The Bad Batch just quietly changed Star Wars history forever
Wait. How many people survived Order 66?
“When gone am I, the last of the Jedi shall you be.” That’s what Yoda told Luke right before he died in Return of the Jedi. Since then, we’ve learned that what Yoda said was true, from a certain point of view. From a different point of view, Yoda doesn’t know how to count.
The biggest retcon in Star Wars history has been underway since at least 2014. And now, The Bad Batch has illuminated a key detail about Order 66 that pretty much changes everything we thought we knew about the Jedi after Revenge of the Sith.
In The Mandalorian Season 2 alone, set just five years after Yoda’s death, we have Grogu (who has been alive for 50 years!) as well as Ahsoka Tano, who has been a Jedi since way before Order 66 happened. In the Mando episode titled “The Jedi,” Ahsoka tells Din Djarin, “There aren’t many Jedi left.” Now, Ahsoka doesn’t give an exact number, but “not very many” is certainly a bigger number than Yoda’s “one.”
When there weren’t prequels and sequels and spin-off TV shows, we took Yoda at his word in Return of the Jedi, but assuming we count Ahsoka as a Jedi (she self-identifies as such in Mando) and also counting Leia, there are at least four “last Jedi” hanging around in the galaxy after Yoda dies: Ahsoka, Ezra Bridger, and, of course, the Skywalker twins.
Could there be others? Had a certain animated Jedi not died just before Episode IV, there would be closer to five active Jedi around in between the beginning of A New Hope and the start of The Mandalorian. And the example of how Star Wars: Rebels hero Kanan Jarrus escaped Order 66 in the debut episode of The Bad Batch could point toward even more secret Jedi running around out there in the Star Wars universe.
Before The Bad Batch, we knew that Kanan Jarrus escaped Order 66 because his master, Depa Billaba, sacrificed her life to save his. Back then, he was known as Caleb Dume, but he obviously changed his name to stay alive once the Empire got going, and being a Jedi was basically illegal.
Kanan’s escape from Order 66, as depicted in The Bad Batch, adds a new layer to this previously established story. He didn’t just survive Order 66 because his master held off the Clone Troopers while he ran away. Caleb Dume survived Order 66 because some Clone Troopers — specifically the members of The Bad Batch — managed to circumvent their inhibitor chips and not murder the Jedi.
So, in at least one instance of Order 66, we specifically saw Clone Troopers choose to let the Jedi live. Clone Force 99 is supposedly unique because they were “defective” clones. But, we know their story of sparing Jedi during Order 66 is not unique.
In The Bad Batch episode 2, the Batch catches up with the former trooper named Cut Lawquane. This clone was introduced in The Clone Wars episode “The Deserter,” and in The Bad Batch, it’s made pretty clear that he was able to circumvent his inhibitor chip, too.
In the Rebels episode “The Lost Commanders,” we reunite former clone troopers Rex, Wolffe, and Gregor. In the finale of The Clone Wars, we specifically watched Ahsoka remove Rex’s chip to prevent him from carrying out Order 66, but it’s less clear what happened with Wolffe and Gregor.
The existence of these clones disobeying Order 66 proves there’s a pattern here.
Since Rebels, Star Wars canon has been slowly walking back the severity of Order 66. In fact, you could even argue that this retcon predates Rebels, since Ahsoka was introduced in The Clone Wars in 2008, and then was conveniently kicked out of the Jedi before Order 66 happened. As far as secret Jedi who-we’d-never-heard-of-in-the-movies, Ahsoka is patient zero.
Last year, we finally got to see how Ahsoka survived Order 66 in the long-awaited final season of The Clone Wars, but, since her introduction, the vast majority of new Star Wars TV series have been focused on the existence of secret Jedi. In fact, it’s a safe bet that we will either meet another secret Jedi in The Bad Batch, or during the events of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Everything we’ve learned about Order 66 from The Clone Wars and now The Bad Batch tells us it was sloppy. Presumably, this is what Darth Vader was for: The Emperor sent him (and the Inquisitors) to bat clean-up. So, because The Bad Batch takes place right after Order 66, the idea that we will meet some secret Jedi — “stragglers” as Obi-Wan called them in Sith — feels likely. Based on the track record of how much Star Wars loves secret Jedi in the TV series, if there’s not at least one more secret Jedi on The Bad Batch it would be weird.
On top of that, all of this Order 66 sloppiness means there could be a decent number of secret Jedi running around during the events of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Ewan McGregor has already gone on record saying he’s rehearsing some lightsaber fights — could some of those be against former Jedi? Or is he fighting alongside them?
Obi-Wan Kenobi takes place about eight years after Revenge of the Sith, which will put it about seven or eight years after The Bad Batch. Conceivably, if there are more secret Jedi who survived Order 66, they could be revealed in The Bad Batch and then revisited on Kenobi. Yoda may have played around with the truth about the numbers of Jedi left in the galaxy, but we know the original king of lying about the remaining Jedi was Old Ben himself.
The Bad Batch airs new episodes on Disney+ on Fridays.