The Clone Wars would have destroyed the Jedi

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  • The Clone Wars were a real trap for the Jedi, because they could not stand and watch the galaxy fall into war. They became generals and fought on the front lines, leading to destruction.
  • The Guardian Protocols enacted during the Clone Wars transformed the Jedi from peacekeepers to military leaders. This change in role and responsibilities had a major impact on the Order, speeding up combat training and rushing incomplete Jedi trials.
  • The longer the Clone Wars went on, the more the Jedi fell from the light and became blinded by the dark side. Palpatine, by manipulating and using the dark side, eventually initiated Order 66 to achieve his goals and bring about Revenge of the Sith.

Star warsThe Clone Wars would have destroyed the Jedi, even if Palpatine hadn’t initiated Order 66. The Clone Wars was the perfect Jedi trap, with irresistible bait. The Jedi had seen themselves as protectors and defenders of the Republic, which meant they could not stand by and watch as the galaxy went into war. They became generals, fighting on the front lines and leading the Great Army of the Republic in battle.

Ironically, the Clone Wars would not have been possible without the actions of one Jedi Master. Sifo-Dyas had a strong and unique connection with the Cosmic Force, one that allowed him to see into the future, and he saw the Clone Wars coming over a decade before. Sifo-Dyas commissioned the Kaminoans to create an army of clones, to aid the Jedi. But the Sith took advantage of this, with Dooku killing SIfo-Dyas and ordering the Kaminoans to install protection chips that would allow Palpatine to take control of the clones at a critical moment. At the end of the Clone Wars, Palpatine issued Order 66. Across the galaxy, Jedi died. And yet, surprisingly, Order 66 may not have been necessary; it seems increasingly likely that the Clone Wars would have destroyed the Jedi without him.

Related: Star Wars: All Jedi Survived Order 66 (In Canon)

200 Jedi died at the Battle of Geonosis

Star Wars: The Battle of Geonosis

The Clone Wars began at the Battle of Geonosis, when a Jedi intervened in a Separatist meeting to save the lives of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Padmé Amidala. Although the Republic won, it was only because Yoda arrived leading the clone army as reinforcements. 200 Jedi died at the Battle of Geonosis, including some of the most skilled and experienced. Every Jedi knew someone who died at Geonosis, meaning that the entire order began the Clone Wars in a state of shock and sadness. Jedi believe in letting go, but this is not an easy thing to do.

The Jedi implemented The Guardian Protocols

Star Wars Jedi Council

Star Wars: The High Republic revealed that there are Jedi plans for such an emergency, Guardian Protocols that Palpatine knew the Jedi would attack. These had been used in the past, and Palpatine could be sure that they would be implemented again at the start of the Clone Wars. Unfortunately, these Guardian Protocols were fundamentally flawed, and he was able to exploit them. They are:

A guide to speeding up a young man’s fight

Outposts staffed by droids

Independent investigation suspended

Early Padawan Trials

Resource management constraints

Aggressive combat as needed

A Jedi does not travel alone

The Guardian Protocols basically meant that the Jedi would change overnight, from peace keepers to military leaders. The relationship between the Jedi and the galaxy would be broken, with outposts abandoned, and all independent research stopped, power now concentrated in the hands of the Jedi Council. But two rules, in particular, would have a very important effect on the Order: the acceleration of young combat training and early Padawan tests.

Related: Star Wars in Order: All Movies & Shows

The Jedi became an order of warriors

Star Wars brotherhood cover

The Guardian Protocols meant that Padawans were rushed through their Jedi trials when their training was incomplete, meaning they were completely unprepared for the violence and suffering of a galaxy at war. Worse still, the Council – desperate to increase the number of Jedi after 200 died at the Battle of Geonosis – decided to kill Padawans who had already survived that conflict. had gone through something worse than any Jedi trial. Instead of being assigned new masters, these Padawans were promoted to the rank of Jedi Knight and sent out to the front lines to fight. That’s why Anakin Skywalker became a Jedi Knight, even if he lacked the emotional stability. Another Padawan knight at that same ceremony would eventually become one of Darth Vader’s Inquisitors.

Actually, most of the Padawans who survived the Battle of Geonosis should have begin of their tests. The bond between Master and Apprentice is a sacred bond, and for many Padawan it was suddenly severed. They were still young, and had never faced grief and loss before. Instead of having time to heal, to regain their inner harmony and sense of balance, they were encouraged and sent out to fight, kill, and die.

