We see numerous times over the course of Star Wars that a Sith will kill his master and take a new apprentice for himself with a plan to control the galaxy. We never see this behavior from Count Dooku in the movies.

Is there anything within the canon that would suggest Dooku had undertaken any extensive planning to kill and replace his master?

Note that I'm looking for events prior to his fight with Anakin Skywalker.

  • This assumes Dooku knew Palpatine intended Anakin to become a full Sith versus another Dark Acolyte, similar to Ventress to Dooku.
    – phantom42
    Jun 25, 2015 at 17:14
  • @MatthewFrontino - the linked answer addresses the "Why". "It is... fatiguing, to play the villain for so long, Master. I find myself looking forward to an honorable captivity." Jun 26, 2015 at 0:17
  • @DVK I'm not sure I buy that he was in this whole plot because he was tired of being the bad guy...the why is why did he trust palpatine, not why was he in the battle of coruscant
    – MAF
    Jun 26, 2015 at 0:20
  • 3
    Is this really a duplicate? The other question was asking why Dooku didn't betray/expose Palpatine AFTER his betrayal. This question is asking why he didn't before, and if he ever had any plans to do so. Motivation in each case would be completely different, the first one would be because you were betrayed so now you're trying to save yourself, the second one would be out of greed and lust for power.
    – Demarini
    Jun 26, 2015 at 21:11
  • @DVK - I'm not convinced this is a dupe, especially given that the new Clone Wars explicitly shows that Dooku was indeed plotting a coup.
    – Valorum
    Jul 24, 2015 at 21:30

4 Answers 4


In canon, it seems that Dooku does have some ambition in taking the mantle from Sidious.

After Dooku attempts to kill Asajj Ventress, Mother Talzin comes up with a plan to kill Dooku. She offers Dooku a force-sensitive male Zabrak named Savage Opress as a gift. After testing Savage, Dooku takes him as his secret apprentice. Dooku believes that he can one day overthrow Sidious with help from Savage. Unfortunately for Dooku, Savage betrays him.

In season 3, episode 13, of the Clone Wars, Dooku expresses his desire to overthrow Sidious:

Dooku: "And the Jedi?"
Opress: "Dead."
Dooku: "Very impressive Savage. Return to Serenno immediately."
Savage: "Very well, my Lord."
Dooku: "I foresee we will do great things together. I shall teach you the ways of the Dark Side. Soon your powers will rival that of the great Sith Lord, Darth Maul. We will be even more powerful than Lord Sidious! We shall rule the galaxy together, my apprentice."
Savage: I am your servant, Master.

  • 3
    I'm surprised Sith often think that way. "I will kill my master, so I can be the master and cultivate an apprentice myself! That way I will stay in power!"
    – SK19
    May 13, 2018 at 7:37
  • @SK19: I believe that is the very rationale for the Rule of Two: Each Sith Lord believes himself (or, rarely, herself) to be the most powerful Dark Side practitioner ever. To claim the mantle of Master, he must prove that he is the most powerful so far. Jan 10, 2020 at 17:14

As far as the canon goes, I found four relevant examples, listed in 'in-universe' chronological order:

1) In the Attack of the Clones movie, when Count Dooku has Obi-wan trapped on Geonosis, he tries to lure Obi-wan into helping him overthrow Sidious:

Dooku: What if I told you that the Republic was now under the control of the Dark Lord of the Sith?

Obi-wan: No, that's not possible. The Jedi would be aware of it.

Dooku: The dark side of the Force has clouded their vision, my friend. Hundreds of senators are now under the influence of a Sith lord called Darth Sidious.

Obi-wan: I don't believe you.

Dooku: The viceroy of the Trade Federation was once in league with this Darth Sidious but he was betrayed ten years ago by the dark lord. He came to me for help. He told me everything. You must join me, Obi-Wan, and together we will destroy the Sith!

Though there is some debate as to whether or not he was sincere in this request, see Why did Dooku reveal the truth about Darth Sidious to Obi-Wan on Geonosis?

2) Darth Sidious ordering Count Dooku to kill his assassin/apprentice, Asajj Ventress, in TCW 3x12:

Sidious: Lord Tyranus.

Dooku: My master.

S: There is a disturbance in the force. Your assassin, she has become very powerful.

D: Yes, my lord. She is quite important to me.

S: Too important. I can sense her powers growing stronger. I would hate to think you are training your own sith apprentice to destroy me.

