General Grievous is a fictional character and a major antagonist in the Star Wars franchise created by George Lucas. He was introduced as a supporting villain in the 2003 animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars, voiced by John DiMaggio in the second season and Richard McGonagle in the third season, before making his live-action debut in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), where he was created using computer-generated imagery and voiced by Matthew Wood. Wood reprised his role in the 2008 canonical animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, where Grievous is one of the main antagonists.
|Star Wars character|
|Created by||George Lucas|
|Full name||Qymaen jai Sheelal|
|Affiliation||Confederacy of Independent Systems|
|Master||Count Dooku (lightsaber combat instructor)|
Grievous, a brilliant military strategist, served as the Supreme Commander of the Confederacy of Independent Systems' droid armies during the Clone Wars. While not Force-sensitive, he trained in all lightsaber combat forms under Count Dooku to rival the Jedi of the Galactic Republic. Throughout the Clone Wars, Grievous murdered numerous Jedi and collected their lightsabers as trophies, earning a reputation as the most feared Jedi hunter in the galaxy of his era. He developed a rivalry with Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, with whom he clashed numerous times during the war, and who eventually killed Grievous after he assumed command of the Separatist Alliance following Dooku's death in Revenge of the Sith.
Aside from the films and animated series, the character appears in various canon and non-canon Star Wars media, such as books, comics, and video games, many of which explore his backstory. Within Star Wars Legends material, Grievous was born Qymaen jai Sheelal and was a Kaleesh warlord who developed a personal vendetta against the Republic and the Jedi. After suffering near-fatal injuries in a ship crash, he was rescued by Count Dooku (who was secretly responsible for the crash) and rebuilt as a cyborg. The character's backstory was retconned in The Clone Wars animated series, in which it is implied that Grievous willingly replaced parts of his body with cybernetic augmentations, in an effort to "upgrade" himself. However, several elements of Grievous's backstory from Legends were later reintroduced in the current Star Wars canon through various books.
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's 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.
Sound editor Matthew Wood submitted a voice audition for the character as Alan Smithee. Lucas liked this audition the most, and since he had bronchitis at the time, he instructed Wood to give the character an asthmatic cough. This was intended to emphasize the character's organic nature as well as the flaws of having cyborg prosthetics. Some of the audio effects for the coughing in Revenge of the Sith were taken from Lucas while he had bronchitis. Grievous appeared in the micro-series Star Wars: 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's chest panel towards the end of the show's third season. However, Grievous has the cough for the entirety of his appearance in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, making his micro-series backstory non-canon.
General Grievous has been voiced by four actors. For the Season Two finale of the Clone Wars animated micro-series, the character was voiced by John DiMaggio, who gave him a tinny voice—not knowing what the character would sound like in Revenge of the Sith. Richard McGonagle voiced the character for Clone Wars Season Three. The character was voiced by Matthew Wood in the feature film Revenge of the Sith, the animated series The Clone Wars, and most video game appearances. David W. Collins voiced the character (albeit uncredited) in Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron and 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 the latter 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's 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. Sidious also tells Grievous that the war will soon come to an end and when Grievous objects about the loss of Dooku, Sidious replied that his death was a necessary loss and that he'll soon have a new apprentice who is "far younger and more powerful".
With Dooku dead, the hunt for Grievous becomes a priority for the Republic, and would also be a litmus test into whether Palpatine would give up his executive war powers granted to him by the Galactic Senate for the war. After no longer seeing him as an important asset in his plan to take over the galaxy, Palpatine betrays General Grievous by informing the Jedi of his whereabouts on Utapau. Palpatine also used this betrayal as an opportunity to send Obi-Wan off Coruscant while he attempted to seduce Anakin to the dark side. 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's 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, killing the cyborg general.
The Clone Wars
Grievous is one of the main antagonists of the 2008 computer-animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. In the first season, he is shown to be commanding 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's 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's 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's 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's 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's 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's 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. Grievous is mentioned in the episode "Secret Weapons", where a team of Republic droids led by Colonel Gascon is tasked with retrieving a module that will decode a transmission which 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.
Grievous makes a brief appearance in the opening sequence of "Old Friends Not Forgotten", the first episode of the Siege of Mandalore story-arc from the seventh and final season. As the arc takes place during the events of Revenge of the Sith, Grievous has a different design, reminiscent of his appearance in the film, and is commanding his fleet in an attack on Coruscant with the goal of capturing Chancellor Palpatine. Grievous is mentioned in the following two episodes, "The Phantom Apprentice" and "Shattered", when Obi-Wan states that he is going to Utapau to hunt him down, and later when Ki-Adi Mundi mentions during a meeting with the Jedi Council that Grievous has been killed (similarly to a scene from Revenge of the Sith).
Grievous appears as a major character in the four-part comic series Son of Dathomir, an unproduced story arc intended for the sixth season of The Clone Wars. In the comic, Dooku sends Grievous 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's 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.
Grievous is featured extensively in prequel-era Expanded Universe material. In April 2014, most of the licensed Star Wars novels and comics produced since the originating 1977 film were rebranded by Lucasfilm as Star Wars Legends and declared non-canon to the franchise.
In the 2003 Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series, which marked the character's first ever appearance, 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.
Three years 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's 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's 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, Mace Windu confronts him using the Force to crush his chest plates, severely injuring his lungs and leaving him with his distinctive asthmatic cough, though Grievous still escapes, leading to the events of Revenge of the Sith.
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.
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's 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 atop a maglev train 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.
General Grievous appears as a boss in the Revenge of the Sith video game based on the film; he is also a playable character in the game's dueling mode. Grievous makes a brief appearance in the Legends video game Star Wars: Republic Commando (2005), where he is encountered on Kashyyyk by Delta Squad before boarding his starship (which was seen earlier by Delta Squad leaving Geonosis) and departing to an unknown planet. In Star Wars Galaxies (2003), following the establishment of the Galactic Empire, stormtroopers take Grievous's living head, and place it in his body, transforming him into 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 Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Grievous appears as a boss and unlockable playable character Lego Star Wars (2005) and Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (2007); he is also playable in free play mode in Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (2006) by accessing a save file of the original Lego Star Wars. In Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (2011), Grievous is featured as a boss several times throughout the story mode, before becoming available as an unlockable playable character. He is also a playable character in Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2016) via downloadable content. Grievous has been featured as a playable character in the Star Wars: Battlefront series, namely Star Wars: Battlefront II (2005), Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron (2009), and, most recently, Star Wars Battlefront II (2017).
Grievous has also appeared as a playable character in Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Lightsaber Duels (2008), Angry Birds Star Wars II (2014) as an evil pig, and the mobile games Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes (2015) and Star Wars: Force Arena (2017).
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