Warning! Spoilers ahead for Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi episode 4
While Tales of the Jedi episodes 2 and 3 reveal Dooku’s past with young Qui-Gon Jinn and a mission with Mace Windu, his final episode of the new Star Wars miniseries reveals his secret role during the events of The Phantom Menace. Having become justifiably disillusioned with the Jedi Order, Dooku began working with Darth Sidious in secret to bring « peace and order » to the galaxy. However, the events of the Skywalker saga’s first episode motivated Dooku’s full corruption to the dark side.
Dooku’s first two episodes of Tales of Jedi flesh out his character and past as a Jedi Master, revealing his more aggressive tactics and frustrations with the Jedi Order’s complacency and the Republic’s growing corruption. This culminates with Tales of the Jedi episode 4 which is set during The Phantom Menace. Meeting with major characters such as Qui-Gon Jinn, Darth Sidious, and Jedi Master Yaddle, Dooku’s role behind the scenes reshapes some incredibly important and previously unrevealed events set during The Phantom Menace.
At the beginning of Tales of the Jedi episode 4, Dooku is seen in the Jedi Temple archives deleting all data about the cloning world of Kamino, confirming his service to Sidious and his plans to start a civil war. Although he’s still a member of the Jedi Order, it seems Dooku has already given up on the Jedi Council and taken matters into his own hands with his new master. However, it’s also revealed that he met with Qui-Gon Jinn right after his old apprentice gave his report detailing his encounter with the Sith Lord Darth Maul on Tatooine. Having warned the Jedi Council about the « growing darkness » for years, Dooku isn’t surprised by the Council’s inaction. He also communicates his interest in meeting Qui-Gon’s apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Not only does this scene confirm Dooku was still among the Order during The Phantom Menace, it also shows he had hope that Qui-Gon and perhaps other Jedi would join him in being more proactive in their mandate to bring order to the galaxy, resisting what he saw to be the Jedi Council’s stagnation. It also sets up his first meeting with Obi-Wan in Attack of the Clones where he tries to get Kenobi to join his cause, believing Qui-Gon would have also joined him.
Following Qui-Gon’s tragic demise at the hands of Darth Maul, Dooku grieved his loss at the Jedi temple’s Great Tree, a favorite spot of his fallen apprentice. Implying to Jedi Master Yaddle that he held the Jedi Council partly accountable for Qui-Gon’s death, Dooku refused to attend Qui-Gon’s funeral on Naboo. However, his quick departure from the temple prompted suspicion from Yaddle.
Dooku still being a Jedi during The Phantom Menace is a minor retcon of past works such as the novel Dooku: Jedi Lost by Cavan Scott. However, it does allow Tales of the Jedi to provide an incredibly dynamic and tragic scene such as this one on-screen. The loss of Qui-Gon made a major impact on his master, one that would send him even further towards the dark side of the Force.
Immediately flying for Darth Sidious’ hidden lair on Coruscant, Dooku confronts his new master and accuses him of going too far with Qui-Gon’s murder. While Dooku confirms his hope to have made his apprentice into a powerful ally, Sidious counters that Qui-Gon would have only been loyal to Dooku alone. According to the Sith Lord, the deaths of both their apprentices were in service of their greater goal to bring peace and order.
Beginning to regret his betrayal of the Jedi and everything he’s already done for this « greater cause, » Sidious proves his skill as a master manipulator, using Dooku’s own beliefs and convictions to corrupt him even further as his new apprentice. « Remember what you told me » is exactly the same line and tactics Sidious uses to eventually corrupt Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader following the end of the Clone Wars.
Dooku’s final step in his descent to the dark side is also revealed in Tales of the Jedi, set just before the last scenes of The Phantom Menace. Having followed Dooku to Sidious’ lair, Yaddle confronts Dooku and his new master. Sidious demands that Dooku prove his loyalty by killing the Jedi Master, and Dooku reluctantly agrees. However, his resolve strengthens even after Yaddle reveals she stepped down from the Jedi Council, agreeing with Dooku that the Jedi Order’s leadership is flawed. Despite giving Dooku multiple chances to turn back to the light and be forgiven, Dooku believed it was too late, murdering Yaddle and dedicating himself fully to Sidious’ service.
This newly revealed confrontation with Jedi Master Yaddle makes Dooku’s turn to the dark side far more impactful and tragic than it was previously. Furthermore, the fact that all of this happened during the events of The Phantom Menace puts Episode 1 in a whole new light. Tales of Jedi’s Dooku episodes not only flesh out an already compelling character in the Star Wars galaxy, but they also expand upon the Skywalker saga itself in some very exciting that enrich the viewing experience.
All episodes of Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi season 1 are now streaming on Disney+.