General Grievous

General Grievous is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise. He was introduced as a villain in 2004 in the animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars, before making his live-action debut in the 2005 film Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and later introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

General Grievous
Star Wars character
General Grievous as seen in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
First appearanceLegends: Clone Wars
– "Chapter 20" (2004)
Canon: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Last appearanceThe Clone Wars: Legacy
– "Dark Disciple" (2016)
Created byGeorge Lucas
Voiced byMatthew Wood (Episode III,
video games)
John DiMaggio (Star Wars: Clone Wars Season Two)
Richard McGonagle (Star Wars: Clone Wars Season Three)
David W. Collins (Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron and Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron)
Kirby Morrow (Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles and Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales)
SpeciesKaleesh cyborg
OccupationSupreme Commander of the Confederacy of Independent Systems' Droid Armies
AffiliationConfederacy of Independent Systems

Grievous served as the Supreme Commander of the Confederacy of Independent Systems' Droid Armies during the Clone Wars. He is trained in all lightsaber combat forms by the Sith Lord Count Dooku to rival the Jedi of the Galactic Republic. In the Star Wars "Legends" universe of non-canon novels, comic books, video games and animated series, Grievous was a Kaleesh warlord, who suffered great injuries in a ship crash and was then rebuilt as an alien cyborg.

Concept and creation

General Grievous was developed for Revenge of the Sith as a powerful new villain on the side of the Separatists. The initial instructions that director George Lucas gave the Art Department were very open-ended: "a droid general". From that vague direction, the artists developed a lot of explorations, some purely mechanical, some not, for Grievous' look. He was also created as a villain foreshadowing Anakin Skywalker's transformation into Darth Vader: the heavy breathing, the cyborg body and his seduction into an evil faction.

The initial design sketch for Grievous was refined and made into a 1-foot (30 cm)-tall maquette sculpture. That was further refined when it was made into a realistic computer-generated model by Industrial Light & Magic. At the time, this was one of the most complicated models ever created by ILM, with many parts of differing physical qualities. Grievous is completely computer-generated imagery in the movie. On set, Duncan Young read the lines off-screen while Kyle Rowling wore a bluescreen or a greenscreen suit to act out the fights with Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Also notable are the numerous contradictions between the expanded universe and both TV series. Grievous is depicted as having four fingers per arm in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars series whereas Star Wars: Clone Wars has the general depicted as having five. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and most other comics depicted him as having six fingers per arm. The original Clone Wars incarnation was fast, acrobatic and powerful but not as often in command when compared to the more recent The Clone Wars incarnation of the character. Furthermore, his asthmatic cough and hunchbacked stance are already present, despite having not gained them prior to his confrontation with Mace Windu. The general's back story has also been changed: supervising director Dave Filoni stated that Grievous opted for surgery in order to gain abilities that would allow him to rival a Jedi. This is reinforced by season one's tenth episode "Lair of Grievous" which suggested the general's transformation into a cyborg was a gradual process.

Comparisons have been drawn between the character's appearance and Jacob Epstein's sculpture Rock Drill.[1][2]

Character overview

General Grievous' asthmatic cough in Revenge of the Sith was intended to emphasize his organic nature as well as the flaws of having cyborg prosthetics. The Separatist leader has a severe case of asthma. Grievous had previously appeared in Clone Wars before many of his personality traits had been finalized. To reconcile the differences between the two presentations, Mace Windu uses the Force to crush Grievous' chest panel towards the end of the show's third season (Volume Two) as the general makes a desperate escape with Palpatine, who is only pretending to be helpless and had actually planned his own kidnapping. Some of the audio effects for the coughing were taken from Lucas himself, who had had bronchitis during principal photography.[3]


General Grievous has been voiced by four actors. In the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series, the character was voiced by John DiMaggio for Season Two's finale episode and by Richard McGonagle for Season Three. The character was voiced by Matthew Wood in the feature film Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and most of the video game appearances. David W. Collins voiced the character, albeit uncredited, in Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron and Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron.

Gary Oldman (a friend of producer Rick McCallum) agreed to submit a voice audition but his involvement never went beyond that. Several months later, actor John Rhys-Davies was widely reported to be the character's voice but this was revealed to be a prank. DiMaggio was considered for the role for Grievous after he had previously voiced him in the 2003 Clone Wars animated series, but was later dropped.



