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The Great Jedi Purge
Vader march.jpg

Darth Vader leading the 501st Legion up the steps of the Jedi Temple
Depictions
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars Expanded Universe material
Canon information
Date 17 BBY – 2 BBY
Location Across the Galaxy
Result Foundation of the Galactic Empire and the initiation of the Galactic Civil War
Belligerents
Galactic Republic Jedi Order
Commanders
Chancellor Palpatine (Darth Sidious)
Darth Vader
Yoda
Jedi Council
Ki-Adi Mundi 
Plo Koon 
Allies of the Jedi
Strength
Clone Troopers
Star Destroyer
ARC-170
Jedi
Jedi Starfighters
Casualties
Clone Troopers All Jedi except for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda.

The Great Jedi Purge is a major event in the Star Wars storyline. It is officially documented as a plot element in the 2005 film Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and is further referenced in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. In the film, the Jedi are nearly exterminated by the order of the Sith Lord Darth Sidious.

Contents

Depiction

The Purge begins shortly after the start 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 Star Wars galaxy.

At some point between the noted events of Episodes II and III, members of the Jedi council began to suspect Chancellor Palpatine was 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 no longer trusts the Chancellor; Obi-Wan Kenobi expresses similar misgivings.

Anakin Skywalker, the "Chosen One" of Jedi prophecy, finds out that Palpatine is actually Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith for whom the Jedi have been searching for more than a decade. Anakin reveals this information to Windu, who then leads a small team of fellow Jedi Masters—Agen Kolar, Saesee Tiin and Kit Fisto—to apprehend Sidious. In the ensuing lightsaber duel, Sidious quickly and almost effortlessly kills Windu's companions; Tiin, being the first killed by Sidious is effectively the first victim of the Great Jedi Purge, followed, in one move, by Kolar, and then, after a few moments of combat, Fisto.

Windu engages Palpatine in a furious battle, finally disarming him. As Windu reasserts Palpatine's arrest, Anakin suddenly enters the room while Palpatine pleads for his own life. Palpatine had long been nurturing the young Jedi's desire for power and had recently roused Anakin's fear for the safety of his pregnant wife, Padmé Amidala. Before Windu can strike down the Chancellor after fending off a sneak attack by the Sith, Anakin severs Windu's hand with his lightsaber. Sidious then springs to life and blasts Windu with a torrent of Force lightning, which throws him out the window to his apparent death.

It was mentioned by George Lucas in the Revenge of the Sith DVD commentary that Anakin thought he was doing the right thing saving Palpatine’s life when he cut off Windu's hand with his lightsaber. However, Anakin did not think that Palpatine would kill Windu, and as a result of Windu's death Anakin believed that he had gone too far to be forgiven. To save his life, he had no other choice but to join with Palpatine.

Though Anakin expresses deep remorse for aiding in the death of Windu, Darth Sidious gives Anakin the Sith name Darth Vader, and orders him to exterminate the Jedi. He sends his new apprentice to the Jedi Temple along with the 501st Clone Trooper Legion to kill all of the Jedi there. Palpatine says that if Vader carries out his commands, he will be strong enough in the dark side to save Padmé, and so Vader complies without a second thought, even exterminating the many children under the Temple's protection. While the newly turned Dark Lord is completing this task, Palpatine instructs the clone troopers to carry out Order 66, an order implanted in them to kill their Jedi generals when commanded.

Among the most notable Jedi killed at the very beginning of the purge are Ki-Adi-Mundi, Plo Koon, Aayla Secura, Barriss Offee and Luminara Unduli, Stass Allie, and Traavis.

Returning to Coruscant, Masters Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi enter the Temple long enough to re-encode a secret retreat signal being broadcast by the in-house communications ordering all Jedi to return to the Jedi Temple, deciding to warn all surviving Jedi about the treachery and to take precautions. During a special Senate session, Palpatine declares the Jedi traitors. He then reorganizes the Republic into the Galactic Empire, declaring himself Emperor of the Galaxy.

