- "Execute Order 66."
- ―Darth Sidious to numerous clone troopers
Order 66 was an event at the end of the Clone Wars in which the clone troopers of the Grand Army of the Republic turned against their Jedi commanders and terminated them, bringing about the destruction of the Jedi Order. The event was triggered by Clone Protocol 66, an order implanted into the clones by the Sith Lords and Kaminoan scientists who created the clone army (the latter being tricked by the Sith into thinking that the sole purpose of their hidden "programming" was to install a safeguard against rogue Jedi). The protocol caused clone troopers to violently lash out at the Jedi and view them as traitors, and were controlled by a bio-chip implanted into the clones during their creation; the chip could control the behavior of the clones and ensure total obedience. The conspiracy, led by Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine—secretly Darth Sidious—and Count Dooku, was nearly exposed when the chip belonging to clone trooper CT-5385 malfunctioned, but all who learned of the conspiracy were killed.
In the final days of the Clone Wars, after having revealed himself to the Jedi as the Dark Lord of the Sith, Palpatine issued Order 66. The clone troopers throughout the galaxy turned on the Jedi and began killing them, with numerous Jedi perishing on battlefields across many different worlds. Meanwhile, the fallen Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, who had become the Sith Lord Darth Vader, marched on the Jedi Temple with the 501st Legion and killed the Jedi within it. Although most Jedi were wiped out, a small number of Jedi—including Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Kanan Jarrus—were able to escape, Order 66 marked the destruction of the Jedi, forcing the survivors into exile for over two decades until the defeat of the Sith.
- "When the time comes, no one will be able to stop our plan to execute Order 66."
- ―Darth Sidious
Clone Protocol 66 was built into the clone troopers of the Grand Army of the Republic during the cloning process that created them. All clones were given a bio-chip, one that could be activated by remote order via voice command; Sheev Palpatine, for example, only needed to tell clones to execute Order 66, and the order was carried out. The bio-chip, when activated, would ensure total obedience in a clone, erasing existing biases and beliefs. The order would also cause the clones to view the Jedi as a dangerous threat that needed to be eliminated at all costs.
- "Good soldiers follow orders."
- ―CT-5385, moments before executing Jedi General Tiplar
Around ten years prior to the outbreak of the Clone Wars, Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas ordered the clone army for the Galactic Republic. As part of the Sith plot to destroy the Jedi Order, Count Dooku—a Sith Lord who posed as a Jedi to the Kaminoan cloners—provided the Kaminoans with a bio-chip to be implanted into the clones during the early phase of their growth period. This chip contained clone protocol 66 which, when activated, would ensure total obedience in the clones and cause them to violently lash out against the Jedi.
Towards the end of the war, Order 66 was almost prematurely exposed due to a malfunction in the bio-chip inside of clone trooper CT-5385, nicknamed "Tup," resulting in his alternating between his regular self and entering a trance-like state. The latter state caused Tup to shoot Jedi Master Tiplar during the battle of Ringo Vinda, killing her instantly. The Republic retreated from their offensive, and prepared to study Tup to determine what happened. Dooku and his master, Darth Sidious—secretly Supreme Chancellor Palpatine—learned of what happened to Tup and feared that he would lead the Jedi to discovering their true plan for the war, including the clone protocol. The Confederacy of Independent Systems tried to kidnap Tup from the Republic, but the Republic succeeded in bringing him to Kamino for further study.
The Kaminoans, knowing the truth about the clone protocol, studied Tup and claimed that it was a virus that caused him to kill Jedi General Tiplar. Fellow trooper CT-5555, nicknamed "Fives," did not believe their claims and discovered the chip inside of Tup. With the help of the medical droid AZI-3, Fives also discovered the chip inside of his head, and AZI-3 removed it for study before they both discovered that the chip was inside all of the clones. The Jedi brought Fives to Coruscant for further examination, where Fives came face-to-face with Palpatine and discovered that the Chancellor was behind the plot. Palpatine framed Fives for an assassination attempt, discrediting the clone and causing the Jedi and fellow clones to pursue Fives. Despite knowing the truth, Fives was unable to tell Anakin Skywalker or Clone Captain CT-7567, who were with him in the end, about the conspiracy or the Supreme Chancellor's involvement before being killed. The Jedi Order accepted the story that it was a virus that caused Tup and Fives' behavior.
Later, the Jedi discovered that the Sith were behind the creation of the Grand Army of the Republic, as Count Dooku—under the name Tyranus—had personally selected Jango Fett as the genetic template for the clones and had worked with the Kaminoans to create the army after it was ordered by Sifo-Dyas. At the insistence of Grand Master Yoda, who testified to the clones' loyalty and valiant service, the Jedi High Council chose to not disclose the conspiracy to the public or even the Supreme Chancellor, believing that the Republic would lose the public's trust if it became known that Dooku was involved in the creation of the clone army. Shortly thereafter, Yoda went on a journey to discover the secrets of immortality, and, on Dagobah, saw a vision of what would become Order 66. Throughout his journey, Yoda came to accept that the Jedi would likely lose the Clone Wars, though he did not know how. He did, however, believe that the Jedi would still ultimately triumph in the long-run.
- "Every single Jedi, including your friend, Obi-Wan Kenobi, is now an enemy of the Republic."
