- "Execute Order 66."
- ―Darth Sidious
Order 66, also known as Clone Protocol 66, was a top secret order identifying all Jedi as traitors to the Galactic Republic and, therefore, subject to summary execution by the Grand Army of the Republic. The order was programmed into the Grand Army clone troopers through the behavioral modification biochips implanted in their brains, making it impossible for the clones to disobey the command to turn against their Jedi Generals. The Kaminoan scientists who designed the clone troopers believed it was only to be used as a contingency protocol against renegade Jedi. In secret, Order 66 was the means by which the Sith intended to bring about the long awaited fall of the Jedi Order.
During the Clone Wars, the Sith agenda was progressing relatively unnoticed until a premature activation of Order 66 resulted in the death of General Tiplar at the hands of CT-5385 "Tup", a defective clone whose malfunctioning chip caused him to turn against his Jedi officer. Another soldier, CT-5555 "Fives" conducted his own investigation into the matter, believing the incident to be a Separatist plot against the Republic. On the galactic capital Coruscant, however, he learned that the chips conditioned the clones to become hostile against the Jedi. Furthermore, he discovered to an extent Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine's involvement in the conspiracy and attempted to assassinate him. Fives told what he knew to his Jedi superior Anakin Skywalker; but before the clone could prove it, he was killed by clone shock troopers of the Coruscant Guard.
The plan continued apace for the remainder of the war, although the Jedi High Council had grown increasingly wary of the Chancellor's motives. In 19 BBY, a group of Jedi Masters sought to arrest Palpatine upon learning his true identity as the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. When their efforts failed, Palpatine used the incident to frame the Jedi Order for treason and, as such, directed the clone army to execute their Jedi commanding officers in accordance with Order 66.
Across the galaxy, thousands of Jedi were killed by their own troops while the Chancellor's new apprentice, the Sith Lord Darth Vader, led the 501st Legion in a direct assault on the Jedi Temple of Coruscant. With the exception of a few surviving Jedi, such as Grand Master Yoda, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, former Padawan Ahsoka Tano and Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus, the Great Jedi Purge was largely accomplished through the initial activation of Order 66. Sidious would go on to consolidate his reign as Emperor of the Galactic Empire, ruling for decades until the prophecy of the Chosen One came to pass, marking the end of the Sith's rule and the restoration of balance in the Force by 4 ABY.
- "Under this directive, any and all Jedi leadership must be executed for treason against the Republic. Any soldier that does not comply with the order will also be executed for treason."
- ―Clone Commander Rex to his men during the implementation of Order 66
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 that could be activated by remote order via voice command; Supreme Chancellor 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.
In a few instances, however, the clone could resist the will of the chip and hesitate from executing his orders. This act took great effort, and resistance could not be maintained unless the organic chip was removed, which required external assistance in the case of the clone Rex. Any clone who somehow defied the order would be executed for treason.
Visions of the future
In 82 BBY, then-Jedi Padawan Dooku, on a mission to the planet Asusto with Jedi Master Lene Kostana and her Padawan Sifo-Dyas, had a Force vision of many possible futures during an encounter with the dark side-using cult the Presagers of Hakotei. Among the visions was a possible version of Order 66, with Jedi Master Jor Aerith being killed by a Clone Commander named Crane. However, not everything Dooku saw in that vision would come to pass. Years later, Dooku would leave the Jedi Order, before falling to the dark side of the Force and becoming the Sith Lord Darth Tyranus, apprentice to Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious.
- "Jedi. Good soldiers follow orders."
- ―CT-5385 "Tup", 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. However, the Sith took over the project as part of their plot to destroy the Jedi Order, having Sifo-Dyas murdered by the Pyke Syndicate and concealing the true circumstances and location of his death from the Jedi. Count Dooku, posing 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. The Kaminoans, including Prime Minister Lama Su and Chief Medical Scientist Nala Se, believed the protocol existed as a contingency for rogue Jedi.
Prior to the Battle of Umbara, fallen Jedi General Pong Krell had visions of Order 66, the Jedi Purge, and the rise of the Galactic Empire, and used them as justification for attempting to sabotage the battle so he could become Dooku's new apprentice. However, he was captured by the 501st Legion, who chose to execute him for treason due to the danger that the remaining Umbaran forces might free him and learn vital military intelligence.
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 "Tup", resulting in him 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 plans 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.
Uncovering the evidence
- "The evidence is in here. It's—it's in here. It's in all of us, every clone."
"What is it?"
"Organic chips built into our genetic code to make us do whatever someone wants, even kill the Jedi. It's all in here."
