Why Does General Grievous Cough?

General Grievous

General Grievous, a significant figure in the Star Wars universe, is best known for his intimidating presence and distinctive, wheezing cough. Featured prominently in ‘Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith’, Grievous is an intriguing character with a mysterious background. His persistent cough is not a common trait amongst his fellow characters, prompting many fans to question: Why does General Grievous cough?

Grievous Before the Transformation

Born on the planet Kalee, Grievous was not always the cybernetic organism that fans are familiar with. Originally known as Qymaen jai Sheelal, he was a fierce Kaleesh warrior who harboured deep resentment towards the Huk, a species that oppressed his people. His desire to protect his species led him to become one of the most feared warriors on Kalee.

The Transformation into General Grievous

The turning point in Grievous’s life was a catastrophic shuttle crash. It’s widely believed that this incident was orchestrated by Count Dooku, under orders from his master, Darth Sidious. Grievous was severely injured in the crash, with his body irreparably damaged.

In a bid to preserve his life, Grievous’s body was rebuilt using cybernetic implants, transforming him into a terrifying blend of flesh and metal. His new form allowed him to wield multiple lightsabers and perform feats beyond the capabilities of a typical organic being. However, the process of cybernetic transformation was not without complications.

The Infamous Cough

Grievous’s persistent cough is a direct result of his transformation. His organic lungs were among the few original body parts that remained after his reconstruction. These lungs were damaged both in the crash and the subsequent cybernetic surgery. The damage was not fully repaired, leading to his chronic and noticeable cough.

The cough serves to highlight the crude, invasive nature of the cybernetics forced upon him. It’s a stark reminder that beneath his imposing exterior, General Grievous is still, at least in part, an organic creature. His cough is symbolic of the flawed fusion between man and machine, reinforcing his image as a tragic figure rather than just an intimidating villain.

The Short Answer

General Grievous’s distinctive cough is not merely a character quirk; it’s a remnant of the brutal transformation he underwent and a symbol of the organic creature he once was. The juxtaposition of his mechanical prowess and persistent cough provides a fascinating depth to this character, solidifying his place in the Star Wars saga as a memorable and complex villain.

About General Grievous

NameGeneral Grievous
SpeciesKaleesh (cyborg)
AffiliationsConfederacy of Independent Systems, Separatist Alliance
LightsaberFour arms equipped with lightsabers
Primary WeaponMagnaGuards
DeathKilled by Obi-Wan Kenobi on Utapau
AppearanceStar Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (film)
Star Wars: Clone Wars (TV series)
Star Wars: Clone Wars (2008 film)
Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003 micro-series)
Labyrinth of Evil (novel)


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