Retconning Order 66 Ruined Star Wars’ Most Dramatic Moment

Retconning Order 66 Ruined Star Wars’ Most Dramatic Moment
Image credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Disney+

With a single change, one of the franchise's most tragic moments was made much less complex.


  • Order 66 was one of the best moments of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, even when it wasn't as beloved as it is now
  • The initial explanation of the event led to a series of dramatic moments that portrayed clones as incredibly controversial figures
  • However, a single retcon implemented by Disney almost completely removed the moral dilemma of Order 66

Although the fandom's perception of the Star Wars prequel trilogy wasn't nearly as positive when it was released as it is now, even then Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, released in 2005, was considered the best of the three films.

Many fans were eager to see the fall of the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order, and the movie's climax, with the issuance of Order 66 and the clones turning against their former allies, was absolutely breathtaking and justified the existence of the prequels for many viewers.

However, when the franchise was acquired by Disney, it led to an infamous overhaul that declared only the films and a few animated shows canon, while the vast majority of creations set in the Star Wars universe were relegated to non-canon "Legends."

This massive change also led to a number of retcons, including a major detail about Order 66 that made the tragedy much less complex and effectively turned most of the clones from controversial figures into mindless puppets who weren't responsible for their actions.

Order 66 Used To Present Clones With A Terrible Dilemma

In "old" canon, Order 66 was one of the contingency orders for the Grand Army of the Republic in case the Jedi Order turned against the Republic, which was an understandable precaution given that almost every Jedi is an incredibly skilled and dangerous warrior.

Every Clone Trooper knew about it, but no one expected it to be an integral part of a plan devised by a certain insidious Sith Lord, who managed to become the head of the Republic, no less, to eliminate his sworn enemies.

While this wasn't really explored in the movies, it led to a number of unique and heartbreaking situations, with many troopers naturally having incredibly conflicted feelings about gunning down allies and even friends they had just fought alongside.

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Some even rebelled against such a horrific order, like the members of the Ion Team on Murkhana, while others were deeply traumatized by the event and tormented by the thought of whether they had made the right choice.

To sum it all up, in the Legends canon, Order 66 was the Star Wars equivalent of an order to launch nuclear weapons, where soldiers were faced with an impossible choice that resulted in countless deaths, but most of them carried it out anyway because they had been trained to do so since birth.

The Biochips Completely Removed The Moral Aspect Of Order 66

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The new Disney canon made things much simpler, with a special behavior modification biochip implanted in each clone, turning them into mindless Jedi-killing machines unable to resist the command.

A few clones were still able to resist the command due to a malfunction in the chip or because it had been surgically removed from their heads, as was the case with Captain Rex, but the majority of them simply went into "kill mode" without giving it a second thought.

To be fair, it did allow for some intriguing story possibilities, such as the arc in The Clone Wars animated series that revolved around a chip that worked prematurely, leading to the sinister plot almost being discovered.

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Some fans actually prefer the new explanation, finding it impossible to believe that the clones would just kill their comrades on the spot, especially considering that a number of the troopers were still struggling to come to terms with the event after their chips were removed.

Regardless of your opinion, however, the fact that this major change eliminated one of the darkest, most morally challenging, and tragic things about Order 66 is undeniable, so only you can decide whether it was done for better or worse.

Which explanation of Order 66 do you prefer?