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General Grievous
Position Supreme Commander of the Droid Armies
Homeworld Kalee
Species Kaleesh (cyborg)
Gender Male
Affiliation Confederacy of Independent Systems
Portrayed by Matthew Wood (voice)

General Grievous is a fictional character, part of the Star Wars canon. He is a chief antagonist in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, alongside Count Dooku, Darth Vader, and Palpatine. He was voiced by Matthew Wood. According to the Revenge of the Sith DVD, series creator George Lucas instructed his creative team to create an enemy that foreshadowed Anakin Skywalker's transformation into Darth Vader: the heavy breathing, the cyborg body, and his seduction into a malevolent faction.

Despite his stalking appearance, Grievous is very deadly with a lightsaber, having hunted, defeated, and kept the lightsabers of his Jedi victims as trophies. Combined with his cybernetic body, which is capable of wielding up to five lightsabers at once (counting one held in one of his feet, the other being used to maintain balance) he makes a deadly foe in close combat to all but a master Jedi.




Revenge of the Sith

His first mission was in the Attack of the Clones, but there were no survivors so no one could tell of him. The opening crawl of Revenge of the Sith explains that Grievous and Count Dooku have kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine and are holding him hostage. Grievous soon has Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker captured onboard his vessel, the Invisible Hand. Skywalker and Kenobi escape and confront Grievous on the bridge. Grievous grabs a fallen guard's electrostaff and smashes it through the viewport, sending himself into space. He uses a grappling hook to pull himself to the ship's exterior. He then uses his mechanical feet to magnetize to the outside of his fallen flagship to regain entry into the vessel, and flees in an escape pod.

Grievous directs his escape pod to the nearest Trade Federation control ship, where he orders his armies to retreat. He then travels to the planet Utapau, where the Separatist Council reside. Grievous is now the supreme leader of the Confederacy, as Dooku, the previous leader, died at Skywalker's hand in the earlier battle. Sidious orders him to move the Separatist leaders to the volcanic planet Mustafar.

Kenobi arrives shortly after the Separatists leave, and corners Grievous. Grievous takes out his lightsabers and engages Kenobi in combat. Kenobi seems to gain the upper hand, fending off Grievous' lightsabers and slicing off his two lower hands at the wrists; Grievous, however, escapes on his four-legged/single wheeled vehicle as the elite Republic assault force known as the 212th Assault Battalion begins its attack on the droid armies. Kenobi, atop his reptilian mount, chases after Grievous throughout most of the battlefield, and due to a blast from his own Clone Troopers, drops his lightsaber. He eventually pulls alongside Grievous and leaps to the General's vehicle, which soon careens out of control due to the intense struggle between him and Kenobi. Grievous and Kenobi fall from the craft to the surface of Grievous's secret landing platform, where he has his fighter docked. Grievous tries to shoot Obi-Wan, but Kenobi knocks the blaster away with Grievous's electrostaff. They begin to fight hand to hand, since the only weapon between the two of them is an electrostaff Grievous had on his vehicle. Kenobi rips open Grievous's chest-plates, revealing his internal organs. Grievous swings him around violently before hurling him over the edge of the landing platform and seizing the electrostaff to finish the job. Kenobi, greatly exhausted from the battle, and just able to hold onto the edge of the platform, uses the Force to retrieve Grievous' blaster, lying on the ground nearby. He fires five shots into Grievous' torso, igniting his flammable organic components. All of Grievous' organs ignite, and he starts to burn from the inside. Flames erupt from his eye sockets before he finally falls to the ground dead.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

General Grievous statues from the Clone Wars episode 10 "Lair of Grievous"

