This week on the Character Corner we’re looking at one of the Jedi’s most dangerous enemies during the Clone War: The half man, half machine warrior General Grievous!
Grievous was born Qymaen jai Sheelal, a Kaleesh. During conflicts with the Huk, an alien race that resembled human-sized bugs, Sheelal mastered the art of war, becoming a legendary figure in his tribe. After the death of his loved one, Ronderu lij Kummar, he rebranded himself Grievous, vowing to destroy the Huk, who turned to the Galactic Republic for assistance. The Republic in turn gave aid to the Huk, pushing back the Kaleesh and leaving them to starve.
Grievous sought off-world assistance from the InterGalactic Banking Clan, and was noticed by Chairman San Hill and Count Dooku. A plot was hatched to bring Grievous fully to their side for the approaching galactic conflict, and a bomb was placed aboard Grievous’ shuttle when he returned to his planet. The shuttle crashed and Grievous was severely injured. He was given blood from the Jedi Master Sifo-Diyas, a droid body, and a synth-skin gut-sack, along with numerous other enhancements by San Hill.
Count Dooku now had a leader for the droid army that he was creating, and began training Grievous in lightsaber combat. Fueled by a hatred for the Republic and the Jedi – whom he believed responsible for his shuttle’s crash and his injuries – he eagerly joined Count Dooku’s cause.
General Grievous’ first appearance in the Clone War was the Battle of Hypori, four months after the Battle of Geonosis. Grievous would fight against six Jedi, including two Jedi Council members, during the battle. Two of the Jedi would fall, Tarr Seirr and Sha’a Gi. Grievous’ standing increased, and he began to perform runs with his heaver cruiser Malevolence, which possessed ion cannons strong enough to disable entire fleets.
General Grievous would proof to be a constant and legitimate threat to the Galactic Republic during the War, and a danger to both the clone forces and the Jedi. His collection of trophies, lightsabers taken from Jedi he killed in combat, grew. He fought Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ahsoka Tano several times, but was unable to kill any of them.
As General Grievous’ attacks succeeded and the Republic’s situation grew more dire, Grievous became an “avatar of terror” for the Republic, winning battle after battle and pushing them back more and more. This led to Grievous being ordered by the Sith Lord Sidious to capture Chancellor Palpatine (Sidious himself, of course). He led the battle both on the ground and above Coruscant, suffering an injury from Jedi Mace Windu that damaged his internal organs, giving him the coughing heard in Episode III. Skywalker and Kenobi, during their rescue of Palpatine, engaged Grievous and destroyed his ship. Grievous was sucked into space but survived using one of his ship’s escape pods.
Grievous would then travel to Utapau, where his forces captured Kenobi. Grievous relished the chance to fight him, and demanded he be the one to kill the Jedi. Grievous split his arms into four and attacked with a dazzling flurry of blows. Kenobi was able to see through the pattern, and cut off two of Grievous’ hands, just as Clone Commander Cody and his battalion arrive, sparking a wide conflict on the planet. Grievous fled and Kenobi followed, ending their battle on Grievous’ private landing platform. Nearly pushed off a ledge, Kenobi used the Force to grab a blaster, striking Grievous in his exposed gut sack. The oils there ignited, incinerating the cyborg’s critical organs, killing him.
Behind the scenes
Grievous was designed for Revenge of the Sith as a villain for the Jedi to fight. George Lucas asked simply for a “droid general” and the design team eventually came up with the design for Grievous.
Many parts of Grievous foreshadow Anakin Skywalker’s transformation into Darth Vader. The mixture of cybernetic and biological components was one element Lucas desired, and the heavy, racking cough that Grievous possesses mirrors Darth Vader’s heavy breathing. In-universe, the technology that kept Grievous alive was prototype technology that would eventually be used to greater effect on Anakin Skywalker after being burned on Mustafar.
So now you know all about the dangerous cyborg leader for the Separatists! We hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of the Star Wars Character Corner; come back next month for our next edition of the Character Corner, and check once a week for other fun Star Wars information!