Survivors

Both Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi survive the initial purge and are picked up by Senator Bail Organa of Alderaan, who has secretly remained loyal to the Jedi, aboard his diplomatic cruiser Tantive IV. They both then attempt to kill the Sith Lords, with Yoda engaging Sidious in combat, and Obi-Wan fighting Vader. Yoda and Sidious fight to a stalemate, in which Yoda comes close to overpowering the Sith lord but is forced to flee at the last moment and escapes; whereas Kenobi defeats and mortally wounds his former apprentice, leaving him to die; however, Vader is rescued by the Emperor and fitted with the black life-support suit he wears for the remainder of his life. Realizing they are in no position to oppose the Empire for the time being, Kenobi and Yoda go into hiding. Additionally, they decide that Luke and Leia, the children of Anakin and Padmé (who had died giving birth to them), would need to be raised separately and in hiding to protect them from Sidious and Vader. Bail Organa volunteers to adopt Leia with his wife on Alderaan. By Yoda's decision, Luke would be raised by Anakin's step-brother, Owen Lars, on Tatooine, while Kenobi watches over him from a distance. Yoda, for his part, chooses exile on an uninhabited planet in the Dagobah System.

In the 2008 video game The Force Unleashed, it is revealed that several other Jedi, including Jedi Master Shaak Ti, had survived the initial purge, only to be later killed by Vader's apprentice Galen Marek. However, in a deleted scene from Revenge Of The Sith, Shaak Ti was killed by General Grievous. This scene is, however, not canon as it depicts Anakin's first face to face meeting with General Grevious, which in the film happens later on the bridge of the CIS ship. The exact Number of Jedi who ultimately survive both the Great Purge and Vader's apprentice is not known.

Expanded Universe

The Expanded Universe indicates that other Jedi also survive the initial stages of the Purge, though few of these Jedi live to see the fall of the Empire. In some, clone troopers that developed individual self-identity played a key role in the Jedis' survival.

According to Timothy Zahn's The Hand of Thrawn Duology, Palpatine begins killing Jedi before the Great Jedi Purge occurs. Shortly after the Battle of Naboo (depicted in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace), the Jedi Council approved the "Outbound Flight Project". A group of Jedi masters would travel to the edge of the galaxy and attempt to use the Force to punch through the hyperspace turbulence surrounding the galaxy, thereby allowing them to attempt contact with life in other galaxies.

The ship is intercepted on Palpatine's command and all hope of contacting life outside the galaxy ended. It is noted that the Chiss, one of whom would become Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn, were involved in the interception of this ship. Further details of the Outbound Flight Project were elaborated upon in Zahn's Survivor's Quest and Outbound Flight novels.

One of those Jedi Masters killed by Thrawn is Jorus C'Baoth. His clone, which serves the Empire, is subject to fits of insanity and eventually betrays Thrawn in the Heir to the Empire series.

X-Wing Rogue Squadron pilot Corran Horn discovers a museum chronicling members of the Jedi Order whom Palpatine had killed, filled with destroyed statues of former Jedi on Coruscant.

In the strategy game Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, after crashlanding on the planet of Krant, Princess Leia Organa and C-3PO, along with a small group of rebels, discover a Jedi who survived the purge, Echuu Shen-Jon. He helps them win many victories on Krant, then travels with them to the Geddes asteroids to reclaim a Jedi artifact. When they land there, they are helped by a small army of Wookiees. In this mission, Shen-Jon dies at Darth Vader's hand, sacrificing himself so Leia and the other Rebels could escape. It is revealed in the xpansion that he exiled himself to Krant after briefly succumbing to the Dark Side and killing Sev,Rance Taan, a CIS general who had killed Shen-Jon's padawan, though at the cost of the lives of many clone trooper and Wookiees. Also, in the game Star Wars Battlefront II, some Jedi survive the purge and were killed by Stormtroopers on Naboo.

In the New Jedi Order series, Vergere is revealed as a Jedi Knight from before the Empire. She was sent on a mission to investigate the living planet Zonama Sekot, where she encounters the Yuuzhan Vong. Considering them to be a threat, Vergere convinces them to take her as an advisor and jester of sorts to their Warmaster, Tsavong Lah. The Great Jedi Purge takes place after she leaves with the Yuuzhan Vong. Her connections to the Old Jedi Order prove important in the training of Jacen Solo and allow her to provide Luke Skywalker with a small view of the old order. Before she can finish completely instructing them, she dies protecting Jacen from Tsavong Lah's forces.

External links

References








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