General Grievous made his memorable introduction in the Legends-era Clone Wars, and gradually escalated the conflict with his following offensive.
General Grievous, an infamous villain in Star Wars: Clone Wars, was not only an effective Separatist military leader and Jedi killer but also the catalyst for massive changes in the Clone Wars itself. In the Legends timeline, Grievous made his debut at the Battle of Hypori, where he annihilated most of the Republic’s forces, including many Jedi, who he killed personally. After this, Grievous launched a major offensive campaign that devastated the Republic and escalated the war, leading to major changes to both the technology and aesthetic of the Republic and CIS militaries. Grievous’ impact on the war in Canon (which happened several months earlier) was not shown in as much detail, but it may similarly explain the transition from Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones to Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
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In the Star Wars Legends timeline, General Grievous replaced the dark side-trained Chiss Sev’rance Tann as Supreme Commander of the CIS military after her death one month into the Clone Wars. Grievous is a Kaleesh cyborg, and though he isn’t Force sensitive, he’s one of the galaxy’s most feared Jedi killers. Grievous was a brilliant strategist whom Count Dooku trained in the use of lightsabers and psychological warfare, which Grievous used to great effect. As shown in 2008’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the Canon version of Grievous is significantly less formidable, proving unable to defeat skilled opponents without resorting to underhanded means. Nevertheless, Grievous’ impact on the war in both timelines is clear.
As shown in the Legends-era Clone Wars multimedia project, Grievous launched an ambitious offensive named “Operation Durge’s Lance” shortly after the CIS victory on Hypori. Grievous’ offensive followed Dooku’s training by attacking both the Republic’s war effort and their morale. Operation Durge’s Lance took the CIS military into the Core Worlds, a key sector of Republic space and home to its capital, Coruscant. Grievous’ attacks were almost all victories, except for Alderaan. Although Republic and Alderaanian forces successfully repelled the CIS, Alderaan demilitarized in response to the bloodshed, making the battle a CIS victory in some regards. Operation Durge’s Lance also introduced deadly new additions to the CIS military and a more unified appearance for their forces, something that the Republic responded to similarly, further escalating the war.
At the start of the Clone Wars, the CIS was a collection of unethical corporate entities and corrupt politicians who combined their private military forces into a massive droid army. While their war machines were shared among each other, the CIS as a whole was more of a collection of entities than a single one (which is fitting, given their decentralized nature). This changed when Grievous became Supreme Commander. Separatist warships and structures bore the blue color scheme and insignia of the CIS, and deadly new units, such as the Droid Tri-Fighter, octuptarra combat droid, and scorpenek annihilator droid were introduced. The Republic, who’d already deployed their improved Phase II clone trooper armor after the first year of the war, unveiled new warships (such as the Venator and Victory-class Star Destroyers) and ground vehicles (like the Juggernaut tank) to stay ahead of the CIS.
In Canon, Grievous is already a well-established Separatist leader by the time he’s seen in the opening montage of The Clone Wars film. Moreover, the Republic and Separatist forces already appear as they do in Revenge of the Sith, except for Clone Troopers, who wear Phase I armor for most of the war in Canon. If Grievous is the catalyst for the war’s escalation in Canon as he is in Legends, his impact most likely happened much earlier in the war, since The Clone Wars takes place shortly after Attack of the Clones. In the Legends-era Star Wars: Clone Wars, however, General Grievous’ introduction and subsequent changes to the Clone Wars are shown in detail.
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