Count Dooku, as we've discussed in previous articles, was a master duellist who excelled in Makashi, a saber form inspired by the real world art of fencing and all about overcoming enemies in one on one duels using finesse, poise and subtlety.
But none of that really explains a design quirk that makes Dooku's lightsaber so iconic. We're talking, of course, about the curved hilt his saber possesses. So, why is Count Dooku's lightsaber curved? Let's take a look at the real answer and some other unusual lightsaber styles....
Sir Christopher Lee Suggested It
Christopher Lee was a titan of the cinematic world, a man renowned for his theatrics and his presence. He portrayed Dracula, Saruman, Dooku and many more roles.
In what is an unverified but largely undisputed claim, Sir Christopher also said he has done more sword fights on screen than any other actor. Considering he didn't rely on stunt doubles, that is easy to believe. Here he is explaining his history as a screen duellist and his philosophy on portraying realistic swordfights.
Pay attention to 2.00 onwards, where he states:
"The most important thing about swordfights, other than getting it right, is to make it look like you intend to kill the other person as quickly as possible."
According to rumours that have never been officially verified, it was the actor's own love of fencing and realistic swordfighting that led to the curved hilt design. In the real world, many fencing sabers had curved (or pistol grip) hilts. Sir Lee refused to wield a saber like a broadsword and instead wanted to demonstrate the real artistry of fencing.
There is, however, a second rumour that suggests the hilt is curved to pay homage to Sir Christopher's heritage. The actor is a direct descendant of King Charlemagne, otherwise known as Charles the Great. The actual ceremonial sword wielded by that ruler was straight, but his hunting sabre had a curved hilt.
So, there are a few different sources of speculation but they all centre around Christopher Lee.
In our opinion, the real answer to why is Count Dooku's lightsaber curved is that who is going to say no to such a cinematic legend? Not only did they adjust the hilt design for the actor, the lore and choreography team's also built the duelling style of Makashi around Dooku and Lee's abilities.
Makashi and fencing
The actual lore behind Makashi claims that the style was invented as a direct response to the rise of other lightsaber duellists. The original form was more focused on saber versus blaster combat, which became unsuited to the new duelling focus that emerged when the Sith rose up.
Makashi, or Form II, is inspired by real world swordfighting. Far from the flashy moves you might imagine, fencing is focused on speed, agility, finesse and most importantly economy of motion. It's a style designed around beating your opponent as efficiently as you can via parries, ripostes and lunges.
Count Dooku and Sir Christopher Lee alike used this style because it's as close to the real, proven way swordfighters defeat one another. Curved hilts are common in a fencing foil and a hunting sabre as it allows the blade to extend at a different angle - forcing the combatant to use a 'pistol grip'. This allows the wrist to affect the blade more and achieve fluid motion with simple movements.
While we don't offer a curved hilt of our own, you can craft your own unique saber suited to your needs by using our saber builder. Hit the Saber Builder™ link to create something entirely built around you and your own duelling style.