- ―Clone troopers Fives and Rex
The Kaminoans, knowing a partial 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 "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 own 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, having been drugged into a state of aggression and paranoia, was unable to convince Anakin Skywalker or Clone Captain CT-7567 "Rex", 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 parasite that caused Tup and Fives' behavior. Rex was mostly skeptical of Fives' claims about the chips, but, unable to completely dismiss the theory, he filed a confidential grievance report in which he detailed the claims that the chips might have an unknown purpose, although he was aware the report was likely to be ignored.
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.
Some time after the Battle of Anaxes, clone medic CT-6116 "Kix" began to question the details surrounding the event which had led to Tup killing Tiplar. His subsequent investigation led him to discover that Fives had in fact been telling him the truth when he had first told Kix about the Jedi and the clones being framed and that the bio-chips implanted within the clones could indeed compel them to kill the entire Jedi Order. Before he could share his suspicions, however, he was kidnapped by forces sent by Dooku. He was subsequently tortured, but his denials about having leaked the information failed to convince his captors. He was then brought onto the Separatist cruiser Obrexta III and inserted into a cryo-cycle stasis pod for the journey to Serenno. As the cruiser was taking off, however, it was ambushed by Republic forces. After sustaining heavy damage, the droid B1-CC14 made the decision to jump through hyperspace to a random sector as a way of ensuring Kix wouldn't fall into enemy hands. The jump brought them to the desert planet Ponemah Terminal, with the Obrexta III crashing into the planet's dangerous south polar region.
- "How widespread is this?"
"Ahsoka, it's all of us. The entire Grand Army of the Republic has been ordered to hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights."
- ―Ahsoka asks Rex how widespread the clone betrayal is
With the secrets of Order 66 secure, Sidious 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 officers 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, including Ki-Adi-Mundi on Mygeeto, Aayla Secura on Felucia, Plo Koon in the skies of Cato Neimoidia, Stass Allie on Saleucami, Depa Billaba on Kaller, Jaro Tapal in the Bracca system 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, as exampled by Rex, Commander Wolffe and Gregor, were able to remove the control chips in their heads, which allowed them to disobey Order 66.
Few Jedi survived the onslaught of Order 66. The Jedi Padawan Caleb Dume managed to survive the initial attack on his life due to the sacrifice made by his master Depa Billaba. Sometime later he was captured by the clones who had killed his master, but was able to avoid death once more due in part to the last-minute intervention of Commander CC-10/994 "Grey", who was somehow able to assert his will and realize that something else had influenced his thoughts when he and his battalion had previously turned on Dume and his master. Shortly afterwards, Dume went into hiding and took the name of Kanan Jarrus, giving up his identity as a Jedi for fourteen years before returning, with the crew of the Ghost, to rebel against the Empire.
Despite having left the Jedi Order, Skywalker's former Padawan Ahsoka Tano was also targeted by Order 66, due to having unofficially rejoined the Republic military to lead forces in the Siege of Mandalore. When the order was given, Tano and now-Clone Commander Rex were onboard a Venator-class Star Destroyer en route to Coruscant to deliver the captured renegade Sith Lord Maul to the Jedi Council. Tano had a Force vision of Skywalker's fall, but only realized that something terrible had happened. Rex, receiving the command from Sidious, realized at that moment that Fives had been right about everything and managed to resist his chip long enough to tell Tano to "find" the late ARC trooper before attacking her. After releasing Maul as a diversion, Tano was able to find Rex's grievance report, subsequently capturing Rex and removing his chip with the help of three astromech droids. The two of them then escaped the Venator-class Star Destroyer after Maul destroyed the vessel's hyperdrive, leading it to crash into a moon, which killed everyone still onboard. Tano and Rex subsequently covered their tracks and went into hiding in the Outer Rim, after taking the time to bury every victim of the crash they could find.
Jedi Master Quinlan Vos was presumed to have survived by the Empire, and was a priority target of the purge. Former Jedi Master Eeth Koth was able to survive by leaving the Jedi Order prior to its fall. Zubain Ankonori, Nuhj, Khandra, and Mususiel all managed to survive and went into hiding together at a Jedi shrine on Anoat. Jedi Master Kirak Infil'a was able to survive by taking the barash vow. 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. Yoda, meanwhile, went into exile on Dagobah.
Jedi Archives librarian Jocasta Nu also managed to survive and tried to create a secret school to train new Jedi Knights. Jedi Master Uvell was also able to survive and entrust a ship of Jedi artifacts to Antron Bach to preserve the Jedi Order. Jedi Knight Cere Junda was able to survive as well, although her Padawan, Trilla Suduri, was captured by the Empire and tortured into becoming the Second Sister.
