Why does General Grievous have a cough in the Star Wars movie Revenge of the Sith? General Grievous is a rather contentious Star Wars villain. For people who grew up with the character, he and his four arms are the epitome of cool. But, for some older fans, the Star Wars character can seem silly with his spinning and his eccentricities.
Either way, like so many Star Wars aliens General Grievous has an inventive and engrossing backstory. He was, famously, trained in the Jedi arts by the Sith lord Count Dooku, but his inability to use the Force means that he is not strictly a Sith – just an cybernetic alien wielding many lightsabers.
General Grievous was instrumental in kidnapping Emperor Palpatine during the battle of Coruscant, and after Dooku’s death, he became the de facto leader of the separatist armies. He battled and lost to Jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi on Utapau in one of the most famous Star Wars scenes in the prequel trilogy. But why did General Grievous have a cough, and why is it never explained?
Why does General Grievous have a cough?
The story behind General Grievous’s cough is explained in the animated series, Star Wars: Clone Wars volume 2. The Clone Wars volume one and two (which is a collection of shorts, and is different to the newer Clone Wars series that had characters like Ahsoka) was set in-between the events of Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. Volume two led directly into Revenge of the Sith, and showed the Clone Wars and how Palpatine was kidnapped by General Grievous.
In fact, it was during this kidnap that General Grievous got his cough. As the character was fleeing onto a Star Wars ship with Palpatine in tow, the Jedi master Mace Windu attempted to use to Force to drag him back. This wasn’t entirely successful, but it did crush General Grievous’s chest leaving him with a nasty cough. You can watch the moment following the link here.
Despite volume one and two not strictly being canon, George Lucas enjoyed the backstory for Grievous’s cough and felt that it gave the character personality so he incorporated it into his science fiction movie. So, General Grievous has a cough because Mace Windu used the Force to crush his chest.
This means that in the action movies, we never truly see General Grievous at the height of his physical powers. This is something of a shame, because in volume one and two, Grievous is shown to be a terrifying and powerful adversary, and he battles (and kills) many Jedi knights and Jedi masters.
For more on Star Wars, keep up to date with Andor by checking out our guide to Andor season 2 release date, or our Andor season 1 recap. Alternatively, take a look at our explainers on the Andor cast of characters including Cassian Andor, Mon Mothma, Dedra Meero, Syril Karn, and Luthen Rael.