Revenge of the Sith

In Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, General Grievous holds Supreme Chancellor Palpatine hostage aboard his flagship, the Invisible Hand. The Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker launch a rescue operation, and later kills Separatist leader Count Dooku. Grievous traps the fleeing Jedi and the Chancellor in a ray shield, and has them brought along with R2-D2 to the ship's bridge. He confiscates Obi-Wan and Anakin's lightsabers, cackling that he will add them to his vast collection. When R2-D2 creates a distraction, Obi-Wan and Anakin use the Force to retrieve their lightsabers and free themselves. A short battle ensues with the Jedi overcoming Grievous' MagnaGuards and Battle droids before turning their attention to the General himself. Grievous escapes by using the electrostaff of a fallen MagnaGuard to shatter the bridge's glass and create a vacuum that pulls everything out towards space. He subsequently fires a grappling hook to secure himself to the ship and scales its exterior en route to an escape pod. Grievous launches all of the other pods as well to prevent Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Palpatine from escaping the doomed vessel. However, Anakin manages to take control of the ship and crash land it safely.

Now taking Dooku's place as both the political and military leader of the Separatists, Grievous heads to the planet of Utapau, where the council members of the Confederacy of Independent Systems are hiding; the Separatists have taken the residents of Utapau hostage. He receives a message from Dooku's master Darth Sidious - who, unbeknownst to Grievous, is Palpatine's Sith alter ego - telling him to move the council members to the volcanic planet Mustafar.

Obi-Wan Kenobi later tracks Grievous to Utapau. When Obi-Wan destroys his MagnaGuards, Grievous duels the Jedi in single combat, splitting each of his mechanical arms in half to simultaneously use four lightsabers. The Republic's Clone troopers then arrive to engage Grievous' Droid Army. Obi-Wan disarms Grievous with the Force and pursues him when the general retreats on his wheelbike, fleeing to the hangar where his starfighter is located. The two engage in hand-to-hand combat, where Obi-Wan manages to rip open Grievous's chest plates, revealing the parts where his organs are located. Enraged, Grievous throws Obi-Wan off the platform, easily overpowering him. Using the Force, Obi-Wan manipulates his position and catches hold of his edge. As Grievous charges at him with his electrostaff, Obi-Wan uses the Force to summon the general's blaster. Before Grievous can deliver the final blow, Obi-Wan shoots him in his organs underneath his exoskeleton, which then catches fire.


Clone Wars

In Star Wars: Clone Wars, General Grievous' makes his first public appearance when he attacks several Jedi on Hypori. After killing Master Daakman Barrek, Grievous and his droids surround Tarr Seirr, Sha'a Gi, Aayla Secura, K'Kruhk, Ki-Adi-Mundi and Shaak Ti. After stating he would grant the Jedi a "warrior's death", Grievous battles the six Jedi all by himself, killing Seirr and Gi and injuring Secura and Ti. K'Kruhk is also mortally wounded, and falls into a state of hibernation after Grievous strikes him down. He manages to possess three lightsabers (one in each hand and the third using his left foot) to fight Mundi after all the other Jedi have been dispatched. As they fight, lightsabers blazing, Clone ARC Troopers led by Captain Fordo arrive to save the surviving Jedi. Grievous retreats, but secures his victory over the Jedi as he collects the lightsabers of the Jedi he has killed.

Sometime later, Grievous searches for Chancellor Palpatine on Coruscant, attempting to capture him while he is defended by a trio of Jedi consisting of Shaak Ti, Roron Corobb and Foul Moudama. Ti orders Corobb and Moudama take Palpatine to a secret bunker while she holds Grievous off. However, Grievous' Magnaguards distract Ti while Grievous reaches the hardened bunker, kills Corobb and Moudama, and captures Palpatine. Ti learns too late that the Magnaguards were but a distraction and heads to the bunker to find her Jedi comrades dead, and Palpatine in Grievous' grasp. Grievous defeats Ti yet again, takes her lightsaber, and restrains her with electric cables before returning to his shuttle with Palpatine in his custody. As Grievous is about to escape, he is confronted by Mace Windu, who uses the Force to crush his chest plates, severely injuring his lungs and leaving him with his distinctive asthmatic cough. Grievous still escapes, however, albeit horrifically crippled. These events lead into Revenge of the Sith.