Jedi Masters Oppo Rancisis and Coleman Kcaj, as well as Ka-Moon Kholi and Selrahc Eluos, were all confirmed by the Empire to have survived Order 66; but they were also not able to find them because of how well they had hidden themselves. Padawan Cal Kestis also survived Order 66 due to the sacrifice of his master, Jaro Tapal, who defended Kestis from the clones and gave him a chance to escape into hiding.
During the Empire's subjugation of Mon Cala, Jedi Padawan Ferren Barr was able to hide in Dac City and acted as an advisor to King Lee-Char. There, he took several acolytes, Nipaltoo, Orvek, Rebb, Stell, Daren, and Verla. Barr was soon confronted by several of the Inquisitors and their troopers, who he noticed were newer clones who had not yet had their control chips activated. Barr then used a mind trick to force the troopers into executing Order 66 and attacking the Inquisitors, as they were former Jedi. The Tenth Brother, who was formerly the Jedi Master Prosset Dibs, was killed in the ensuing firefight as well as the Ninth Sister having her right leg severed due to a betrayal from the Sixth Brother in an attempt to escape.
- "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. 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 Solo, now known as Kylo Ren, carried out a similar incident, causing Luke to go into exile on the planet Ahch-To.
This is a list of individuals who fell victim to Order 66.
- Master Stass Allie
- Master Depa Billaba
- Master Chiata
- Master Cin Drallig
- Master Ki-Adi-Mundi
- Master Plo Koon
- Master Aayla Secura
- Master Jaro Tapal
- Master Shaak Ti
- Master Tiplar (Pre-Great Jedi Purge)
- Knight Huulik
- Padawan Bene
- Padawan Zett Jukassa
- Padawan Whie Malreaux
- Padawan Marseph
- Unidentified Jedi Temple Guard
- Tenth Brother
This is a list of individuals who survived the initial execution of Order 66.
Behind the scenes
The events of Order 66, namely the destruction of the Jedi Order, were first mentioned in the 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, the first installment of the Star Wars original trilogy. The destruction itself was first identified and depicted on-screen in 2005 film Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, the final installment of the prequel trilogy.
The comic book series Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith deals with the immediate aftermath of the execution of Order 66 and Vader's subsequent quest to hunt down the remaining Jedi known to still be in existence.
Unused and rejected concepts
- "I think it was a little more gruesome than you ended up seeing, you know. A lot of young potential Jedi ended up on the cutting room floor."
- ―Ian McDiarmid on the original version of Order 66
In the first draft of of Revenge of the Sith, dated back to April 13, 2003, the number of Jedi Knights who were killed was "more extensive" than the one seen in the finished version of the film, though some animatics for these versions were made. The following order in this early draft was taken from the book The Making of Star Wars Revenge of the Sith:
On Mygeeto, clones blast KI-ADI-MUNDI and SAESEE TIIN. On Saleucami, they kill KIT FISTO, BARRISS OFFEE, and ADI GALLIA. On Kashyyyk, MINA PODIA is gunned down-but YODA saves himself. On Cato Neimoidia, PLO KOON is blasted out of the sky, while an unnamed Jedi lies dead on the planet surface. On Felucia, AAYLA SECURA and QUINLAN VOS are silenced forever.
Some other concepts featured in other drafts and versions of Revenge of the Sith included Boba Fett taking part of Order 66 by killing Mace Windu in an attempt to avenge his father Jango's death until George Lucas reorganized the entire story and felt that Fett would be "too young" and wasn't an essential part in the story. For the deaths of Barriss Offee, Luminara Unduli and Shaak Ti, it was planned to use some unused footage of Nalini Krishan, Mary Oyaya and Orli Shoshan from Attack of the Clones. In Ti's case, however, Shoshan filmed an earlier death for her in the film's beginning, though both scenes were cut from the finished film.
Ian McDiarmid, the actor who played Darth Sidious in the films, stated during a panel appearance at Salt Lake City's FanX convention in 2018 that Order 66 was intended to be more gruesome than in the finished version of the film, but George Lucas toned down the scene from his original vision in order to avoid a harsher rating and his decision was probably a good idea after all. Revenge of the Sith was ultimately rated PG-13 unlike previous films.
- Revenge of the Sith: Episode III (LEGO Star Wars)
- William Shakespeare's Tragedy of the Sith's Revenge: Star Wars Part the Third
Notes and references