Metallic clangs grow louder and louder as a mechanical monstrosity lumbers forward, drawing immense fear out of his soon-to-be victims. Enter General Grievous, a fearsome and imposing cybernetic warlord who more than rivals Darth Vader’s terror in his bone-chilling first appearance. The looks of fear on the faces of these supposedly fearless Jedi say it all, as they have never faced a threat such as this. The cyborg crushes these guardians with ease, hurling them through walls and bulkheads and displaying impressive skill with lightsabers stolen from his many victims.
After witnessing the gruesome general’s debut here in Genndy Tartakovsky’s 2003 Star Wars: Clone Wars micro-series, his live-action appearance in 2005’s Revenge of the Sith is rather disappointing. In that film, Grievous is often cowardly and displays none of the terror he inflicted in Tartakovsky’s series. Fortunately, in the 2008 Star Wars: The Clone Wars series, we sometimes see Grievous return to his horrifying roots in classic episodes like “Lair of Grievous” and “Massacre,” both of which are some of Star Wars’ best horror in the franchise.
Perhaps it’s enough, though, for General Grievous to just look cool and have a mysterious backstory. Just look at how popular so many Star Wars characters became fan-favorites based on those factors alone, like Boba Fett and many of his fellow bounty hunters.
Like Fett, General Grievous has become an iconic character that this writer wants to see more of. Still, in this writer’s opinion, his first appearance remains his absolute best and one of the most marvelously terrifying sequences in Star Wars’ rich history. One of the reasons why Grievous’ first appearance is so shocking is because it’s rare to see outright horror in Star Wars, and General Grievous’ debut appearance is as horrific as it comes.
If you have never seen Genndy Tarakovsky’s 2003 Star Wars: Clone Wars, it’s a treat and introduced many of the canon elements and characters we have today. Check it out on Disney+ sometime.