Grievous briefly appears at the beginning of the film standing with Count Dooku, and is later mentioned by Mace Windu as stretching out Separatist forces across the galaxy. He was introduced into the hit television series that began to air in 2008 on Cartoon Network, on which General Grievous is a major villain. He first appears on his new flagship the Malevolence, which is later brought down by Anakin Skywalker and his Padawan Ahsoka Tano. Soon after, Grievous plans an attack on the world of Kamino, to destroy the Republic's production of clone troopers. A fleet of Venator-class Star Destroyers are immediately dispatched and Grievous is forced to retreat and call off the planned attack on Kamino. He is also seen trying to buy R2-D2, another plot that is foiled by Anakin and his Padawan. His last appearance in Season One is fighting Kit Fisto and Nahdar Vebb in his lair. It should be noted that the backstory for Grievous in the series is that he always wished to be a Jedi, but lacked Force sensitivity, so he vowed to destroy the Jedi someday. It should also be noted that at the beginning of this episode, Grievous is portrayed through three statues depicting him as he was before he became a cybernetic droid.

The general first appeared in Season 2 in the episode "Grievous Intrigue", which aired on January 1, 2010, after over a year long absence. Grievous abducts Jedi Master Eeth Koth, a member of the Jedi council. The triumphant general sends a message with the imprisoned master, saying he doesn't care about the Jedi and their politics: he only lives, to see Jedi die. After the transmission, a Republic rescue team is quickly called upon, led by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Adi Gallia who makes her first appearance in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Grievous, once again thwarted by the Jedi, flees to the planet Saleucami where he mounts a desperate search for a working transmitter. Obi-Wan engages him, and in the nick of time, Grievous grapples onto a Separatist shuttle, cursing the Jedi as he retreats.

Expanded Universe

Clone Wars series

General Grievous attacks Ki-Adi Mundi.

Grievous makes his first chronological appearance in the Star Wars universe in episode 20 of the Cartoon Network series Star Wars: Clone Wars. In this series his voice is provided by John DiMaggio. He single-handedly attacks and dispatches seven Jedi in an aggressive display of lightsaber mastery. He begins the swift conquest of almost all of the Outer Rim planets, striking fear into the very heart of the Republic. Grievous leads the assault into the inner systems, along the Corellian Trade Spine, conquering world after world. He harbors an intense hatred of the Jedi, and takes great satisfaction in collecting their lightsabers as trophies after killing them.

As portrayed in the Clone Wars series' final episode, Grievous leads the Separatists in an attack on Coruscant, distracting the Jedi so he can kidnap Chancellor Palpatine (who, unbeknownst to Grievous, is also Sith Lord and Separatist leader Darth Sidious). In the process, he pursues Palpatine all the way from his office through the Skyline of Coruscant (on the back of a nearby transport) through the Coruscant Subway System, and finally to Palpatine's private bunker. Grievous finally sneaks into Palpatine's bunker and kills the Chancellor's Jedi guards, Roron Corobb and Foul Moudama, after distracting guard leader Shaak Ti and wrapping her in an electric cord. Mace Windu comes to the rescue after he and Yoda sense the attack on the city is a distraction. As Grievous escapes with his prize, Windu uses the Force to crush the general's chest plates, leaving him with the wheezing cough and bent posture seen in Revenge of the Sith.


The rest of Grievous' backstory is supplied in James Luceno's novel Labyrinth of Evil. During the war with the rival Huk, the Republic is called in to settle the dispute. Because the Huk world is rich in natural resources compared to the barren Kalee world, the Republic sides with Huk and sends several Jedi Knights to intervene on their behalf. Grievous (not yet a cyborg) and his armies are made to appear as the aggressors. Their homeworld is left in ruins.

Grievous becomes a security chief for the Intergalactic Banking Clan. San Hill, leader of the clan, notices Grievous' strategic genius, fearlessness, and skills. He is mentioned to the Confederacy of Independent Systems leader, Count Dooku. Led by Darth Sidious, the Sith Lords conspire to draw Grievous into the Separatist army. Despite Hill's generous offers, Grievous refuses to lead the Separatist army.

