"I am fear. I am the queen of a blood-soaked planet and an architect of genocide. I have helped to crack the galaxy in half with this war and conquered every enemy I have ever faced—including death. All except for you." – Asajj Ventress, in Star Wars: Obsessions, by Hayden Blackman
When Asajj Ventress first made her debut in 2003’s Clone Wars animated series from Gendy Tartakovsky, one thing was clear: she was a dynamic and striking force to be reckoned with! In true George Lucas fashion, her introduction was a bold choice. How could Dooku have a Sith assassin?! Doesn’t that violate the Rule of Two™? But Lucas never let continuity stand in the way of blazing forward with his creativity. And because of that, we have a wonderfully complex character whose story unfolds interestingly and surprisingly over more than fifteen years.
Ventress, at first, was a seemingly one-dimensional character: vampiric in appearance, she was motivated by her blood lust and desire to please her master. She seemed duty-bound to carry out Dooku’s bidding by commanding Separatist armies, more than capable of taking down her fair share of Jedi in situations where droids just can’t cut it. But when in the hands of brilliant creators in the Expanded Universe and in Dave Filoni's newer incarnation of the Clone Wars, Ventress took on a much more developed story-arc. Since then, we’ve seen her complicated and often flirtatious relationship with Kenobi, her rivalry-turned-mentorship with Ahsoka, her shattered expectations concerning Dooku, her developed backstory with both her former Jedi Master Ky Narec and Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters. She’s even been a bounty hunter teaming up with Boba Fett! Her story is heartbreaking, thrilling, mustache-twistingly villainous, and even heroic points along the way–with Asajj Ventress, there’s a little to love for everyone!
Asajj Ventress did not deserve the pain she endured as a child, but she endured it all the same. While most know her as the relentless, hardened Sith apprentice who will stop at nothing to please her master, there’s a much less sinister side to her -- one that may even be capable of falling in love.
There were many stories originally meant to complete The Clone Wars that never got their chance to be told. But Ventress’s journey deserved a proper ending, and it got exactly that. In this story of love, loss, and triumph, watch as the villain you thought you knew transforms into a celebrated hero of the Republic.
Yoda, Grand Master of the Jedi Order, carries the weight of the Clone Wars on his shoulders. When his former Padawan and leader of the Separatist movement, Count Dooku, reaches out and asks to meet for a truce, that burden becomes heavier still. Knowing that Dooku is likely laying a trap, Yoda places the needs of the galaxy before his own and ventures forth to the mysterious world of Vjun to face his old apprentice for perhaps the final time.
Author Sean Stewart clearly loves Christopher Lee’s background in monster movies and writes Dooku as a sympathetic villain reminiscent of the golden age of Hammer Films. He both heightens Dooku as a villain and humanizes him as a sympathetic character through his exploration of the novel's central question: is Count Dooku redeemable?
Few know much about Count Dooku or his past that led him from the highest ranks of the Jedi Order to the knee of Darth Sidious. But when he charges his new assassin, Asajj Ventress, with her first mission, he also opens a window into his past. That past, riddled with dark prophecies and broken relationships is the key to Ventress understanding her new master…and his weaknesses.
Cavan Scott, bolstered by a whole host of voice actors, delivers one of the most engaging, immersive stories in all of the Expanded Universe with Dooku: Jedi Lost. This origin story enriches Dooku’s character so much that it even manages to elevate his on-screen appearances in the films.
The Republic’s greatest strength against the Separatists is the Jedi. But when the planet of Ord Cestus begins manufacturing a new form of bio-droid called the JK-13 that rivals the Jedi in martial prowess, the Chancellor becomes deeply concerned. Obi Wan Kenobi and Kit Fisto soon find themselves dispatched to Ord Cestus to stop the sale of the JK-13s to the Separatists before it’s too late. However, if diplomacy should fail, the Chancellor has given strict instructions to destroy the bio-droids at all costs—even if it requires means that are…not the Jedi way.
The Cestus Deception, written by Steven Barnes, presents wonderful foreshadowing into Obi Wan’s eventual disillusionment with the Republic and its actions across the galaxy.