There are a lot of different lightsaber designs in the world of Star Wars, as the design of a lightsaber depends entirely on the Jedi or Sith using the blade. Of course, out of all of the different lightsabers we’ve seen, Count Dooku’s lightsaber seems to have one of the unique designs because it comes with a curved hilt instead of the usual straight hilt that the Jedi use. So, why is it that Count Dooku‘s lightsaber is curved?
The real-world reason why Dooku’s lightsaber is curved is that he chose to have a curved hilt for various reasons, including his arthritis and fencing background. Meanwhile, in-universe, Dooku has a curved hilt on his saber because it fits his noble lineage and favored lightsaber combat form.
Even though there are a lot of iconic lightsaber designs in the world of Star Wars, Dooku’s lightsaber was the first to break tradition and was also the original “cool” lightsaber. Of course, there are many different reasons why he had a curved hilt on his lightsaber, and that is what we are here to talk about.
The real-world reason
When Count Dooku first appeared in ‘Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones,” no one actually thought that he would be a threat as a fighter because he let the droids do the fighting during the First Battle of Geonosis.
However, when Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker chased and took him on, we saw that Dooku was an incredibly powerful Force user and a gifted duelist. And when he took his lightsaber out, things became serious.
Of course, after he took his lightsaber out, Dooku quickly attracted the attention of many different Star Wars fans. That’s because his lightsaber had a unique design that was different from all of the other sabers in Star Wars at that time.
While we eventually learned in the later Star Wars projects that the Jedi had freedom in choosing the design of their lightsabers, Dooku’s own saber broke tradition because it didn’t have a straight hilt. Instead, it came with a curved hilt that gave it a more intricate and regal design.
There was a reason why George Lucas and his team decided to give Count Dooku’s lightsaber a curved hilt. Of course, Roel Robles, who worked as one of the designers of Dooku’s saber, said they tried to give his hilt a unique look different from the other sabers we’ve seen. As a Filipino, Robles had a unique taste for swords because he was used to Filipino and Asian weapons instead of the more rugged Western swords.
“We were trying to come up with a different lightsaber design,” Robles said. “I do Filipino martial arts, which includes fighting with different sticks and knives. I had a collection of Filipino and other Asian fighting swords. So, when we were doing Count Dooku’s hilt, I brought in my collection for everyone to see.”
Lucas chose a traditional Filipino sword called the barong as the inspiration for the hilt of Count Dooku’s lightsaber. But there was another reason Lucas decided to use this curved hilt, which goes back to Christopher Lee.
Not many people know this, but Christopher Lee was an actor with many different talents. He was a talented swordsman and had a background in fencing. And because he also did some of the simpler lightsaber maneuvers in the movie, Lee chose a curved hilt for two reasons.
The first reason was that he was a descendant of King Charlemagne, who was known to have a sword with a curved hilt. And the second reason was that having a curved hilt made it easier for Lee, who was already quite old during the filming of the prequel trilogy, to hold a lightsaber despite suffering from arthritis.
So, in a sense, Count Dooku’s lightsaber hilt was curved due to creative and practical decisions on the part of both George Lucas and Christopher Lee. But his curved hilt was given an in-universe explanation.
The in-universe explanation
In the Star Wars world, there was a different reason why Count Dooku had a curved hilt on his lightsaber. Of course, as mentioned, it was his choice to have a curved hilt because the Jedi were allowed to choose the designs of their sabers. But the biggest reason was his chosen lightsaber combat form.
Count Dooku was the master of Form II: Makashi, the most precise and accurate out of all the different lightsaber combat forms. Makashi resembled a marriage between fencing and ballet. It was developed as a way for the Jedi to defeat other lightsaber-wielding opponents without the need to maim or kill them. And that’s because Form II utilized precise and accurate moves meant to disarm.
Form II was meant to break defenses using smaller yet incredibly precise and accurate moves that were quicker than other attacks but lacked power behind them. That was why, in his duel with Obi-Wan in ‘Attack of the Clones,’ Count Dooku broke Kenobi’s defense by using pinpoint strikes that quickly disarmed him without cutting his limbs off or dealing permanent damage.
Using a curved hilt allowed Dooku to hold his blade in an unorthodox way. This allowed him to use his lightsaber-like fencing, as it was easier for him to perform pinpoint attacks with a flick of a wrist. And when Dooku taught Asajj Ventress his Form II style, the assassin also used lightsabers with curved hilts.
Of course, this goes back to the fact that Christopher Lee had a background in fencing. As such, he was allowed to use his own fighting style in ‘Attack of the Clones,’ and the lore had to adapt to his swordsmanship.
Why did Yoda hate Dooku’s lightsaber?
Not many people know this, but Yoda hated Dooku’s lightsaber design. We all know that Dooku used to be Yoda’s Padawan learner decades ago. But that didn’t mean that they were always in agreement on everything. And Dooku’s lightsaber design was something that Yoda was never fond of.
Dooku, as his title of “Count” suggests, grew up in a noble family in Serenno. In fact, his family was the ruling class of Serenno, which meant that he was meant to be the ruler of the planet before becoming a Jedi. Of course, Dooku eventually returned to his home planet to take up the responsibility of being the Count of Serenno.
But what does that have to do with why Yoda hated his lightsaber? The fact that Dooku chose an elegant lightsaber that broke Jedi tradition didn’t sit well with Yoda because Dooku never forgot about his noble lineage. Dooku’s lightsaber was more ornamental instead of looking like the weapon of a protector.
The Jedi were meant to be humble servants of the people of the Republic instead of acting like nobility. But the fact that Dooku still stuck to his noble roots was not exactly something that the Jedi Council, including Yoda, thought was becoming of a Jedi. And that was why his lightsaber design was never something that Yoda and the other members of the Jedi Council liked.
What is the advantage of a curved hilt lightsaber?
Normally, a curved hilt lightsaber doesn’t offer any advantages to a combatant. It all boils down to the lightsaber combat style that the Jedi or the Sith prefers. In this case, Dooku preferred Form II: Makashi, which required him to have quick, precise, and accurate strikes that may not be powerful but were very effective at disarming opponents.
In that regard, a curved hilt allowed Dooku to hold his lightsaber more unorthodoxly. Holding the curved part of the hilt allowed his wrist more freedom of movement. As such, he could perform smaller yet incredibly precise moves using a curved hilt instead of the traditional straight hilt.
But a curved hilt offers no advantage in the hands of a Jedi or Sith that doesn’t use Form II: Makashi. It is even possible that a curved hilt makes it harder for a certain duelist to perform specific moves unique to the lightsaber combat form they prefer.
Have something to add? Let us know in the comments!