Great Jedi Purge
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The extermination of the Jedi Order – referred to in-universe as Order 66, Operation: Knightfall and the Great Jedi Purge – is a fictional historical event in the Star Wars space opera series created by George Lucas. It is a major plot element in the 2005 film Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, and is referenced in the Star Wars expanded universe. In the film, Mace Windu led a failed attempt to arrest the rogue Chancellor as part of a coup d'état. Consequently the Jedi Order were systematically eliminated by the Galactic Republic Clone Army, on the order of the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda were among a handful of known surviving Jedi. The first person to be issued this order was Clone Commander Cody (who until then was under the command of Jedi General Kenobi).
Order 66 is issued shortly before the end of the Clone Wars, which had been conceived as part of a scheme by Chancellor Palpatine to eliminate the Jedi and establish himself as the Emperor of the galaxy. Operation: Knightfall refers to Order 66's execution against the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, led by Darth Vader himself.
At some point between Episodes II and III, members of the Jedi council begin to suspect the Chancellor is tied to Sidious and Count Dooku's Separatist army. In Revenge of the Sith, Jedi Master Mace Windu openly states to the Jedi Council that he distrusts the Chancellor with Obi-Wan Kenobi expressing similar misgivings.
In the sixth season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, taking place before Revenge of the Sith, Order 66 was nearly prematurely exposed due to a malfunction in the biochip of clone trooper Tup as he killed Jedi Master Tiplar during a battle that resulted in a forced Republic retreat. Darth Sidious and Count Dooku are informed of this turn of events from Admiral Trench, the former wanting Tup kidnapped during a transport to Kamino to investigate his erratic behavior as this would expose the Sith's true plans for the war. The ARC Troopers Fives and Rex managed to retrieve Tup, although this also results in the former uncovering the order and thus the conspiracy. Fives is eventually killed due to Palpatine framing him for an assassination attempt, and unable to tell either Anakin Skywalker or Rex about the contingency order, the overall conspiracy, or the Supreme Chancellor's involvement in it due to being drugged earlier. However, as revealed in Star Wars Rebels, after listening to Fives's dying words, Rex uncovers the conspiracy and decides to remove the inhibitor chip from himself and two fellow clones to not partake in Order 66.
When Anakin Skywalker informs him of Palpatine's identity as Darth Sidious in the final days of the Clone Wars, Mace Windu leads a small team of fellow Jedi Masters—Agen Kolar, Saesee Tiin, and Kit Fisto—to arrest the chancellor. In the ensuing lightsaber duel, Sidious kills Windu's companions before being overwhelmed by Windu. But Palpatine takes advantage of Anakin's arrival by tricking him into interfering in the duel, enabling Palpatine to kill the Jedi Master. With Anakin as his new apprentice Darth Vader, Palpatine sends him and the 501st Clone Trooper Legion to decimate Jedi at the Jedi Temple and kill the Padawans. Palpatine then proceeds to have all clone troopers across the galaxy carry out Order 66. Among the most notable Jedi killed at the very beginning of the purge are Ki-Adi-Mundi, Aayla Secura, Plo Koon and Stass Allie. As Palpatine proceeds to declare the Jedi traitors, reorganizing the Republic into the Galactic Empire, Masters Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi return to the Temple and re-encode a secret retreat signal planted by the Sith to instruct all surviving Jedi to not return to Coruscant.
Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi survive the initial purge and are picked up by Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan aboard his diplomatic cruiser Tantive IV. Organa, after witnessing the young Jedi Zett Jukassa being killed by clone troopers, secretly remained loyal to the Jedi as he brought them to Coruscant so they can re-encode the Sith's signal to instruct all surviving Jedi to not return to the Jedi Temple. While Yoda's attempt to kill Palpatine failed with the fight ending in a draw, Obi-Wan traveled to Mustafar and faced Anakin in a fight that ended with Obi-Wan leaving his former apprentice for dead. As the two Jedi realize they were in no position to fight the newly born Galactic Empire, Obi-Wan and Yoda decide to go into hiding for the time being with the latter entering self-imposed exile on an uninhabited planet in the Dagobah System he once visited during the Clone Wars to mask his presence. Furthermore, to protect the twin children of Anakin and Padmé (who had died giving birth to them) from being sensed by the Sith, Obi-Wan takes Luke with him to Tatooine to be raised by Anakin's stepbrother Owen Lars while Organa adopts Leia to be the child he and his wife always wanted. With the establishment of the Empire, and no longer needed as they had fulfilled their purpose in Palpatine's rise to power, the creation of Clone Troopers was phased out within a few years in favor of naturally-born Stormtroopers.
Other Jedi who were depicted to have survived the purge were Ahsoka Tano, Caleb Dume, and Shaak Ti.
- Sword Fighting in the Star Wars Universe: Historical Origins, Style and Philosophy by Nick Jamilla (McFarland & Company, 2008)
- Star Wars and History by Nancy Reagin & Janice Liedl (John Wiley & Sons, 2012)
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