The Clone Wars

In the first season of the computer-animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Grievous is the commander of the Separatist warship Malevolence armed with a pair of heavy ion cannons. He also clashes with Obi-Wan Kenobi aboard the Malevolence for the first time when he chases him aboard the warship's railway system. During the ensuing lightsaber duel, Grievous nearly gets the better of Obi-Wan, but the Jedi Master escapes at the last moment. Meanwhile, Anakin secretly sabotages the Malevolence's navigation computer, sending it crashing into a nearby moon. However, Grievous escapes on his starfighter and continues his campaign against the Republic. A few episodes later, Grievous discovers Anakin and Padawan Ahsoka Tano infiltrating his secret listening post and seeks out to search for them. He then engages Ahsoka and her squad of clone troopers, defeating all the troopers and then engaging in a cat and mouse game with the Padawan. However, Anakin and Ahsoka still manage to destroy his listening post. Aware of Grievous' recent string of failures, Count Dooku arranges a test for his cyborg henchman – in the form of Jedi Master Kit Fisto and Jedi Knight Nahdar Vebb. In Grievous' personal castle on the third moon of Vassek, the two Jedi and a squad of clone troopers ambush Grievous and cut off his legs. Once repaired, Grievous duels and kills Vebb. On the outskirts of Grievous' castle, the general climbs up from the ledge and unleashes four lightsabers on Fisto. Using the fog to his advantage, Fisto successfully cuts off one of Grievous' hands and reclaims Vebb's lightsaber. Armed with two lightsabers, Fisto gains the upper hand over Grievous to which the general calls in his Magnaguards and Fisto flees. Grievous reports to Dooku, who says that there is room for improvement.

During the second season, Grievous boards a Republic Cruiser with Jedi Master Eeth Koth on board. Grievous duels Koth and takes him prisoner. Obi-Wan, Anakin and Jedi Master Adi Gallia attempt to rescue Koth and capture Grievous, resulting in a confrontation between Obi-Wan and Grievous over the planet Saleucami, which Grievous loses. Though the Jedi succeed in rescuing Koth, Grievous, helped by his droids, escapes once again.

In the third season, Grievous, Dark Jedi Asajj Ventress and their armies attack the clone factories on the planet Kamino. During the battle, Grievous clashes with Obi-Wan again. However, their duel ends in stalemate and Grievous flees the planet with Ventress. Later on, Grievous commands a sabotage mission using infiltrator droids on the Galactic Senate, resulting in a deregulation of the banks.

During the fourth season, Grievous suffers a humiliating defeat when he attempts to invade Naboo. Jar Jar Binks distracts Grievous in a series of negotiations long enough for the Gungan army to shut down Grievous' invasion force. As Grievous pursues Jar Jar, he slaughters many Gungan soldiers. At that moment, General Tarpals intervenes and engages Grievous in a duel. Although he is mortally wounded by the cyborg, Tarpals impales Grievous through his chest which allows the Gungan Army to bombard the wounded general with energized projectiles and capture him. However, he is freed in a prisoner exchange with Anakin between Dooku and Padmé Amidala. Later, Grievous attacks Gallia's ship, engaging her in a lightsaber duel down a narrow hallway. The duel ends when Grievous kicks Gallia in the chest, sending her flying across the hallway. Grievous then captures Gallia. Shortly after, Gallia escapes Grievous' custody when a strike force led by Jedi Master Plo Koon boards his ship and frees the Jedi Master, prompting Grievous to flee once again. Grievous is later sent to the planet Dathomir under Dooku's orders to exterminate the Nightsisters. Immediately upon landing on the planet's surface, the general begins his rampage and his droid army turns Dathomir into a battlefield. However, Ventress turns the tide of the battle and fights her way to the general's shuttle where the cyborg emerges to confront her personally. As they duel, Grievous grows overconfident and begins to toy with Ventress until she surprises him by chopping off one of his arms and knocking him to the ground. Grievous then orders his troops to fire on Ventress, wounding her. As Grievous prepares to deliver the death blow to his longtime rival, he is attacked by Nightsister zombies and is forced to fight them off while Ventress flees. Under new orders from Dooku, Grievous turns his attention to Nightsister leader Mother Talzin and slaughters his way to her fortress where she narrowly escapes from the general's grasp by teleporting away. Grievous is later seen on Serenno listening to Dooku's fears about Savage Opress.

