How Did Yoda Survive Order 66?
Yoda, the legendary Jedi Master, is among those famed Star Wars personages who need no introduction. Over a lifetime that spanned nine centuries, Yoda found himself at the heart of many major turning points in the history of the galaxy, from the Invasion of Naboo to the training of young Luke Skywalker in the ways of the Jedi.
Yet there were few events in Yoda’s life that were more consequential than the infamous Order 66 and the subsequent Great Jedi Purge. This period claimed the lives of many Jedi Knights, and nearly spelled the end of the Jedi Order once and for all. Yoda, however, was among those Jedi who managed to evade the mass slaughter directed by Sith Lord Palpatine, and the Jedi Grand Master would live on to become Luke Skywalker’s mentor.
That Yoda managed to survive Order 66 is hardly a surprise. It can be fairly said that if anybody was capable of avoiding execution under such circumstances, Yoda certainly was. Yet that doesn’t answer the question: How did Yoda escape the clone trooper rampage that slew numerous Jedi? Keep reading for the details.
Yoda’s Foreknowledge of Order 66
Some commentators in the fan community have laid the blame for Order 66 at Yoda’s wizened feet. The accusation is not that he gave the command for Order 66—Palpatine is clearly to be credited for that—but that he failed to intervene when confronted with evidence that the clone troopers had been somehow compromised.
Order 66 was based on an engineering flaw of sorts in the Republic’s clone troopers. Each and every trooper was outfitted with a special implant, an “inhibitor chip,” that was originally intended to keep rogue elements in the Jedi Order from somehow taking control of the army. Alas, the chips themselves became the means by which the Sith were able to commandeer the troopers and direct them to slaughter the Jedi.
How Did Yoda Sense Order 66?
How much of this did Yoda know prior to Order 66? It is true that Yoda experienced visions on several occasions that filled him with forebodings about the clone troopers.
In one such incident, he sensed an evil presence while meditating about the trio of clone troopers who were accompanying him on a mission to the planet Rugosa. On another instance, while in a Dagobah cave, he was beset by troubling visions of the Great Jedi Purge, including Palpatine murdering several Jedi Masters. These led Yoda to believe that the Sith might be on the road to some significant victory, but also that it would be temporary in nature.
Yoda was also aware that the clone troopers had been created without the authorization of the Jedi Order, and that Count Dooku had been involved in the project. Nonetheless, the Jedi Master believed the clone army to be trustworthy. Fearing that the news of Dooku’s participation would ruin public confidence in the Jedi cause, Yoda insisted that the revelation be kept secret.
Even so, Yoda never had any clear, actionable information about Order 66. He genuinely did not believe that the clone troopers, who had distinguished themselves in battle many times, were a threat to the Jedi. He was tragically wrong, but there is no reason to claim that some kind of philosophical fatalism led him to permit Order 66 to go into effect.
Where was Yoda During Order 66?
At the moment Order 66 was issued, Yoda was on the planet Kashyyyk, where a fierce battle was in progress. The Jedi Master immediately sensed disaster, and was so overwhelmed by emotion that he fell to his knees. But this shocking development served to put him on high alert. Moments later, Commander Gree and Captain Jek attempted to assassinate him, in compliance with the murderous order. The vigilant Yoda expertly decapitated both with a sweeping blow from his lightsaber.
From there, Yoda fled with the help from the Wookiees. He met up with Bail Organa and Obi-Wan Kenobi, both of whom had eluded execution as well. It was revealed that the Jedi Temple during Order 66 was broadcasting a retreat message that was in fact intended to lure escaping Jedi into a trap. Yoda accompanied Kenobi on a trip to the Temple to recalibrate the signal.
This accomplished, Yoda became determined to seek out and confront Darth Sidious, the newly self-proclaimed Emperor of the Galactic Empire. He finally managed to engage Sidious in a lightsaber duel, but the legendary Jedi Master could not defeat him, and Yoda was forced to flee the scene. This failure inspired Yoda to go into exile, safely away from the Emperor’s reach.