- ―Darth Sidious to Darth Vader
With the secrets of Order 66 secure, Palpatine and Dooku continued with their plans during the Clone Wars. By the war's end, public support for the Jedi had weakened due to their management of the conflict, while Palpatine remained a popular figure. After the deaths of Count Dooku and General Grievous, which the Jedi hoped would end the war, Palpatine revealed himself to Skywalker as the Dark Lord of the Sith in an effort to seduce him to the dark side of the Force. When Skywalker informed Jedi Master Mace Windu of the Chancellor's identity, Windu assembled a team composed of himself, Kit Fisto, Agen Kolar, and Saesee Tiin, to arrest Palpatine. Their attempt led to a lightsaber duel in which Palpatine killed all four of the Jedi, and Skywalker turned to the dark side.
Palpatine used the duel as a pretext for declaring that the Jedi were traitors, ones who had attempted to assassinate him and take control of the Republic for themselves. The Chancellor issued Order 66 to various Clone Commanders across the galaxy, while Skywalker—now the Sith Lord Darth Vader—was sent to kill the Jedi within the Jedi Temple. Thousands of Jedi throughout the galaxy were killed within minutes, including Ki-Adi-Mundi, Aayla Secura, Plo Koon, Stass Allie, and even younglings.
- "The remaining Jedi will be hunted down and defeated!"
- ―Palpatine, before the Galactic Senate
The execution of Order 66 marked the destruction of the Jedi Order. Before the Galactic Senate, Palpatine told the galaxy that the Jedi were traitors who had attempted to kill him and seize power, and the destruction of the Jedi was greeted with applause by the Senate. Having amassed immense central authority during the war, and without the Jedi Order standing in his way, Palpatine transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire and declared himself Emperor. Along with Vader, Palpatine's rule meant that the Sith plan was completed, and the Sith Lords once again ruled the galaxy.
Some clones, however, were able to remove the control chips in their head such as Captain Rex, Commander Wolfe, and Commander Gregor, which allowed them to disobey Order 66.
Few Jedi survived the onslaught of Order 66. At least one member of the Jedi Temple Guard survived by submitting to the Sith, becoming Grand Inquisitor of the Inquisitorius. Jedi Master Luminara Unduli was captured and later executed at the Spire on Stygeon Prime. Obi-Wan Kenobi went into exile on Tatooine, along with Vader's infant son, Luke Skywalker; Vader did not know that Luke or his twin sister, Leia, had been born, so the twins were taken into hiding. Grand Master Yoda, meanwhile, went into exile on Dagobah. Padawan Caleb Dume took on the name "Kanan Jarrus" and went into hiding, giving up his identity as a Jedi for fourteen years before returning, with the crew of the Ghost, to rebel against the Empire. Skywalker's former Padawan Ahsoka Tano had refused readmission back into the Jedi Order one year earlier; her absence saved her life.
- "Our fellow soldiers, the clones, the ones we Jedi fought side by side with, suddenly turned and betrayed us."
- ―Kanan Jarrus on Order 66
For nearly twenty years, the Empire was able to expand without any significant Jedi opposition. Approximately five years before the Battle of Yavin, however, surviving Jedi, the very few remaining in the galaxy, begun to actively aid rebel cells around the galaxy, such as Kanan Jarrus for the Spectres and Ahsoka Tano for a larger network of rebel cells. Years later, Kenobi emerged from his exile and began training Luke Skywalker to become a Jedi Knight, in the hopes that Luke would be able to defeat Vader and Emperor Palpatine. Kenobi was killed by Darth Vader aboard the Death Star, leaving Luke to be trained by Yoda, one of the only known surviving Jedi. The two trained on Dagobah before Luke left to confront Vader, and Luke did not return until just before Yoda's death.
Upon the Jedi Master's death, Luke became the last of the Jedi and set out to confront Vader once more, now having learned the truth that Vader was his father. During the Battle of Endor, Luke redeemed his father, and Anakin killed Darth Sidious. The act of killing Emperor Palpatine resulted in Anakin's death, leading to the end of the Sith; through his death, Anakin fulfilled the prophecy of the Chosen One and brought balance to the Force. By confronting his father and saving him, Luke became the first new Jedi Knight in a generation, bringing about the return of the Jedi. Thirty years later Luke's nephew Ben, now known as Kylo Ren, carried out a similar incident, causing Luke to go into exile.
- Master Stass Allie
- Master Depa Billaba
- Master Cin Drallig
- Master Plo Koon
- Master Ki-Adi-Mundi
- Master Aayla Secura
- Master Shaak Ti
- Master Tiplar (Pre-Order 66)
- Knight Huulik
- Padawan Bene
- Padawan Zett Jukassa
- Padawan Whie
- Youngling Sors Bandeam
- Master Obi-Wan Kenobi
- Master Luminara Unduli (Initially)
- Master Uvell (Initially, however his final fate is unknown)
- Master Yoda
- Knight The Grand Inquisitor
- Padawan Caleb Dume/Kanan Jarrus
- Former Padawan Ahsoka Tano
- Zubain Ankonori (Initially)
- Eighth Brother
- Fifth Brother
- Khandra (Initially)
- Mususiel (Initially)
- Nuhj (Initially)
- Seventh Sister
- Sixth Brother
Behind the scenes
The events of Order 66, namely the destruction of the Jedi Order, were first mentioned in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. The destruction itself was first depicted on-screen in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, while the backstory of Order 66 was provided in a four-episode arc in the television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The first book of the ongoing comic series Star Wars: Kanan, featuring Kanan Jarrus of the series Star Wars Rebels, depicts Order 66 and its aftermath. This aftermath is further explored in Star Wars Rebels, as Kanan deals with passing on the legacy of the Jedi in the wake of the Order's destruction.
Notes and references