In the fifth season's premiere episode, Grievous is mentioned by Hondo Ohnaka as having defeated Obi-Wan and won the battle for the system that Florrum is in. This battle is shown in the episode "Bound for Rescue" where Grievous attacks Obi-Wan's ship; the General slaughters a squadron of clones and duels Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan is no match for Grievous and is subsequently defeated, forcing him to abandon his ship. Later, Grievous goes to Florrum personally and announces that the system is under his control now, and that Dooku is having him punish Hondo for holding him for ransom. The droids destroy Hondo's stronghold and his belongings, and hold him prisoner, but Hondo is rescued when Ahsoka and a group of younglings free him and retreat off the planet. Grievous pursues them and fights Ahsoka. Although she has grown stronger since their last battle, Grievous still proves to be more than a match for her. The duel ends when Hondo picks up Ahsoka in the Slave I and takes off, leaving Grievous to stew in his anger. In the first episode of the droid arc "Secret Weapons", Grievous is mentioned in the opening credits, and the primary goal of the mission is to retrieve a module that will decode a transmission that Grievous made about an important Separatist attack.

Grievous was to undergo a design change in the seventh season to look more like his design in Revenge of the Sith. Though the series was cancelled before this could happen, the unfinished animations of the Crystal Crisis arc showed this design. In this arc, Grievous is sent by Dooku to purchase a giant kyber crystal on Utapau, and while Grievous at first obtains the crystal, it is lost when Anakin and Obi-Wan destroy it by overloading its power.[4]


Grievous made his first appearance in the comics in a short story in Star Wars: Visionaries called "The Eyes of Revolution". This story reveals that he was once Kaleesh general Qymaen jai Sheelal, a fierce warrior engaged in a brutal war with the rival planet Huk. Grievous has had many wives, including the human Gravlyn, and several children. He boards a shuttle to take him to another battle, unaware that Dooku had planted an explosive device in it. He is mortally wounded in the resulting crash, and what remains of his body is reconstructed with cybernetic limbs. Dooku then recruits him into the Separatist Army as his second-in-command, appealing to his hatred of the Republic that ignored his home world's plight.

In the third volume of Clone Wars Adventures, it is revealed that Grievous attains his rank of Supreme Commander by dueling Dooku's underlings Ventress and Durge simultaneously. On board the Trenchant space station, Dooku orders Ventress and Durge to search for an unknown intruder with the pair unaware of their master's intentions. Armed with an electrostaff, Grievous appears from behind and electrocutes Durge and subsequently throws him across the hallway through a few trophies. Ventress jumps onto a chandelier and attempts to search for Grievous, who knocks her down. Ventress and Durge then confront Grievous face to face, with Ventress unleashing her lightsabers and Durge unleashing his full arsenal. Grievous is able to knock Ventress away, though Durge then sends the general flying across the room into a wall with a powerful punch to the face. Enraged, Grievous unleashes his lightsabers, swiftly defeating the pair. In the wake of the battle, Grievous is made the Supreme Commander of the Confederacy's military.

Grievous starred in his own comic called Star Wars: General Grievous, in which he fights Jedi Master T'chooka D'oon and his Padawan Flyn. After Grievous kills D'oon, Kybo returns to the Jedi council with a plan to destroy Grievous once and for all. When the council rebukes his vengeful plan, Kybo decides to take this matter into own hands with disastrous results. Grievous also appears in the comics in Star Wars: Obsession issue number 4, in which he is on the world of Boz Pity, where he kills two Jedi, Master Soon Bayts and Jedi Council member Adi Gallia. Though Windu injures Grievous, Dooku is able to save the general so he may fight another day.

Grievous appears as a major character in the four-part comic series, Son of Dathomir, an unproduced story arc intended for Clone Wars season six. Dooku sends him to hunt down the rogue Sith Lord Darth Maul, who has become a significant threat to Sidious' plans. Grievous is ordered to only wound Maul's forces, but not kill him; this is in order to draw out Mother Talzin, who is later revealed to be Maul's mother. Though he thinks it foolish to keep Maul alive, Grievous does as he is told. He takes a huge army of droids to Zanbar and attacks Maul's army of Death Watch warriors. Despite heavy casualties, Grievous' droids ultimately win the battle. During the battle, Grievous briefly fights Maul and wins, forcing him to flee. Later, Grievous and Dooku are lured into a trap by Maul and his minions, and are taken prisoner in order to draw out Sidious. However, Grievous soon escapes and rejoins Sidious, who orders Grievous to attack Dathomir again, where Maul and Talzin are planning using Dooku as a sacrifice to restore Talzin to full strength. Sidious fights Talzin while Grievous duels Maul again. Maul eventually overpowers Grievous and Force-pushes him through a wall. Grievous quickly reappears, however, and after Sidious and Dooku have subdued Talzin (who has thrown Maul out of the battle to save his life), Grievous stabs her through the chest with his lightsabers, killing her.

