The Effect of Palpatine's Order 66 on the Jedi

18 September 2023
In the vast and intricate tapestry of the Star Wars saga, few moments resonate with as much shock and sorrow as the execution of Order 66. A clandestine command embedded within the programming of the Grand Army of the Republic, Order 66 marked the tragic climax of Chancellor Palpatine's (Darth Sidious) meticulously orchestrated plan to annihilate the Jedi Order and consolidate his grip on the galaxy.

With a single directive, the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy were betrayed by their loyal Clone Troopers, setting the stage for the rise of the Galactic Empire and the Dark Times that would follow.

This essay delves deep into the ramifications of the 'Jedi Purge', exploring its immediate aftermath, the characters it affected, and the broader themes it encapsulated.

Historical Context prior to Order 66

The seeds of Order 66 were sown long before its tragic execution, deeply intertwined with the rise of Sheev Palpatine and the political machinations of the Galactic Republic.

palpatine order 66

The Rise of Palpatine

From his early days as the Senator of Naboo, Palpatine's ambitions were clear. Through a series of calculated moves, including the manipulation of the Trade Federation and the orchestration of the Naboo crisis, he positioned himself as a beacon of hope and stability. His election as Supreme Chancellor was no accident but a step in his grand design. As the galaxy plunged into the chaos of the Clone Wars, Palpatine's power grew, with the Senate granting him emergency powers that would prove difficult to rescind.

The Clone Wars: A Galactic Chessboard

The Clone Wars, while appearing as a battle between the Separatists and the Republic, was, in reality, a puppet show with Palpatine pulling the strings on both sides. By controlling key figures like Count Dooku (Darth Tyranus) and General Grievous, Palpatine ensured a state of perpetual conflict. This war served a dual purpose: it justified the creation of a massive clone army loyal to him and eroded the public's trust in the Jedi, painting them as war generals rather than peacekeepers.

Setting the Stage for Betrayal

As the war raged on, the Jedi found themselves stretched thin, battling on multiple fronts and making decisions that sometimes contradicted their core principles. This, combined with their failure to recognize the Sith Lord right under their noses, made them vulnerable. Palpatine's influence over Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One, further ensured that when the time came, the Jedi would be isolated and unprepared for the betrayal that awaited them.

Immediate Aftermath of Order 66

The execution of Order 66 was swift, brutal, and devastatingly effective. Within hours, the Jedi, who had been the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy for millennia, were brought to the brink of extinction.

Massacre of the Jedi

Across the galaxy, on planets as diverse as Felucia, Cato Neimoidia, and Kashyyyk, Clone Troopers turned their weapons on their Jedi commanders without hesitation. Scenes of heart-wrenching betrayal played out:

  • Plo Koon, flying his starfighter over Cato Neimoidia, was shot down by his own squadron.
  • Aayla Secura, leading her troops on Felucia, was gunned down from behind, her last moments marked by shock and disbelief.
  • Ki-Adi-Mundi, on the snowy world of Mygeeto, sensed the betrayal a split second before his Clone Troopers opened fire, but even his formidable skills couldn't save him from the onslaught
  • Let's not forget the younglings...

aayla secura order 66 death
Aayla Secura, moments from being executed by her own soldiers

Jedi Survivors

While the majority of the Jedi were exterminated, a few managed to escape the initial purge. Their survival stories are tales of resilience, quick thinking, and, often, sheer luck:

  • Yoda, on Kashyyyk, felt the disturbance in the Force and was able to deflect the blaster bolts aimed at him, later escaping with the help of the Wookiees.
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi, betrayed on Utapau, survived a fall into water and later regrouped to uncover the full extent of Palpatine's treachery.
  • Other Jedi, scattered across the galaxy, went into hiding, with some, like Kanan Jarrus, suppressing their connection to the Force to avoid detection.
  • Baylan Skoll - his story is only now being told in Ashoka.

The Jedi Temple's Fall

Perhaps the most symbolic and tragic event was the assault on the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Led by Anakin Skywalker, now christened DarthVader, the 501st Legion marched on the temple, slaughtering every Jedi within, from seasoned knights to younglings. The temple's beacon, once a call for Jedi to return home, was twisted by Vader and Palpatine to lure unsuspecting Jedi into a trap.

order 66 jedi massacre

Character Deep Dives - who was involved in Order 66

To truly understand the impact and significance of Order 66, it's essential to delve into the psyches, motivations, and actions of the central characters involved. Their decisions and roles during this pivotal event shaped the course of the galaxy for decades to come.