During an attack by the Republic's armies on the clan's base, Grievous' shuttle, with a bomb already attached, explodes and crashes. Grievous is mortally wounded in the crash, kept alive by technology, a transfusion of blood from the deceased Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas, and Dooku's mastery of the dark side; his shattered body is taken to the planet Geonosis, where most of it is replaced with a droid body that complements his natural reflexes. Hill approaches him and offers him the chance to live again in a cybernetic body and lead the Separatist army. Grievous initially resists — he would much rather die a warrior's death than watch his body sustained by technology — but Hill eventually persuades him by appealing to his desire for revenge. In actuality, this was Hill's plan all along, as the Separatists had booby trapped Grievous' shuttle themselves, meaning to leave the General with no other choice than to accept. Dooku then trains him in lightsaber combat until he is one of the best duelists in the galaxy, and whips his resentment of the Jedi into a frenzy. The metamorphosis is then completed leaving Grievous one of the most fearsome warriors of the Separatists' army.

Video games

General Grievous has appeared in several video games, notably, Star Wars: Battlefront II, "Star wars Republic Commandos" and the Revenge of the Sith video game. In Star Wars Battlefront II, it is suggested his cybernetic body was programmed with battle droid thought processes as he occasionally shouts "Roger, roger, roger, roger!"

Grievous next appears in the video game Star Wars: Galaxies. Following the establishment of the Galactic Empire, stormtroopers recover Grievous' body, transporting it and his captured starfighter to one of Palpatine's secret storehouses on Utapau. There it remains for years, until the cyberneticist Nycolai Kinesworthy uses the body of the Confederacy's greatest general for the N-K Project, to create the highly advanced droid N-K Necrosis. 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 facemask 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.[1] General Grievous also made a very brief appearance in Star Wars: Republic Commando, when Delta Squad almost caught him boarding his starship to an "unknown" planet. Grievous' next appearance was 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.

General Grievous appears as a playable character in Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Lightsaber Duels, released for the Nintendo Wii on November 11, 2008. General Grievous also appears as a playable character in Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron, released for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and Nintendo DS on November 3, 2009. Unlike Star Wars: Battlefront II, in the DS version, he can use his four arms at the cost of force points instead of the end of an attack.

Behind the scenes

General Grievous was developed for Episode III 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.

The initial design for General Grievous was created by Warren Fu. That initial sketch was refined and made into a foot-tall maquette sculpture. That was further refined when it was made into a realistic computer-generated model by Industrial Light and Magic. At the time, this was one of the most complicated models ever created by ILM, with many parts of differing physical qualities. General 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.

Movie notes

General Grievous' breathing problems in Revenge of the Sith were intended to emphasize his organic nature as well as the flaws of cyborg prosthetics. 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 off with Palpatine. The audio effects for the coughing were taken from Lucas himself, who had bronchitis during principal photography.[2]


General Grievous has been played by several actors. In the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series, the character was played by voice actor John DiMaggio in Chapter 20 (the Season 2 finale episode). The role of General Grievous was assigned to Richard McGonagle for Chapters 21–25 of Season 3. In the feature film Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, General Grievous was dubbed by actor and sound editor Matthew Wood. Wood also plays Grievous in the animated series The Clone Wars as well as for all of Grievous' video game appearances. Wood's portrayal gives Grievous a Russian accent. Grievous is portrayed by voice actor Rainer Doering in the German language version of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and by Tetsuo Goto in the Japanese language version of the film.

Gary Oldman, a friend of producer Rick McCallum, agreed to submit a voice audition, but his involvement never went beyond that. George Lucas never officially offered him the role.[citation needed] For several months following Oldman's reported (but never confirmed) refusal, actor John Rhys-Davies was widely reported to be the voice of Grievous. This was eventually revealed to be a prank by a humor website, which planted the misinformation to see how far it would spread.[3]


  1. ^ Star Wars: Galaxies
  2. ^ Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith DVD commentary featuring George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Rob Coleman, John Knoll and Roger Guyett, 2005.
  3. ^ John Rhys-Davies in Star Wars Episode III: A Grievous Media Hoax

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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The following articles relate to the Star Wars science-fiction universe created by George Lucas:

  • Feature films
    • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
    • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
    • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
    • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
    • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
    • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
    • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
  • TV specials
  • Video games
    • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
    • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
    • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
    • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
    • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
    • Star Wars: The Clone Wars Lightsaber Duels
    • Star Wars: Battlefront
    • Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • Miscellaneous

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