- In the Star Wars Legends continuity, Order 66 was one of 150 known contingency orders, while in canon it is a secret directive.
- Order 65, the predecessor to Order 66, could have been used by the Jedi against Palpatine, but he protected himself from it.
- The reason Order 65 was not used against Palpatine was likely because the Jedi lacked confidence that the Senate would declare him unfit.
The sinister masterstroke of Palpatine’s plot to wipe out the Jedi in the Star Wars prequels was Order 66, but its Legends-era predecessor could have been used against him. In the Star Wars Legends continuity, Order 66 was one of 150 known contingency orders, whereas the canon continuity’s version is a secret directive. While only a few of the 150 Legends-era contingencies are explored, the immediate predecessor to Order 66, Order 65, could have hypothetically been used by the Jedi against Palpatine, though the secret Sith Lord, of course, protected himself against this possibility through obvious means and, potentially, secret ones.
The Grand Army of the Republic’s 150 contingency orders were publicly known in the Legends continuity, with Republic politicians having the power to invoke and execute certain contingencies. Since the Jedi Knights themselves are part of the GAR command structure (typically as Generals and Commanders), it is safe to assume that they too had access to the 150 contingency orders. Order 66, which was essential to Palpatine’s coup, provides a would-be despot with the perfect means to remove the greatest threats to their power, as it mandates the removal of Jedi by lethal force and grants the Supreme Chancellor the authority to establish a new command structure.
Star Wars Legends Introduced The Perfect Contingency Against Palpatine – Order 65
Order 65 was potentially the greatest threat to Palpatine’s power, as it would authorize the GAR to detain the Supreme Chancellor (with lethal force if necessary). Order 65 could only be executed if either the majority of the Senate or the Security Council declared him unfit to issue orders. Had these conditions been met and Order 65 been executed, Palpatine’s conspiracy to wipe out the Jedi and putrefy the Republic into the totalitarian Galactic Empire would have been thwarted by the very democracy Palpatine sought to destroy.
Why Wasn’t Order 65 Ever Used Against Palpatine?
Of course, Palpatine would have accounted for Order 65. The most obvious reason why Mace Windu and the rest of the Jedi immediately tried to arrest Palpatine, rather than enact Order 65, was likely because they lacked confidence that the Senate would declare Palpatine unfit in the first place. Senators would not have taken claims of Palpatine’s Sith Lordship seriously, as they likely were not aware of the Sith Order’s existence or survival, or simply would not consider Palpatine’s potential religious affiliation to be a reasonable basis for declaring him unfit. Palpatine was adored by the Republic, and even the Delegation of 2000 would lack the numbers to oppose him.
Another (far less likely) possibility is that Palpatine had the clone troopers indoctrinated to not follow Order 65 in the event that it is executed. Legends-era clone troopers possess free will and are generally good-natured like their canon counterparts, but they too are brainwashed to follow Order 66 (through unspecified means, whereas canon’s clones are brainwashed via an inhibitor chip brain implant). Considering Palpatine’s hold over the Senate and a line of dialogue in Karen Traviss’ Order 66: A Republic Commando Novel, however, the clones likely would have hypothetically followed Order 65 if it was successfully executed in the Star Wars prequel trilogy.