In the novel Labyrinth of Evil, Grievous plans an invasion of Coruscant alongside Dooku and Sidious. He first appears in the novel watching his hated subordinate Nute Gunray flee from a pursuant Republic Strike Force. Grievous reluctantly saves Gunray by destroying the fighters. Grievous' invasion of the planet Belderone would also be thwarted by Anakin and Obi-Wan due to a careless mistake on Gunray's part. Though Gunray resorts to lies, Grievous deduces that he is lying and threatens to kill him. Later on the bridge of the Invisible Hand, Dooku watches as Grievous spars his elite Magnaguards. Though Grievous wins the fight, Dooku points out several flaws in the general's technique while realizing he is partly to blame for the general's inadequacies. Grievous soon launches his invasion on the Republic capital of Coruscant in an attempt to kidnap Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, placing himself on the battlefield once again. During the invasion, Grievous battles Mace Windu while personally trying to capture Palpatine. Though Windu overwhelms Grievous in combat, the cyborg outwits the Jedi Guard and takes Palpatine hostage, setting the stage for Revenge of the Sith.

Video games

General Grievous has appeared in the video games Star Wars: Battlefront II, Star Wars: Republic Commando and the Revenge of the Sith video game.

Grievous next appears in the video game Star Wars Galaxies. Following the establishment of the Galactic Empire, stormtroopers take Grievous' living head, and place it in his body, transforming him to a droid. This war droid has a brief life in the Myyydril Caverns on Kashyyyk before being destroyed by an anonymous group of spacers. The combatants loot the droid's remains, taking its weaponry and anything else of value. The face mask ends up on the Invisible Market, where it is purchased for its artistic properties by a high-ranking Imperial admiral — purported to be none other than Grand Admiral Thrawn.[5]

Grievous also makes a very brief appearance in Star Wars: Republic Commando, when Delta Squad almost catches him boarding his starship to an "unknown" planet. Earlier, on Geonosis, after killing Sun Fac, a ship looking similar to Grievous' flies away. The squad notes the ship as not being Geonosian. Grievous makes his next appearance in Lego Star Wars and Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, featured as a boss and an unlockable, playable character in free play mode. He is also playable in free play mode in Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy by accessing a save file of Lego Star Wars.

Grievous appears as a playable character in Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Lightsaber Duels. Grievous also appears as a playable character in Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron. Unlike Star Wars: Battlefront II, in the DS version, he can use his four arms at the cost of force points instead of just two at the end of an attack.

Grievous is also a boss villain in several mini games of the online game Clone Wars Adventures.

Grievous, as an evil pig, is a playable character in Angry Birds Star Wars II.

In Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, General Grievous is featured as a boss in story mode and an unlockable, playable character in free play mode.

Grievous is also a collectible, playable character in the mobile turn-based role-playing game, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, introduced weeks after the game was released. He is described to be a vicious Separatist attacker with unavoidable attacks that cannot be countered, intimidates his enemies with decreased offense and debuffs and can force allies to taunt when his health is low.

Grievous also appears as a playable Dark Side Squad leader in the mobile MOBA Star Wars: Force Arena.

Grievous is a playable character in Star Wars Battlefront II. He was introduced as part of the Clone Wars season beginning on October 30, 2018.[6][7]


  1. ^ Brandon, Laura (2007). Art and War. London, England: I.B. Tauris. p. 123. ISBN 1845112377.
  2. ^ Jones, Tim (October 29, 2011). "Lookalike – Bunker Notes". Christchurch Art Gallery. Retrieved May 9, 2013.
  3. ^ Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith DVD commentary featuring George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Rob Coleman, John Knoll and Roger Guyett, 2005.
  4. ^ "Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Story Reel: A Death on Utapau - Star Wars: The Clone Wars". Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  5. ^ Star Wars: Galaxies
  6. ^ Liptak, Andrew (June 9, 2018). "Star Wars Battlefront II updates will let players fight in the Clone Wars". The Verge. New York City: Vox Media, Inc. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  7. ^ Hood, Vic (9 June 2018). "The Clone Wars are coming to Star Wars Battlefront 2". The Daily Telegraph. London, England: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 10 June 2018.

External links