The tragic downfall of noble Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker never quite played out as I had imagined it in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, so it’s interesting that author Cavan Scott has taken it upon himself to successfully deliver that story via a different character– namely Count Dooku, whose upbringing and eventual departure from the Jedi Order is chronicled in the new book Star Wars: Dooku – Jedi Lost, which is simply a print edition of the script from the audiobook of the same name released earlier this year.
For the purposes of this review, I downloaded and listened to the full-cast audio performance of Star Wars: Dooku – Jedi Lost while I read along with the text during a road trip this past weekend. It was a surprisingly engrossing experience, especially considering my distaste for most prequel-era content in general. But I was pleased to find that Scott has figured out what makes a tragedy like this potent– good has to be evident in a character before he can turn evil.
It turns out Count Dooku– played memorably by esteemed and prolific actor Christopher Lee (Saruman in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings series) in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Episode III – Revenge of the Sith— started out as a promising Jedi youngling. And while Jedi Lost somewhat disappointingly doesn’t chronicle every moment along his path toward the Dark Side of the Force (though those events are indeed hinted at), it does trace his arc from Padawan learner to Jedi Master to Count of Serenno, and offers the reader convincing evidence of why the Jedi don’t allow familial attachments among their ranks.
On a Jedi field trip to Serenno, young Dooku has a chance encounter with his abandoned aristocratic family and forms a bond with his sister Jenza, a forbidden entanglement with his past that continues in secret through his life, eventually causing his disenchantment with the Jedi Order and his decision to reclaim his birthright. Along the way, Dooku interacts with best friend and fellow student Sifo-Dyas (mentioned repeatedly in Attack of the Clones), becomes the Padawan of Master Yoda himself, and ultimately takes on his own apprentices: Rael Aveross (as seen in the novel Star Wars: Master and Apprentice) followed by Qui-Gon Jinn (played by Liam Neeson in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace).
The entire story is told through the use of flashbacks via narration by a character named Asajj Ventress (introduced in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series), another fallen Jedi who is taken under Dooku’s wing when he tasks her to track down his lost sister on Serenno. Dooku provides Ventress with his communication archives and journals of his exploits, and the reader/listener learns this decades-spanning history along with the Dathomirian as she absorbs it while on her quest.
Scott does a great job of establishing Dooku as a capable Jedi first, before alluding to the circumstances that will bring about his separation from the order. We see Dooku and his peers face challenges that prove their mettle and plant seeds for the title character’s later differences with Jedi doctrine, and we feel Yoda’s disappointment when things begin to take a turn. It’s also interesting that Dooku goes through most of his life as an upstanding member of the Jedi, even to the point of joining the Jedi Council in the temple on Coruscant, until a certain senator from Naboo steps into his life one fateful day.
But like I said, we don’t see a tremendous amount of interplay or influence between Dooku and Palpatine in this particular tale, which is my only real reservation in recommending it. What could Lucasfilm be saving that for? When will we learn the exact steps by which Darth Sidious molded Dooku into the Dark Lord of the Sith re-christened Darth Tyranus if not in the book with his name as the title? Are they planning a sequel?
Otherwise, if you’re a Star Wars fan with any interest in Christopher Lee’s character, I’d say definitely pick up Dooku – Jedi Lost and experience it the way I did, along with the audio drama. It’s well-written and well-performed, and Scott captures the voices of the various dramatis personae capably, as do the voice actors who play them in the recording. Just don’t expect more than a few tantalizing teases of Dark Side dealings. This is an intriguing account of how a lifelong Jedi stops being a Jedi, and we’re left to find out more at another time.
The script for Star Wars: Dooku – Jedi Lost is available now in hardcover printed form wherever books are sold. The original audio version is also available for download via Audible.