There was an organic soldier who so admired the cool logic of the droids—and wanted so much to mirror their infallibility, strength, and power—that he took to replacing parts of his own organic body with a series of carefully crafted mechanical components.
Droid-like and reptilian, menacing and maniacal, a fierce fighter in lightsaber combat but with a respiratory system like a chainsmoker, General Grievous burst onto the Star Wars scene in Revenge of the Sith in a storm of twirling blades. George Lucas called the CIS general "an alien in a droid shell." Known for his collection of lightsabers from the Jedi he’s slain, he’s able to go toe-to-toe in a saber duel against even the best of the Jedi swordsmen. And he’s not even Force-sensitive! A character developed by George Lucas as a layer of complexity in the conflict of the Clone Wars and a secondary villain for Revenge of the Sith, General Grievous is a bold choice in every way. In many ways a prototype for the life-prolonging technology that would sustain Darth Vader, Grievous is a little rougher around the edges—clanky and raspy, unhinged and sinister.
While his introduction for the majority of fans was in 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, he first premiered in Gendy Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars microseries (2004) as a Separatist General more than capable of matching up against the Republic’s Jedi generals. He’s more machine than. . . well, whatever he once was. Not afraid of fleeing the scene when the odds aren’t in his favor, Grievous is a mustache-twirling nod to villains of the serials of old that George Lucas so loved—with a cape over the shoulder and everything.
His history, however, is explored in bits and pieces across the Expanded Universe. In fact, his sordid backstory is what makes him so compellingly mysterious. The Revenge of the Sith novelization says that he remembered joy, frustration, grief, and sorrow, but his experience of emotion was long lost along with his organic body, and the recently released Myths and Fables story “The Droid with a Heart” tells a tall-tale of his downfall. Whether these stories are derived from George Lucas's original fully-fledged backstory that never quite saw the light of day, involving him being rejected by the Jedi, may forever be a mystery.
Then comes his garish appearance. The recent Age of Republic one-shot shows what he might once have looked like in a memory, Clone Wars concept art pictures him almost like a Star-Wars dinosaur, and Hasbro even produced a “Pre-cyborg Grievous” action figure in 2007. For those truly dedicated to knowing everything about the droid general as possible, Unknown Soldier: The Story of General Grievous from Star Wars Insider 86 tells the Legends of his backstory, but Canon has taken a few more liberties. Whatever he used to look like, he eventually came to be visually striking in his bone-white armor with an extra set of limbs when he needs to battle or scamper away. His rotten flesh is visible under the surface and his chilling eyes, slit like a snake, pierce the viewer’s soul.
He’s a character rife for more expansive storytelling in the years to come, but for now you can add these tales to your collection.
Our team is hard at work building out this collection. Stay tuned!
Books in this Collection
Labyrinth of Evil
Darth Sidious has expertly hidden his existence from the Jedi for many years. In Labyrinth of Evil, his elusiveness shines towards the end of the Clone Wars as his identity is being chased by Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.
While Anakin and Obi Wan are occupied with their intense mission, Count Dooku and General Grievous work on setting their master's next plans into motion. Author James Luceno uses this opportunity to offer us the backstories of these two villains before foreshadowing Anakin's fall to the dark side.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Every Star Wars movie has an accompanying novelization, but none so impressive as Revenge of the Sith. While it expertly tells the story of the film, it also manages to add to it in unexpected ways. Not only is it the best novelization, it’s a fantastic work of fiction in and of itself.
Matthew Stover outdoes himself in this novelization by painting Obi Wan, Anakin, and the rest of the Jedi as glorified super heroes in the eyes of the common man in the Star Wars universe. Somehow, this raises the stakes of one of the most intense episodes of the saga and makes Anakin’s ultimate fate even more impactful.
Omnibus: Wild Space Volume 2
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.