While Dooku was a powerful Sith during the Clone Wars era, he didn’t start out that way, and one clue to his corruption was his nickname for Yoda.
Warning! This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: Yoda #4 Fans of Star Wars are well aware of Count Dooku’s status as a Sith during the Clone Wars era, but before he was seduced to the Dark Side, Dooku was a Jedi himself–one of the best, in fact–and one of the warning signs of his proverbial fall from grace was hidden in plain sight within something as seemingly innocuous as a nickname for Yoda.
In Star Wars: Yoda #4 by Jody Houser and Luke Ross, readers are shown the very day that Yoda asked Count Dooku to become a teacher and train the next generation of Jedi. While Yoda does cite Dooku’s unarguable skills in the ways of the Force, Yoda’s private reason for asking Dooku to teach is that Yoda knows Count Dooku is growing increasingly obsessed with the future–so, Yoda gave him the chance to help forge it. While Yoda set Dooku on what he believed to be the right path (though ironically would lead to Dooku’s eventual Sith corruption), it seemed as though Dooku was already flirting with the idea of separating himself from the Jedi Order. Repeatedly when referring to Yoda, Dooku takes pains to stress that their former connection no longer applies, pointedly calling Yoda “my old master” whenever possible.
Dooku Calls Yoda His ‘Former Master’
Count Dooku began his journey through the Force with the Jedi Order, studying only the Light Side of the Force and proving to be the most skilled padawan of his generation (as admitted by Yoda himself). A big reason as to why that may have been the case is the fact that Dooku’s personal master was Master Yoda, who is arguably the greatest Jedi to have ever lived–both in terms of combat skills and connection with the Force. When Dooku earned his place as a Jedi Master himself, Yoda reached out to him to train the younger generation of Jedi–and one such Jedi was Qui-Gon Jinn. After Qui-Gon’s death by the hand of Darth Maul, and the Jedi Council’s refusal to look any deeper into the event that caused it, Dooku became disillusioned with the Jedi way, which started him on his journey through the Dark Side of the Force, with Darth Sidious guiding him.
While this detail seems insignificant, it actually speaks volumes, as it is Count Dooku essentially saying to Yoda’s face, ‘you are not my master anymore,’ which gives Dooku the freedom to break away from Yoda’s teachings–and eventually, the teachings of the entire Jedi Order. Not only that, but when one looks closer at the reason behind their meeting in this issue, there are some pretty clear signs of Dooku’s rejection of the Light Side and acceptance of the Dark. The most striking example is when Yoda plays to Dooku’s arrogance by naming him as one of the best padawans of his time. Yoda essentially says that Dooku is so good, that his skills are desperately needed to help shape the new crop of padawans the Jedi have collected, and Dooku accepts immediately after that–because as his backhanded nickname for Yoda implies, Dooku knows he’s the best there is (perhaps, even better than Yoda himself).
This issue is the perfect example of how storytellers can flesh out characters and backgrounds without including anything that is necessarily groundbreaking or overly impactful, as that could taint the original source material. On the surface, every interaction in this Star Wars comic between Yoda and Dooku was pleasant and above board (even their lightsaber duel), but underneath it all was a subtext wrapped in darkness, arrogance, and Sith corruption–and it all became apparent through Count Dooku’s nickname for Yoda.
Star Wars: Yoda #4 by Marvel Comics is available now.
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