Emperor Palpatine’s command to “execute Order 66” is one of the most terrible and fateful moments in Star Wars history, and animated series Star Wars: The Bad Batch recently offered a new look at the day the clones slaughtered the Jedi.
Clone troopers were originally created to be the main fighting force of the Galactic Republic, and were instrumental in fighting the Separatists’ battle droid forces in the Clone Wars. However, the clone troopers were secretly programmed via their inhibitor chips to respond to a deadly command from Palpatine: “Execute Order 66.” Upon hearing these words, the clones turned on their Jedi allies and slaughtered them en masse, leading to the fall of the Galactic Republic and the rise of the Galactic Empire.
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Order 66 has been portrayed in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and now in Star Wars: The Bad Batch. Each of these stories has offered a different window into the shocking moment that clone troopers across the galaxy massacred the Jedi. Here’s what each version of Order 66 has shown, and how they’re different.
Order 66 in Revenge of the Sith
The first portrayal of Order 66 and its execution was in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. After Emperor Palpatine was revealed to be the Sith lord Darth Sidious, Jedi Master Mace Windu and several other Masters attempted to subdue and arrest him. In the ensuing battle, with only Windu left alive, Anakin Skywalker chose to betray the Jedi in order to preserve Palpatine’s life, marking the final step of his corruption and turn to the dark side. Alive but badly disfigured from the fight, Palpatine used Mace Windu’s attempt on his life as an excuse to accuse all the Jedi of treason and issue Order 66 amid the raging final battles of the Clone Wars.
Revenge of the Sith offers the broadest picture of the moment that Order 66 was carried out, starting with clone trooper Commander Cody, who turns on Obi Wan Kenobi and attempts (but fails) to kill him. This is followed by a montage showing Jedi across the galaxy, who are already surrounded by clone troopers that they believe to be on their side, being taken by surprise and left helpless to fight back against the clones’ superior numbers as they are slaughtered on the spot. Only Master Yoda, who feels the deaths of the other Jedi through the Force and manages to behead the clone troopers he was with before they killed him, manages to escape execution in this montage. Meanwhile, Obi Wan is thrown from a cliff and falls into water, surviving Cody’s attack.
Easily the darkest moment in this portrayal of Order 66, however, is Anakin Skywalker’s slaughter of the Jedi younglings at the temple on Coruscant. Unlike the clones, Anakin isn’t responding to any kind of programming but has made a conscious choice to join Emperor Palpatine on the dark side of the Force. When the children approach him for help, he instead activates his lightsaber in preparation to kill them. Their actual deaths aren’t shown, but it’s a truly chilling moment nonetheless.
Order 66 in The Clone Wars
The execution of Order 66 depicted in the penultimate episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “Shattered,” is easily the most heartbreaking portrayal. This time the fateful day is shown from the perspective of Anakin Skywalker’s former Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, who is surrounded by clones whom she considers friends and loyal allies when they receive the order. The 332nd Company are distinguished from other clone troopers by their helmet design, which is painted with Ahsoka’s face markings, and they are still wearing these markings that symbolize their loyalty to her even as they hunt her down. When the order is given, Ahsoka’s friend Captain Rex drops his own helmet to the floor, so that his face is exposed when he turns on her. He visibly attempts to resist Order 66, with a tear rolling down her cheek, and he orders the other clone troopers to hold their fire so that he can kill Ahsoka herself – a command that gives her the opening she needs to escape.
Later in the episode, Ahsoka returns the favor by saving Rex from his enslavement by the inhibitor chip. After knocking him unconscious and locating the chip inside his brain with the Force, she buys enough time fending off the other clone troopers for droids to surgically remove the chip. Ahsoka and Rex were able to escape the Star Destroyer and went their separate ways, but were reunited many years later – as depicted in Star Wars Rebels.
Order 66 in Jedi: Fallen Order
Released in 2019, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order follows another survivor of Order 66, Cal Kestis. Cal is still a child and a Padawan when Order 66 is executed, and only manages to escape the clone troopers thanks to his Jedi Master, Jaro Tapal. The story of Cal’s origins is told in flashbacks throughout the game, culminating in a sequence where a clone commander receives Order 66 and attempts to kill Jaro Tapal, but is killed by the Jedi Master first. Realizing the danger they’re in, Cal fights and flees his way across the Star Destroyer, and Jaro Tapal ends up standing his ground and fighting the clone troopers in order to give his Padawan enough time to escape. Cal manages to stay off the radar by not using his Jedi powers until five years later, when he’s discovered after using the Force to save a friend in a junkyard on the planet Bracca. Driven out of hiding, he teams up with former Jedi Master Cere Junda to join the budding resistance against the Empire.
Jedi: Fallen Order also shows another side of Order 66 through the game’s main villain, Trilla Suduri a.k.a. Second Sister. Like Cal, Trilla was still a Padawan when Order 66 was executed. She ended up being captured after Cere gave up her location under torture, and the Empire transformed Trilla into a member of the Inquisitorius, a group of elite dark side fighters whose job it was to track down and kill any Jedi who had survived the initial Order 66 purge.
Order 66 in The Bad Batch
The first episode of Star Wars: The Bad Batch opens with the titular fighting force, a group of genetically-enhanced clones known as Clone Force 99, taking part in a battle alongside Jedi General Depa Billaba and her Padawan, Caleb (who is later known as Kanan Jarrus). As the Bad Batch and Caleb race off to join the fight, Order 66 is issued and the clone troopers surrounding Billaba turn on her, eventually managing to kill her despite her efforts to fight them off. One effect of the experimental manipulation of Clone Force 99’s genes is that they are not subject to the same programming that forces them to carry out Order 66 without question. Although they hear Emperor Palpatine issuing the command over their comms, they’re confused by the order and don’t understand why the other clones are slaughtering their Jedi allies. Nonetheless, Crosshair attempts to obey the order by killing Caleb, while Hunter defies the order and allows Caleb to escape.
In the aftermath of Order 66, the Bad Batch head back to Tipoca City on the planet Kamino, where the clone troopers are grown and trained. Despite the chaos and disarray throughout the rest of the galaxy, the scenes on Kamino show that the clones (initially, at least) carried on as if nothing had changed. Though the Bad Batch observe a slight change in behavior among their fellow troopers, otherwise the clones treated Order 66 as if it is just another mission that has been successfully carried out, and respond to Palpatine’s announcement of the Galactic Empire with cheers and applause.
More: Order 66 Complete Canon Timeline: Movies, Shows, Games & Comics
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