Clone Wars Weekly: Grievances With Grievous

Clone Wars: Grievances With Grievous

A fightin' mad General Grievous

Want to stump a Star Wars fan? Ask them what project formally introduced Separatist General Grievous to George Lucas’ universe? Do the same with Jedi Knight Kit Fisto. Watch them mention all six films, and gloat as they are told they are all wrong.

For the record, Grievous made his debut in Genndy Tartakovsky ’s now legendary animated Clone Wars micro-series. As for Fisto? Try the comics, Dark Horse’s to be specific.

So why bring these two recurring characters up? Because they are going to go at it one-on-one in tonight’s latest new episode, “Lair of Grievous.”

The basic premise of the episode is Count Dooku (voiced by Corey Burton) is still not exactly pleased with his subordinates. In “Cloak of Darkness” he put Ventress to the test. This time, he’s giving the cyborg killer Grievous a similar mission.

Basically, Dooku leaks a rumor as to where the recently escaped Nute Gunray (Tom Kenny) is hiding out. Fisto and his padawan, Nahdar Vebb, are set to recapture the Separatist Viceroy on the run. What they don’t know is the hideout, as the title implies, is really one of Grievous’ lairs. Grievous has a lovely habit of stringing the light sabers of the Jedi he’s killed around his waist like the bones of said Jedi. After the string of humiliations he’s endured, particularly from the Malevolence fiasco, the ‘bot with absolutely no heart is looking to add two more, Fisto and Vebb’s.

Personally, I have had issues with the way Grievous has been portrayed since Tartakovsky has moved back to doing Samurai Jack. In the original Clone Wars mini-arc, Grievous was a silent killer who was absolutely savage with a lightsaber. He kept the hands of Mace Windo, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker exceptionally tied with his monstrously lethal swordplay.

Moving into this new series, he’s been retconned into almost a chump. If he had a waxed mustache he’d be twiddling it like Dick Dastardly screaming “Curses! Foiled again!” In part, one can’t blame Grievous. It seems when it comes to regulation battle droids, Dooku apparently sends him all the rejects.

“The battle droids have this weird kind of desperation to them,” says Matt Wood, who voices Grievous and all his droids. “They really want to succeed. They just know that it’s not within their programming to do a good job. So there’s this weird, funny kind of sadness to them. It’s great to do both the villainy and the comedy.”

As for doing Grievous?

“I like playing a villain because it’s just no-holds-barred,” Wood says. “Villains don’t have an inner critic; they just speak their mind and make demands, come hell or high water, with no ramifications. And Grievous is a classic villain – he uses four lightsabers, he’s a Jedi killer, and I haven’t seen any humanity left in him. He knows about as much of the dark side of the Force as you can without having the Force, and now he’s just out for blood. I haven’t seen any redeemable qualities in him. That kind of puts him up on the list of all-time great villains.”

“I love playing both. It’s especially fun when they’re together because I get to play that juxtaposition. Grievous is so exasperated at the thought that he’s stuck with these idiotic, low-rent droids that can just be bowled over by Jedi, no problem.”

Then there’s Fisto. It seems that supervising director Dave Filoni and head storyman Henry Gilroy have plans for him.

“Kit isn’t one of the most serious Jedi. He tends to be more jovial,” Gilroy says. “To put him in a dire, life-or-death situation makes for a fun adventure because he tends to look on the more positive, naturally humorous side. Dread kind of rolls off him.”

“Kit is great for this episode,” says Filoni. “He has an excellent fight with Grievous, and the episode is brilliantly directed by Atsushi Takeuchi. While we had quite the challenge deciding what Kit Fisto’s voice would actually sound like, once it was determined he would have a bit of a Jamaican accent, Phil LaMarr really made it his own.”

So we should expect a lot of action with this episode.

“I went back to the old serials of the 1930s and looked at the terrible old places they used to create for the villains,” Gilroy says. “They were houses full of booby traps and monsters, with eyes knocked out of the paintings so the villain could look through and spy. It was fun to explore the home of the bad guy, to create a place so terrible that even the hero doesn’t want to be in there.

“It’s a great set-up because when the Jedi arrive, they’re expecting to find Nute Gunray – they don’t realize they’re in the lair of Grievous. From that point on, once they’re inside and realize they can’t get out, it’s basically a struggle to survive.”

We’ll most certainly find out tonight when “Lair of Grievous” airs at 9:00 p.m. eastern.

SPECIAL NOTE: For all you trivia buffs, Fisto appeared in the following Dark Horse titles:

* Star Wars Tales #14

* Star Wars Jedi #3: Aayla Secura

* Star Wars Republic #65-66: Show of Force

* Clone Wars Adventures Volume 1

* Clone Wars Adventures Volume 6

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