enter image description hereGeneral Grievous met his demise when his ship was sabotaged and exploded before he was later revived and transformed into a cyborg by Count Dooku. However, one intriguing question I have is why General Grievous gained four arms instead of two. He originally had only two arms in his original body, so it raises the question of whether it was a stylistic choice or an in-universe reason that led to the alteration.

  • 45
    So that he can use four lightsabers, of course.
    – Cadence
    Feb 28 at 15:05
  • 35
    Four-armed is forewarned, as they say.
    – Kyralessa
    Feb 28 at 19:11
  • 44
    Because if he had seventeen arms he'd look ridiculous.
    – Valorum
    Feb 28 at 23:09
  • 7
    What is the source for this image?
    – Stef
    Feb 29 at 11:53
  • 9
    If you were mostly robot, wouldn't you want 4 arms? Feb 29 at 13:16

2 Answers 2


Grievous is a Kaleesh warrior who was severely injured when his shuttle was sabotaged by agents of Count Dooku so they could transform him into an "enhanced cybernetic being" and train him to become a valuable asset for the Separatists.

Grievous also hated droids and his mechanical body, and of course the Sith believe that hatred is a powerful weapon. Changing Grievous as much as possible would increase that hatred and thus make him even more valuable to achieving the Sith's ends:

Furious that his body had been entirely replaced with that of the droids he hated despite it being his own wish to become a cyborg that put him down such a path, Grievous slaughtered all the guards present at his resurrection.

Given the resources available to Count Dooku and the desire to transform the Grievous into an unstoppable opponent, it's not surprising that he would have been given mechanical enhancements, including the ability to split his arms for additional fighting capacity. Dooku trained Grievous to fight with lightsabers clearly at least partially so he could kill Jedi. Being able to wield four lightsabers instead of the one or two most Jedi are accustomed to facing gives Grievous an much needed edge over his Jedi opponents, who have the advantage of being able to use the Force.

Out-of-universe it's fairly obvious that Grievous' arms were introduced because they looked cool and would come as a fun surprise to viewers when his arm splitting and four lightsabers were revealed. Of course, such a character could also be adapted into a variety of popular toys. Interestingly, the idea behind Grievous was to stand as someone who would be like Darth Vader, with the cyborg element being increased even further:

With General Grievous, I wanted somebody who was reminiscent of what Anakin is going to become, which is a half man, half robot. In this case, Grievous is sort of 20% alien and 80% robot.

-- George Lucas

So adding more arms is a logical step when trying to find ways to show that Grievous is extra-cyborgy.

Interestingly during filming they had a lot of trouble with the scene with Obi-Wan dueling the four-armed Grievous, so:

In the end, it was decided that Grievous should lose several of his hands quickly to make filming easier on the crew, explaining why Grievous only briefly uses all four of his limbs to duel in Revenge of the Sith

(Note all quotations and facts in this answer were pulled from the Wookiepedia Grievous article.)

This YouTube video from the "Behind Star Wars" channel has some additional discussion on the development of the character.



The filmmakers' intent in giving Grievous four arms was to make him stand out by virtue of his combat style:

"Because he was the main action villain, we needed to create a special talent for him. So we gave him two arms that turn into four arms, which is a neat trick and visually very arresting." —Lucas

The Art of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, page 213

It seems that the specific idea of giving him four arms came in the process of first sculpting the character. From Lucasfilm artist Robert Barnes:

"For the Grievous sculpt, my approach was to keep in mind the character first, followed by design, then function. So I spent a week building just the armature. Ryan decided we should explore more design for the rest of the body. He did some quick studies and consulted with Jun and Iain. We stuck everyone's favorite parts into the sculpture, with the idea that Grievous is an elite droid, so he wouldn't have anything reminiscent of standard droids. I came up with opposing split arms, because of the way the forms were developing."

The Art of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, page 115; emphasis added

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