Good soldiers

'Bad Batch' is changing the most important moment in Star Wars history

“I don't want to bury any more of our brothers”

“Execute Order 66.”

With those three words, Star Wars changed forever. In an instant, clones turned on the very people who had created them, slaughtering all Jedi and becoming the Empire’s deadly army. But the details of Order 66 aren’t exactly known.

We’ve seen its execution three times now: once in Revenge of the Sith, once in the last season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and finally in the premiere of Star Wars: The Bad Batch. But each time, these moments focus on the killing of Jedi warriors.

The latest episode of The Bad Batch makes it clear Order 66 extended beyond that — and was far more dangerous than we thought.

Wrecker attacks Hunter for disobeying the Order.Lucasfilm

In Episode 7 of The Bad Batch, Hunter and the gang are back to the grind of running odd jobs for Cid when they run into an old friend: Captain Rex, who assisted Ahsoka Tano when Order 66 was first initiated in the finale arc of The Clone Wars. When Rex notices Wrecker’s constant headaches, he knows something is up. He’s seen what happens when an inhibitor chip is activated, and he knows what they need to do — get the chip surgically removed.

On the junkyard planet of Bracca, the Batch finds an old Jedi medbay to use for the procedure. But it’s too late. Wrecker’s chip is activated, and he turns against his brothers for “not following orders.”

We haven’t seen a clone fall under the influence of Order 66 like this without Jedi present. Even Crosshair offered Hunter the chance to surrender in the series’ premiere. But Wrecker doesn’t even do that. Turning against his own brothers for disobeying orders, he also targets Omega, as she is “conspiring with traitors.”

Wrecker apologizes to Omega after his chip is removed. Could Crosshair be rescued with the same procedure?Lucasfilm

It’s clear the chips have a greater effect than simply brainwashing clones into killing Jedi. There’s a definite shift in Wrecker’s psychology happening as the chip is activated, one heightened by the fact he knows Hunter let Kanan Jarrus go free in the aftermath of the order.

Perhaps Order 66 was not simply a matter of converting Jedi from allies to enemies in the minds of clone troopers, but a greater transformation of clone troopers from soldiers into slaves. Before the order was passed down, even regular clones had names, personalities, and diverse appearances. But after the Empire’s takeover, Order 66 worked not only to reduce the clones to their numerical designations, but to subjugate everyone in the universe through chain codes.

This explains how easily the Empire could shift into using clones as a conscripted work force. After all, when your army is psychologically manipulated into being completely loyal and obedient, they’ll trust any decision, even if it means they’ll be totally abandoned through carrying it out.

One thing’s for sure: months after the slaughter of countless Jedi, Order 66 is still a clear and present danger to the Batch and their allies. Things just got a lot more interesting — and hazardous — over in the galaxy far, far away.

The Bad Batch is now streaming on Disney+.