Order 66 destroyed the Jedi, but ‘Star Wars’ fans point out that Order 65 could have stopped Darth Sidious

Emperor Palpatine

Order 66 was one of the most consequential moments in Star Wars history. This was the culmination of Darth Sidious’ prequel trilogy scheming and the moment the tide truly turned against the Jedi order as the clone troopers they were fighting alongside attacked them. Not even the most talented Jedi Master could deflect concentrated blaster rifle fire from all angles, and by the end of the day there was just handful of survivors.

But it didn’t have to go down this way. Fans on r/StarWars have noted that there was an ‘Order 65′ that could have prevented Sidious’ victory that was never enacted. Order 65 was first mentioned in 2007 novel Republic Commando: True Colors and again in Order 66: A Republic Commando Novel and says:

“In the event of either (i) a majority in the Senate declaring the Supreme Commander (Chancellor) to be unfit to issue orders, or (ii) the Security Council declaring him to be unfit to issue orders, and an authenticated order being received by the GAR, commanders shall be authorized to detain the Supreme Commander, with lethal force if necessary, and command of the GAR shall fall to the acting Chancellor until a successor is appointed or alternative authority identified as outlined in Section 6 (iv).”

As this comes from a pre-Disney buyout novel its current canonical status is unknown, though it seems like a silver bullet to legally stop Senator Palpatine in his tracks by declaring him “unfit to issue orders”. The fact this order exists at all is proof that the Galactic Senate had strong suspicions about Palpatine, going so far as to authorize “lethal force if necessary”.

Replies point out that by the time of Revenge of the Sith Palpatine had a firm grip on the Senate and Courts, so even if Order 65 had been activated it’s unlikely it would have made much difference.

It’s notable the Jedi do try actually try to arrest Palpatine by sending several of their most talented warriors to his living quarters, though they were sliced through like hot butter and Mace Windu was sent flying through a window, so any hope of bringing down Sidious through a legal motion was probably doomed before it began.

Even so, we’d love to see a Star Wars ‘What If…’ showing how things could have gone differently.