At the same time, combat training for young children was accelerated. Mike Chen’s new book Brotherhood states that Palpatine encouraged the Jedi to send young children out onto the front lines, so they could see the Jedi fight and learn to trust the clones. This would also mean that they were exposed to the emotions of war – violence, suffering, anger, and pain. Young people who felt ready were introduced as Padawans, with 14-year-old Ahsoka Tano forced upon Anakin Skywalker when the last thing he wanted was to be a teacher. These Padawans would only learn the way of war, as their formative years as Jedi would be nothing but bloodshed and violence.

The desire to dominate the dark side

Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in his Clone Wars armor in episode Ahsoka 5

Decades later, Obi-Wan Kenobi realized how utterly the Jedi had failed. “All wars are – to some extent, at least – about sovereignty,“he saw in Christopher Cantwell, Alessandro Miracolo, and Frank William’s Obi-Wan #3. “ As servants of the Force, we learned that it is above all, like a stream that has not been seen before. To seek superiority of any kind is to misunderstand the true nature of the Force.“As generals in the Central Army of the Republic, the Jedi were fulfilling a role that was alien to their nature, which was against everything they were supposed to stand for.

Some Jedi were aware of this. Barriss Offee was one who understood what the Jedi were becoming, but she was also a product of the Clone Wars; instead of trying to find a way to bring balance to the Jedi, she lashed out in pain and anger, launching a terrorist attack on the Jedi Temple. When she was finally brought to justice for her crimes, she addressed the Senate and warned that the Jedi were becoming “an army that fought for the Dark Side, fallen from the Light we once loved.” Barriss’ actions may have been wrong, but her argument was right. The longer the Clone Wars went on, the more the Jedi fell from the light.

The Blind Side of the Jedi Council

Yoda is standing in the empty Jedi Council room, looking out the window in Star Wars Eclipse

It is no coincidence that the dark side fell across the galaxy at the beginning of the Children’s Wars. War is suffering and pain, and a galaxy-consuming conflict will leave the dark side growing. Star Wars: The High Republic has proven that Jedi tend to be reduced at such times, because they draw their power from the light. This meant that the Jedi Council lost the ability to draw on the Force for wisdom, and found themselves stumbling in the dark, reacting rather than being able to see a way through the crisis. The Guardian Protocols meant that power was concentrated in the hands of the Council, but they no longer knew how best to use this power.

Palpatine seems to have become more daring as the Clone Wars continued. Incredibly, Palpatine wanted to use the dark side in the Jedi Temple himself, confident that the Jedi’s ability to sense had diminished so much. A skilled political strategist, he manipulated the Jedi into one mistake after another, dragging out the war and affecting their morale. By the time the Jedi began to realize that Palpatine could not be trusted, it was too late. They didn’t even consider the possibility that it was the secret Sith Lord they feared.

Order 66 It wasn’t necessary, so why did Palpatine do it?

The Coruscant Jedi Temple in flames during Order 66.

There is some evidence that Count Dooku, Palpatine’s Sith apprentice, may not have intended to destroy the Jedi; he seems to have hoped that he could reform the order after his own pattern. It’s easy to see why Dooku thought reformation was possible, as the Clone Wars were already transforming the Jedi into something darker. The longer they lasted, the worse it would get. Since this is true, why did Palpatine initiate Order 66 in the end?

There are two reasons. The first is that the destruction of the Jedi was only one of Palpatine’s goals. Darth Sidious never really cared for Dooku, with his eye always drawn instead to Anakin Skywalker as a possible replacement. So many of the biggest crises in the Clone Wars were planned by Palpatine just to shape and mold Anakin Skywalker, to draw him closer to the dark side. The Jedi believed that Anakin was the chosen one, but – an egotist at heart – Palpatine believed that he would make the choice. Everything was under Palpatine’s desire to have Anakin Skywalker as his apprentice, so Anakin’s fall set the clock for the Clone Wars.

The second, of course, is the nature of the dark side itself. It’s truly surprising that the Sith managed to operate in the shadows for a thousand years, as emotions like anger and rage – so fundamental to the dark side – do not lend themselves to patience. Palpatine knew these feelings just as much as (if not more than) any Sith before him. he could channel his emotions into them, pouring Sith lightning into them to sense their release. Even this could not last forever, however, so Palpatine naturally wanted to accelerate the Clone Wars so that he could gain revenge of the Sith – with Order 66 as Star wars‘ a dark masterstroke.

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