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Star Wars: *cough-cough* for This General Grievous Breakdown

5 Minute Read
Apr 26 2024

He’s got a mostly cybernetic body, a vendetta against the Jedi, and arguably too many lightsabers—join us for a General Grievous breakdown.

General Grievous is one of the most famous bad guys in Star Wars. No one else we see on-screen looks, moves, or sounds quite like him, and his fighting style would give any Jedi pause. But who’s the man behind the helicopter of lightsabers and wheeze?

His first appearance in the Galaxy was in the now dubiously canon Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars, where an animated Grievous tore through Jedi-like tissue paper and established himself as a truly scary foe to take on. For his latest appearance, he’ll soon be appearing in Tales of the Empire on Disney+.

It would be a fitting introduction to his character. Considering his past and tendency to appear much more fearsome and competent in animated shows than in feature films.

Who is General Grievous?

Originally known as Qymaen jai Sheelal, Grievous was a Kaleesh from the planet Kalee. He had a reverence for his planet’s warlords from an early age. And he eventually joined them, becoming a skilled student of battle tactics in Kalee’s wars and growing a grudge against the Galactic Republic.

By the time he caught the notice of Count Dooku and Darth Sidious, he had made a name for himself as a galactic kingslayer. Their interest mixed with his hatred for the Jedi Order as the protectors of the Republic, and their terrible team-up practically built itself.


Grievous took on cybernetic enhancements slowly over time. He replaced one piece of himself after another, hoping they could increase his combat skills. And it worked–to a terrifying degree.

But a shuttle crash would destroy most of the rest of his natural body. It forced him to become the little-more-than-a-brain-in-armor brand of cyborg we see on the big screen.

Programming would assist his training and enhancements would make him a faster, smarter fighter. But the memories of his past were lost, and the implants irritated his somehow surviving lungs, giving him persistent breathing issues for the rest of his life.

Dooku taught Grievous the ways of lightsaber battle. And so the multi-armed cyborg nightmare we’re familiar with was born.

Joining the Separatist Alliance to fight against the Galactic Republic and Jedi Order, he was given the rank of General and went on to be a terror in the war.


General Grievous vs. Everyone

He has taken on Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Kit Fisto, plus countless other Jedi and Padawans. And he killed quite a few of them to feed his lightsaber collection and hatred.

Grievous also took on Darth Maul and various night sisters, including Asajj Ventress.

In the end, picking a fight with Kenobi and his few remaining organic bits was his downfall. Obi-Wan tore open part of his armor and ignited the organs inside with an electrostaff, leaving just a hollow cybernetic shell. Maybe a little over the top, but I think Kenobi may have been just a little justified.

What is General Grievous and Who Was He Before?

Before becoming Grievous, he was known as Qymaen jai Sheelal and looked like a normal Kaaleesh from Kalee. A special interest in his planet’s warlords inspired him to become the most powerful and feared warrior out there. So Qymaen began to rebuild himself with cybernetic enhancements in order to become as powerful, strong, and unstoppable as possible. Later a shuttle crash would force him to replace almost the entirety of his natural body and force him to become mostly cybernetic.

Why Does General Grievous Cough?

The shuttle crash that cost Grievous his body left him with little more than a brain and a pair of lungs. Unfortunately, neither works at 100% as many of his early memories are missing. Additionally, his lungs were badly damaged in the crash and subsequent cyberizing. This gives him breathing issues and a cough.


Is Grievous a Droid?

No. He is a Kaaleesh alien from Kalee with countless cybernetic replacements, upgrades, and augmentations. But does have some remaining organic parts and is not a droid.

Is General Grievous a Sith?

Also no. Despite being trained by the Sith Count Dooku and infamy for wielding multiple lightsabers at once, he is never shown to be sensitive to the Force and therefore not a Sith.

How Tall is Grievous?

He is 7′ 1″ or 216 cm tall.

Sometimes he appears to be shorter because he tends to hunch. But once his body is not covered in a robe and he assumes a battle position, his full height helps make Grievous an imposing and terrifying figure to his enemies.

Lego General Grievous

There are a few versions of Lego General Grievous out there, including as a Mini Fig and as a stand-alone buildable figure. Unfortunately, these prequel Lego sets are no longer made, and the remaining sets in buildable or collectible condition can get a little pricy. For example, this General Grievous Kit numbered 75112 is listed for $159.54.


His Mini Fig could be found in the now-retired General Grievous Starfighter set, numbered 75286. And of course, it came with a General Kenobi as well as their cumulative five light sabers.

Is General Grievous one of your favorite Star Wars antagonists? Do you prefer his appearances in live-action movies or animated TV shows? How many lightsabers are too many lightsabers to wield at once? Let us know in the comments!

May the Force be with you, adventurers!

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