One of the most devastating moments in the history of Star Wars was Order 66 because it was this single event that led to the destruction of the Jedi Order in almost an instant. It was also this event that allowed the Sith Order to prevail against the Jedi Order, as Palpatine manipulated all of the events behind the Clone Wars to finally succeed against the Jedi. But while the Jedi Order was destroyed, survivors could still escape the clones. So, how many Jedi survived Order 66?
It is widely believed that only fewer than a hundred Jedi survived Order 66. While that number might sound big, it pales compared to the 10,000 Jedi around before Order 66 happened. A hundred Jedi scattered all over a large galaxy is also a very small number to make a difference.
Even though all of the Jedi that survived Order 66 were mostly in survival mode, Emperor Palpatine didn’t want to take any chance, and that’s why he decided to go after all of the survivors to either kill them or turn them to the dark side. That was where Darth Vader and the Inquisitors came in as the hunting dogs that chased down the remaining Jedi. Now, let’s talk more about how many Jedi survived Order 66.
Only one percent survived
By the time ‘Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope’ was released, we learned that the Jedi Order had already been destroyed in the past and that the Jedi had been all but wiped out from the face of the galaxy. In fact, it was widely believed that Luke Skywalker was the last Jedi in the galaxy by the time he defeated Darth Vader in ‘Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.’
But we all know that there were more Jedi in the past. That’s because it was revealed in ‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,’ which takes place on 32 BBY, that the Jedi Order was still active and very much alive at that time. In fact, the Jedi Order was thriving together with the Galactic Republic more than a decade before its eventual destruction in ‘Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,’ which takes place on 19 BBY.
Then, in ‘Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones,’ we saw that many Jedi took part in the First Battle of Geonosis. While there were plenty of Jedi on the battlefield of Geonosis, we know this wasn’t even a fraction of the entire Jedi Order. And that’s because we learned in ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ that plenty of Jedi were scattered across the entire galaxy when the Jedi Order still existed.
In a scene wherein Kanan Jarrus was talking to his Padawan, Ezra Bridger, about the Jedi Order, he said that there were around 10,000 Jedi throughout the galaxy when the Jedi Order was still around. As such, we can assume that there were 10,000 Jedi Knights that fought in many different battles around the galaxy during the events of the Clone Wars.
Of course, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who was secretly Darth Sidious the entire time, executed Order 66 after surviving Mace Windu’s attempt at his life and turning Anakin Skywalker over to the dark side. In that regard, the clones were immediately compelled to listen to this secret order due to their inhibitor chips. They started killing all of the Jedi that they could find even though they fought together with these Jedi in many different battles for three years.
No Jedi was safe because the clones shot them without even hesitating, as that was what they were created for. In that regard, the Jedi didn’t know what was happening when the clones started betraying them. Multiple Jedi Knights and Masters were immediately brought down by the clones as there were entire battalions of clones ganging up on one or two Jedi Knights and Masters in many different systems throughout the galaxy.
Meanwhile, Anakin Skywalker went to the Jedi Temple with a legion of clones to kill all the Jedi and younglings there. As such, the Jedi were massacred at their root and were left defenseless because they weren’t aware of what was happening.
Despite that, survivors could still escape the onslaught of Order 66. In ‘Revenge of the Sith,’ we saw two survivors: Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Then, as the storyline of Star Wars progressed in the shows and the video games, we gradually learned that more survivors ended up escaping Order 66.
While we don’t have an actual number, it is estimated that fewer than a hundred Jedi were able to survive Order 66. The number could be more because more and more Jedi survivors seem to be popping out of nowhere in the many different Star Wars shows and games set during the Empire’s reign. As of the moment, there are around 30 survivors that have been revealed in canon, and there could still be more.
So, if we look at it, 100 Jedi is only around 1% of the 10,000 Jedi that Kanan Jarrus said were scattered throughout the galaxy during the Clone Wars era. While 100 actually looks like a significant number compared to the two Sith Lords that run the Empire, the thing is that these 100 Jedi don’t have the manpower to fight an entire Imperial armada.
On top of that, the 100 Jedi were scattered throughout the galaxy, had no means to contact one another, and were basically just trying to survive. And that’s why 100 Jedi Knights weren’t nearly enough to overthrow the Empire over the two decades following the events of Order 66.
Some were lucky, while some were strong
As mentioned, there were around 100 Jedi that survived Order 66. The thing is that some of these survivors were just plain lucky. But even fewer of them were strong enough to have fought back against a battalion of clones.
In fact, Yoda could only survive because there were only a few clones around him then. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan barely survived and was lucky enough to fall into the water when he and his lizard mount were shot down.
Some survivors may have only survived after surrendering to the Empire and allowing themselves to be turned into tools. This is where the Inquisitors come in, as most of them were once Jedi that were turned to the dark side out of fear for their lives. Darth Vader turned them into his hunting dogs to hunt down any remaining Jedi that survived Order 66.
Of course, while some survivors were lucky enough to have survived, it didn’t take too long for Vader and his Inquisitors to find them. Some survivors were also trained to become Inquisitors, while some were killed on the spot by Vader or the other Inquisitors.
In that regard, only those who were strong enough could survive the Jedi purge in the years that followed Order 66. There are only a few of them as most of the weaker Jedi were quite easy for the Inquisitors to find, as seen during the events of the ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ series, wherein the Inquisitors were able to spot and subsequently kill a survivor hiding on Tatooine.
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