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Count Dooku

SWII: Attack of the Clones
by yo go re

Look, it's Darth Saruman!

Count Dooku was a menacing Sith Lord and central figure in the Clone Wars. Once a Jedi, he became disillusioned with the Jedi Order and thirsted for greater power.

It was mainly the power thing: the disillusionment was more of an excuse than anything else, a fiction devised to make him seem like a principled man to the Galactic population at large. During the Clone Wars, Dooku served as the political head of the Separatists - the Jefferson Davis to Chancellor Palpatine's Abraham Lincoln. Also like Jefferson Davis, he was a complete loser and virulently racist right until the end: the Confederacy (of Indpenedent Systems, not the American one) was made up entirely of non-human species specifically so Palpatine could blame "aliens" for the war and push his humans-first agenda. And probably promise to build the space-wall and make Geonosis pay for it. Anyway, Darth Sidious starts a war where aliens are the enemy, but has Dooku as their somewhat sympathetic figurehead; then, when his side loses the war, Dooku spends a few years in prison before being released after "coming to see the error of his ways," and is invited to join the new government in a show of magnanimous reconciliation. It's not a bad scheme, all things considered.

Count Dooku was played by Christopher Lee, who brought an icy imperiousness to the role (though, it must be said, the live-action version had nothing on the one from the cartoons - that Dooku was a frightening, hateful man, because the TV show directors were better at getting emotions out of their actors than George was). Though this figure came out late enough in the line to get the "Photo Real" paint-print process, the likeness is only so-so: he does look like a bearded old man, but he does not really look like Lee.

Long before Star Wars, Lee had played Dracula in the Hammer Horror films (opposite Peter "Grand Moff Tarkin" Cushing as Doctor Van Helsing), a character who has no small similarities with Dooku: the regal lineage, the high-handed attitude, the love of capes... even the title of Count is shared between them! His clothes are a rather boring dark brown - normally you'd expect a Sith to wear black, but remember, he's hiding his evil identity. In the stories, his boots are made from rancor leather and his cloaks are made of something called "armorweave," but in real life and on this toy, they're just brown clothes.

His cape is softgoods, held in place by a plastic chain that plugs into his chest. You could remove the chain, with some work, but why would you? Is he ever seen without his cape on? Apparently the cape is the traditional symbol of the Count of Serenno, his inherited title (Dooku had an older brother, Ramil, who used to hold the title, but Dooku took it for his own). The interior of the cape is lighter than the outside, so it at least provides some contrast for his dark clothing, and it hangs fairly well despite being real cloth.

Christopher Lee was 80 years old when Attack of the Clones came out, so he was too old to do any of the actual stunts the character required, meaning that all that stuff had to be performed by Kyle Rowling (though do note that Lee was capable of doing the more straightforward fencing: it was just the running and dancing around that he needed replacement for). The figure can handle whatever you throw at it, thanks to joints in the ankles, knees, thighs, hips, waist, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, and head. The right ankle on my figure is a little looser than usual, so he has to be balanced carefully, but that probably won't be an issue for most.

Count Dooku's only accessory is his "Darth Tyranus" lightsaber, with its distinctive curved hilt. It can plug into the left side of his belt or be held in his hand, and you get your choice of two red lightsaber blades to plug into it: the straight one it has when you take it out of the package, or a "sweeping" one with sculpted motion blur.

Live-action Dooku has nothing on animated or novelization Dooku, but it's nice to get the third of Palpatine's prequel servants: we already had Maul and Grievous, so it just makes sense to get battle grandpa to complete the set.

-- 05/02/21

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