D: Never. My allegiance is to you and you alone.

S: Then you must prove it. Eliminate her.

D: She's my most trusted ...

S: I said eliminate her!

D: As you wish, my lord.

3) The part mentioned by ncalmbeblpaicr0011 in TCW 3x13, taken with a grain of salt considering that Sidious had just ordered Dooku to get rid of his previous apprentice, and there wasn't anything further mentioned in TCW about Dooku trying to overthrow Sidious.

4) In the novelisation of Return of the Sith, by Matthew Stover, you can find excerpts referenced in What was Dooku's plan for the Battle of Coruscant? which discuss Dooku's frame of mind towards Sidious at that point.

  • Vastly better. You have my +1. This could still be improved further if you created a central thesis (e.g. Dooku is/isn't seriously planning to overthrow Sidious)
    – Valorum
    Jul 25, 2015 at 21:32
  • 1
    I wouldn't be able to substantiate one; I don't know why Dooku behaved the way he did or how he thought he'd actually be able to achieve what he claimed he wanted to. It doesn't seem like he even had a cogent plan. Turning and using Kenobi to overthrow Sidious then somehow convince the Jedi and entire Republic to let them be in charge vs defeating Sidious with Ventress/Savage vs playing third fiddle stalking-horse-hero to Sidious/Vader? I wouldn't know where to go with that, and apparently he didn't either :)
    – Phyneas
    Jul 25, 2015 at 22:01
  • I rewrote the answer to make the events chronological in-universe, but I'll leave it at that.
    – Phyneas
    Jul 26, 2015 at 5:20
  • No worries. You've already improved it being recognition. You already had my +1 but I look forward to reading your future answers.
    – Valorum
    Jul 26, 2015 at 6:15


In keeping with the time-honored tradition of the Sith, Dooku was constantly plotting to acquire more power than Sidious, and to overthrow him. With each darksider he trained, Dooku’s ultimate ambition was to become more powerful than Sidious, and thus supplant him.

When Quinlan Vos fell to the dark side, Dooku explicitly plotted to "take down Sidious" and "rule the galaxy" with Vos, in an almost word-for-word.

He smirked. “I doubt that will be happening anytime soon. Vos is a Dark Lord, as I am, and he knows better than to turn against his kind.”

Ventress stiffened. “A Dark Lord?” Could Obi-Wan have been right?

“Oh, yes,” Dooku said casually. “He has sworn allegiance to the dark side. He and I will take down Lord Sidious once and for all, and rule the galaxy together.” He added, “Hopefully, you’ll have been disposed of by then.”

Ventress narrowed her eyes and put an unnecessary amount of pressure on his wound. He gasped most satisfactorily. “I’ve heard that line before. Didn’t we once have similar plans?”

Through gritted teeth, Dooku said, “No, no. You must have been mistaken. You were never cut out for anything more than grunt work. Vos is different. He was born for the darkness. You”—he smiled cruelly—“you just…flirt with it.”

Dark Disciple

This also establishes that Sidious’s worries about Dooku training Ventress to help him overthrow the former were not at all idle: Dooku indeed intended to train Ventress as his apprentice, and thus declare himself a new Sith Master.

He also planned to do the same thing with Savage Oppress:

COUNT DOOKU: I foresee we will do great things together. I shall teach you the ways of the Dark Side. Soon your powers will rival that of the great Sith Lord, Darth Maul. We will be even more powerful than Lord Sidious! We shall rule the galaxy together, my apprentice.

The Clone Wars, “Monster”

This consistency bespeaks long-term ambition to overthrow Sidious, and not merely the occasional bout of ambition.


While I believe that Dooku was planning to overthrow Sidious eventually, I think that he was not yet ready. He likely felt that he still had much to learn, and expected to benefit greatly as his master's plans came to fruition. He was blind to the fact that, as Chancellor Palpetine, his master was already grooming his replacement. He is genuinely shocked when the Chancellor orders his execution. So, while he had plans to one day become the master, he knew he was not yet a match for Sidious and did not have any kind of substantial plan for how to kill his master.

  • This could benefit from referencing, since we encourage evidence-backed answers, rather than speculations. Dec 15, 2016 at 9:03
  • I know. I wish I did have more references than just his reaction to the execution order. I realize that this probably ought to be a comment, but I'm not allowed to comment yet (except on my own answers). Sorry.
    – c-war
    Dec 15, 2016 at 23:21

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