Did Star Wars Just Retcon Count Dooku’s Backstory?!

The Star Wars canon continuity delves into untold stories of Count Dooku and Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi, but unfortunately creates new continuity issues in the process. The Star Wars franchise began a new mainstream continuity in 2014, with the original trilogy, prequel trilogy, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars being the only previous properties to remain part of the official canon going forwards. Canon, unfortunately, has a habit of irreparable continuity snarls, and the Count Dooku retcons in Tales of the Jedi appear to be the latest example of this problem.

Tales of the Jedi episode 4, “The Sith Lord,” reveals key moments in Dooku’s life, such as his erasure of Kamino from the Jedi archives and his official ascension to Sith Lordship following his murder of Jedi Master Yaddle. The episode, unfortunately, seems to contradict the timeline of the 2019 audiobook Dooku: Jedi Lost, which establishes that Dooku had left the Jedi Order and retreated from the public eye before becoming Darth Tyranus. Tales of the Jedi’s potential contradictions are hardly the first time that Star Wars canon has had screen media overwrite printed media, and unlike Legends (previously the official Star Wars continuity), these are usually not continuity snarls that can be patched up with clever retcons, proving once again that the current Star Wars canon cares less about a tidy continuity than its predecessor.

Printed canon material like Dooku: Jedi Lost, 2019’s Master & Apprentice, and 2022’s Padawan establish that Count Dooku had left the Jedi Order and joined The Lost Twenty well before joining the Sith Order and becoming Darth Tyranus. While Dooku was allowed to visit the Jedi Temple, given his past, Tales of the Jedi frames him as an active member of the Jedi Order in “The Sith Lords,” not a reclusive former Jedi. Dooku is able to access the Jedi archives without raising suspicion, only using Sifo-Dyas’ when using their computer system, and his conversations with Jocasta Nu, Yaddle, and Qui-Gon Jinn are far too familiar to coincide with established canon. Dooku: Jedi Lost author Cavan Scott has tried to clear up the discrepancies with a series of helpful posts on Twitter, but this only narrowly helps avoid a retcon at best.

Canon screen media often contradicts Star Wars’ print media, with one of the clearest examples being The Clone Wars season 7 depicting the Siege of Mandalore significantly differently from 2016’s Ahsoka novel. Another example is Star Wars: The Bad Batch, which overwrites the backstory of Kanan Jarrus as established in the Kanan: The Lost Padawan comic series. Tales of the Jedi only exacerbates both examples by further depicting Ahsoka’s story differently from the Ahsoka novel and showing a young Caleb Dume as a pupil of Depa Billaba before the two were established to have met each other.

One continuity snarl was repaired, however, not unlike Tales of the Jedi’s Count Dooku issues. The Book of Boba Fett includes Yoda’s lightsaber decades after its destruction in the Darth Vader comics, but canon later establishes that Yoda had multiple lightsabers and the one Luke Skywalker presents to Grogu is not the one destroyed on Coruscant. This sort of continuity maintenance was extremely common in the Legends timeline, which reconciled issues like the multiple origin stories of Boba Fett or the seemingly convoluted theft of the Death Star plans with clever retcons that allowed all Star Wars media to be equally legitimate and canonical, regardless of their medium or how ancillary they might be. Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi, while a welcome addition to Star Wars animation, unfortunately, reinforces canon’s carelessness with its own continuity and its tendency to disregard printed media in favor of film and television.