Star Wars premiered back in 1977 and created a massive franchise that is still very relevant today. While the original trilogy set up the universe and lore, the prequels had another important duty. They had to fill in the foundation that leads up to Palpatine in power and Darth Vader’s redemption later on. Lucasfilm went even further with The Clone Wars television show, filling in the gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
Interestingly, there’s a moment in the series that shows how close the Jedi were to finding out about Order 66, which ultimately destroyed them. But Anakin and the Jedi were already clouded by Palpatine, and it fell through.
Season 6 of ‘The Clone Wars’ has a pivotal arc about the Clone troopers and Order 66
The Clone Wars was canceled by Lucasfilm in 2014 because they wanted to “pursue a new direction in animated programming” after the studio was bought by Disney. Up until that point, the show was thriving on Cartoon Network and had some vital plot points planned for the upcoming seasons. However, it was cut short and instead of airing those planned arcs, Season 6 was released on Netflix. It was dubbed the “Lost Missions” season and consisted of a few important arcs that didn’t touch on where Season 5 left off.
Regardless, the first story in Season 6 is a wild one. The plot revolves around Clone trooper Tup having a “breakdown” and killing a Jedi on purpose. As we all know, that’s not a breakdown, but a malfunction that had him execute Order 66 early. This was a result of a brain chip placed in the Clones from birth. It took away free will and made them kill Jedi when ordered by Palpatine at the appropriate time. For some reason, Tup’s chip decayed and went off early.
So, while the Jedi were trying to get to the bottom of why Tup did that, another Clone, Fives, went with to watch over his brother. Over the span of 4 episodes, Fives connects the dots, removes his own chip, and relays the information to anyone who will listen.
The Jedi were so close to finding out about Palpatine’s ultimate plan
As you’d assume, Palpatine and the Kaminoans were very on edge while Fives was on the loose. If he was able to convince the Jedi that a sinister chip was in all the Clones’ brains, Order 66 would be compromised. Because of Fives’ determination, he was able to convince Master Shaak-Ti that he should present it to the Jedi, or at least the Chancellor.
However, the Chancellor got the Clone alone and tried to kill him, convincing Fives even more that he had to tell General Skywalker and Captain Rex, who he served under in the 501st. He ended up telling them, however, Anakin didn’t believe Palpatine could do such a thing. His allegiance to the Chancellor was already growing here, and his blindness to the potential evil stopped any type of Jedi investigation into Fives’ claims. Rex, however, does believe him to a certain extent, because he takes the chip out later, which helps when Order 66 is executed and he’s on Mandalore with Ahsoka Tano.
The real kicker is that Jedi Council members Mace Windu and Yoda were in attendance as Palpatine told them a parasite was the cause to Fives’ and Tup’s erratic behavior. Not only were they blind to his evilness, too, but they didn’t question anything. Yoda seemed suspicious — as he should have been — but their ignorance as a whole stopped them from figuring Order 66 out when it was right in front of them.
This adds more layers to Order 66 than what we saw in the prequels
In the prequels, viewers meet the Clone troopers as an entity, but not on an individual basis. Because of this, the betrayal isn’t felt as hard when they turn on the Jedi in Revenge of the Sith. It’s also never explained that it’s a chip in their brain that caused them to follow orders so fluidly, without hesitation.
So because The Clone Wars explains all of this, it makes Episode III more devastating. Not just because of what happens or the fact that the Jedi were so close to the truth. But because these were real men with brains, personalities, and free will, that were turned into puppets, killing their friends and leaders like they were enemies.