Prequel-era of Star Wars is a curious thing. To some it was a mistake that only caused harm to the existing films in the series, diminishing the achievements of the Original Trilogy. To others, myself included, it was a gateway into the Star Wars universe, and adding some context to the actions and events of the series as a whole.
What can’t be denied, though, is that it struggled to properly flesh out a group of characters we were supposed to love and loathe in equal measure.
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The wider canon has gone some way to rectifying this, however. Claudia Gray’s latest (Master and Apprentice), gives readers an insight into the relationship behind two major players from The Phantom Menace. Additionally, E.K. Johnston’s Queen’s Shadow shows us how Padme handled the transition from Naboo’s Queen to Senator, between Episodes I and II.
And if you thought Darth Maul got handed the short straw, The Clone Wars gives you all the development and growth you could want from a villain with a single line in his film.
Someone who is often overlooked, however, is Count Dooku. Based purely on what we know from the canon to date, Dooku was a former Jedi who left the order, before heading the Confederacy of Independent Systems, leading to the events of the Clone Wars. We know that Dooku was Qui-Gon Jinn’s master, and served as a Padawan learner under the tutelage of Yoda…and that’s it.
Dooku: Jedi Lost is an audio drama written by Cavan Scott, and performed by a full cast of actors. The drama gives us the closest look yet at the life of Count Dooku. Through the eyes of Dooku’s own Sith apprentice, Asajj Ventress, we’re given stories of Dooku’s time as a member of the Jedi Order from various parts of his life, transitioning from Initiate to Padawan, Knight to Master, and ultimately leading to his leave from the order.
No Expense Spared
Which strikes you, first and foremost, with Dooku: Jedi Lost, is the sheer production behind the project. Anyone who has listened to an audiobook version of Star Wars novels will attest to the lengths they go to immerse the reader.
Sound effects and a score often accompany the reading, helping the listener truly visualize the story in a way written word can’t. It should be no surprise that Cavan Scott’s story is given the full audiobook treatment, and then some.
A cast of 12, including Star Wars audiobook favorite Marc Thompson, voice the likes of Dooku, Ventress, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Yoda, with a helping of effects and musical notes coupled in liverly. Performances range from “okay” (Euan Morton’s Dooku lacks the playfulness Christopher Lee and Corey Burton brought to the character) to “pretty good” (Jonathan Davis does a decent Liam Neeson, even with a stronger Norn Iron accent).
Likely the most important factor heading into the story, however, is to what end it serves. We’re already aware of Dooku’s motivation, and ultimate fate, in the grander scheme of the Star Wars story. However, as previously stated, until this point we were unaware as to how he got to the point in which he felt compelled to leave the Jedi Order.
Jedi Lost does a good enough job of outlining the how and the why, to the point of true belief. Dooku’s motivation to leave the order is far complex than Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the darkside, for example. It is to Cavan Scott’s credit that you can come away from this listen with a level of understanding not previously felt towards the Count of Serenno.
Clocking in at 6 hours and 21 minutes, Jedi Lost is far shorter than audio adaptations of Star Wars novels, but its welcome never feels overstayed. The story moves along at a brisk enough pace to hold your attention, while spending enough time on each scenario Dooku is put in, to allow you to fully digest the information given. Sprinkle in a handful of “blink and you’ll miss it” nods and Easter eggs, and Jedi Lost gives you more than one reason to return to Ventress’ mission after you’ve already heard it.
Scott has penned a story vital to any fan with a passing interest in the Prequel-era of the saga. Jedi Lost gives an extra layer of humanity missing from one of the key players in The Clone Wars, and does so with a confidently told, compelling story of growth and purpose. Scott has an extensive history in radio play’s and every bit of that experience is on show in, what is essentially, and audio novella.
It should be no surprise enough room is allowed at the end for a sequel. I, for one, look forward to seeing how Dooku’s path through the dark side is paved.