Order 66 is one of the most important moments in the Star Wars universe.
Throughout the original trilogy, speculation must have been rampant about what happened to the Jedi, how did they become extinct?
We finally get that question answered in Revenge of the Sith.
And, it must be said, I don’t think the execution is the best.
It shows multiple Jedi, who we have seen are very capable in battle, get shot down with next to no fight.
The Clones turn on their friends without a second thought, and thus the empire is born, and the Jedi are all but gone.
The film doesn’t dwell on this for too long, because it has got the small matter of the fall of Anakin Skywalker to deal with, and so Order 66 became, at least to me, one of the biggest missed opportunities in Star Wars.
But recently expanded canon has been giving us new perspectives on this pivotal moment and improving it immeasurably.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
The most notable piece of media to tackle this is the animated TV series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
When I first began to watch the show, it made me more annoyed by how Order 66 was presented in Sith.
The clones seem to get on with, and really care for, the Jedi they serve with.
I didn’t believe for a moment, whether it be their duty or not, that they would suddenly kill everyone on their squad.
But things started to develop in season 6, where the show started to foreshadow the events of Sith and delve into what that means for the clones.
It turns out the clones had a chip installed in their head while being made, ready to complete the final task that will put the emperor in power.
One of the clones’ chip goes faulty, and he turns on a Jedi and kills her much earlier than planned.
It’s a really interesting arc that adds another element of tragedy to an already devastating event.
Then, in the unexpected final season of The Clone Wars, not only do we see the events that directly precede Revenge of the Sith, but they show Order 66 from the perspective of Ahsoka Tano, Anakin’s apprentice.
This is easily the best showcase of the attack, with Ahsoka fighting off dozens and dozens of clones, showing off the power of a force user, while also choosing to show the emotional effect the event has on her as a character.
One of the best things about Order 66 is that it comes out of nowhere for the Jedi. Some sense a form of danger is coming, but not anything on this sort of scale, and inflicted from their friends, no less.
When a character does sense what’s happening, like Ahsoka does, for Order 66 and the fall of Anakin, it adds new weight.
She knows something is about to happen, she doesn’t want to believe it, but she must fight and carry on anyway.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order And Order 66
Jedi Fallen Order was a smash hit game, were players would travel the galaxy as young Jedi to be, Cal Kestis.
Over the course of the game, there are multiple flashbacks to training Cal had when he was a padawan, as you learn more skills in your force journey.
The last flashback has you not starting in the training room, but walking through corridors on your way, greeting friendly clone troopers as you pass.
I had a feeling what was coming.
The clones being so friendly just to make it hurt more when they start shooting at me thirty seconds later.
Cal’s master, Jaro Tapal, begins cutting down troopers left, right and centre as a confused Cal attempts to escape.
And in ensuring Cal is safe, Jaro ends up sacrificing himself in one last effort for him to escape.
This is the most brutal ambush I’ve seen for Order 66, with Kal’s master doing everything in his power to make sure Kal leaves this with his life intact, as he knows he is probably the future of the Jedi order.
The Star Wars Comics and Order 66
Order 66 has been referenced in a fair bit of canon material, usually just an off-hand remark or a small mention of the experience.
The one of the most note though, is in the 2015 Kanan comic, where it actually shows Order 66 from his perspective.
Kanan Jarrus was first introduced in the animated series Star Wars Rebels and, to me, is one of the more interesting characters from this ‘new age’ of Star Wars, since the Disney acquisition.
The way he views the force is fascinating to me, and it is a perspective unique to him.
While a lot of Jedi understand the force and its power, Kanan experiences it much more spiritually.
There is a calmness about him and the force, and while he may not understand everything, he is completely at one with it.
In the first couple of issues of the comic, a young padawan Kanan (then going by the name Kaleb) and his master Depa Billaba are, unbeknown to them, fighting on the last day of the Clone Wars.
They laugh and banter with the clones in their battalion after winning the fight, before Palpatine sends a certain message to ruin the fun.
Just before things kick off, Kaleb and Billaba have this really interesting conversation about the Jedi Order’s role in the war.
Kaleb, at the time, is a young padawan who believes wholeheartedly in the Jedi and everything they are doing, whereas his master questions whether they should have gotten involved in the war in the first place.
This makes the padawan start to question his knowledge and feelings, right before the two of them start slicing down their troop, and then Billaba, as she defends Kaleb, gets gunned down by their clone friends.
This informs so much about Kanan as a character. He is a young Jedi in training, now on the run in what would already be a hard and confusing time, but now has to deal with questions like, were the Jedi good, were they doing the right thing, and what was, and is, his place in all of it.
Star Wars Legacy
Star Wars is, in a lot of ways, about legacy.
And, I think what all the iterations of Order 66 prove is that it is the most impactful when it focuses on the ramifications it has on the characters, and how it changes them.
For Ahsoka, it’s how will she carry on with her personal journey now the order has gone, and not being able to see Anakin again.
For the clones that made it out the other side, they have to keep going in the knowledge of what they did, while finding a new purpose.
For Kanan, his internal struggle of who he is, and how his relationship with the force will change.
And even looking ahead, to the original trilogy and Luke Skywalker. Without Order 66 and the events that lead to the rise of Darth Vader, characters like Luke, Obi-Wan and Leia’s paths will have been altered.
In the end, through all the tragedy and anguish, I think the message from Order 66 is, surprisingly, if you look for it there is always hope.
What do you make of this article?
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