Palpatine (Darth Sidious)

  • Motivations: At the heart of Palpatine's machinations was an insatiable lust for power. His disdain for the Jedi Order and its principles was evident, viewing them as the last obstacle in his path to absolute control. Order 66 was not just a strategic move but also a deeply personal vendetta.
  • The Grand Plan: Palpatine's genius lay in his ability to play the long game. Every move, from manipulating the Trade Federation to engineering the Clone Wars, was a calculated step towards the Jedi's downfall. Order 66 was the culmination of years of planning, ensuring that when the moment came, the Jedi would be isolated and vulnerable.
  • Master Manipulator: Palpatine's influence extended beyond political manoeuvring. His seduction of Anakin Skywalker, turning the Chosen One into his apprentice, was a masterstroke, ensuring the Jedi's betrayal would be complete.

anakin sith lord

Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader)

  • The Fall: Anakin's transformation into Darth Vader is one of the most tragic arcs in the Star Wars saga. His fear of losing loved ones, combined with Palpatine's manipulations, led him down a dark path. By the time of Order 66, he was fully ensnared by the dark side.
  • Role in Order 66: Anakin's assault on the Jedi Temple is a testament to how far he had fallen. Scenes of him marching with the 501st Legion and later confronting the younglings in the temple are heart-wrenching. His duel with Obi-Wan on Mustafar further showcased his internal conflict and the depths of his anger and pain.
  • Legacy: Anakin's actions during Order 66 had lasting repercussions. As Darth Vader, he became the enforcer of the Empire, hunting down and exterminating surviving Jedi. Yet, echoes of the good within him persisted, setting the stage for future events.

Sci-Fi Tropes & Themes of Order 66

Order 66, while a pivotal plot point in the Star Wars narrative, also encapsulates broader sci-fi tropes and themes that resonate across various works of fiction. Exploring these themes provides a richer understanding of the event's significance in the context of the story and the broader cultural or societal landscape.

Betrayal and Deception

  • The Ultimate Betrayal: The very essence of Order 66 lies in the theme of betrayal. Trusted allies turning on each other at a moment's notice is a recurring motif in many sci-fi tales. The Clone Troopers, bio-engineered to be loyal, turning their blasters on the Jedi is a stark representation of this theme.
  • Deception's Web: Palpatine's rise to power was marked by layers of deception, from his dual identity as Darth Sidious to the orchestration of the Clone Wars. This theme underscores the dangers of unchecked ambition and the lengths individuals will go to achieve their goals.

Loss of Innocence

clone wars tanks

Machines vs. Humanity

  • Clone Troopers: The role of the Clone Troopers in Order 66 brings to the fore the theme of machines versus humanity. Engineered for loyalty and combat, the clones' blind obedience to Order 66 raises questions about free will, identity, and the ethics of bio-engineering.
  • The Cost of War: The Clone Wars, with its vast armies of droids and clones, underscores the dehumanizing effects of mechanized warfare. The ease with which Order 66 was executed highlights the dangers of relying too heavily on technology, especially when it overrides human judgment and morality.

Broader Implications on the Star Wars Universe of Order 66

Order 66 was not just a singular event; it was a cataclysmic turning point that reshaped the very fabric of the Star Wars universe. Its repercussions echoed through time, influencing events, characters, and narratives for years to come.

The Rise of the Galactic Empire

  • End of the Republic: With the Jedi Order effectively neutralized, Palpatine faced little opposition in transforming the Galactic Republic into the Galactic Empire. The Senate, once a beacon of democracy, became a mere rubber stamp, with Palpatine declaring himself Emperor.
  • Era of Oppression: The Empire's reign was marked by tyranny, oppression, and fear. Planets were subjugated, freedoms curtailed, and any form of dissent ruthlessly crushed. The once-celebrated Jedi were now fugitives, hunted relentlessly by the Empire's agents.

The Dark Times

  • Hunt for the Survivors: The period following Order 66 is often referred to as the "Dark Times." Darth Vader, along with the Inquisitors, embarked on a relentless hunt for any surviving Jedi, seeking to extinguish their flame once and for all.
  • Underground Resistance: While the Empire's grip seemed unbreakable, pockets of resistance began to emerge. These rebels, inspired by the ideals of the old Republic and the Jedi, would eventually coalesce to form the Rebel Alliance.

Legacy and A New Hope

  • The Skywalker Legacy: Anakin Skywalker's actions during Order 66 cast a long shadow, but hope emerged in the form of his offspring. Luke Skywalker, discovering his Jedi heritage, would play a pivotal role in challenging the Empire and seeking to restore balance to the Force.
  • Rebirth of the Jedi: While the Jedi Order was decimated, the ideals and teachings of the Jedi lived on. Characters like Luke Skywalker and Rey sought to rebuild the Order, drawing inspiration from the past while charting a new path forward.


Order 66 stands as one of the most defining and tragic moments in the Star Wars saga. Beyond the immediate devastation and loss, it symbolizes the fragility of peace, the dangers of unchecked power, and the profound impact of betrayal. The Jedi, once the galaxy's stalwart protectors, were brought to the brink of extinction in a matter of hours, showcasing the volatile nature of trust and loyalty.

Yet, even in the darkest times, the Star Wars narrative reminds us of the enduring power of hope. The very fact that the Jedi legacy lived on, inspiring future generations to rise against tyranny, is a testament to their lasting impact. Characters like Luke Skywalker, Rey, and even the redeemed Anakin Skywalker embody the idea that light can emerge from the darkest of circumstances.

The legacy of Order 66 is not just one of loss and tragedy but also of resilience, redemption, and rebirth. It serves as a poignant reminder of the cyclical nature of history, where past mistakes inform future choices, and hope remains an eternal beacon, guiding the way forward.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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