Order 65 states:

Order 65 was one of the 150 contingency orders that the clone troopers of the Grand Army of the Republic were trained to carry out in the event of different emergency scenarios during the Clone Wars. Order 65 stated that if a majority of the Senate or the Security Council declared that the Supreme Chancellor—at that time Palpatine—was unfit for duty, the Chancellor was to be captured or, if necessary, killed.

But Mace Windu and the Jedi Council:

Thinking pragmatically, Windu concluded that the Jedi Council would have to seize control of the Senate in order to secure a peaceful transition of power from the Office of Supreme Chancellor to the Jedi High Council. Master Yoda feared where such a line of thought would lead the Jedi Order, but even Yoda himself was weary of the Chancellor's actions and seemed to agree, albeit reluctantly, with the idea of arresting Palpatine and stripping him of his office.

Here is the transcript.

MACE WINDU: I sense a plot to destroy the Jedi. The dark side of the Force surrounds the Chancellor.

Kl-ADI-MUNDI: If he does not give up his emergency powers after the destruction of Grievous, then he should be removed from office.

MACE WiNDU: That could be a dangerous move ... the Jedi Council would have to take control of the Senate in order to secure a peaceful transition . . .

Kl-ADI-MUNDI: . . . and replace the Congress with Senators who are not filled with greed and corruption.

YODA: To a dark place this line of thought will carry us. Hmmmmm. . . . great care we must take.

How exactly is that thinking pragmatically when they have Order 65 on the table? Not to mention that they aren't just talking about removing Palpatine, but taking over the Senate. It is not like there is no other option, there is an entire Security Council that seems like it was formed for just this purpose. The council is only loosely defined in the Wikia:

The Security Council was a group amongst the Galactic Senate that was charged with overseeing the security of the Galactic Republic.

Among the Security Council's list of powers was the authority to initiate Order 65, a contingency command instructing all units of the Grand Army of the Republic that the Supreme Chancellor had been declared a threat to the Galactic Republic and was to be apprehended or terminated if necessary. Unlike its counterpart, Order 66, Order 65 was never enacted.

But it seems like one would reasonably assume that the Security Council would be autonomous from Palpatine himself. Not only does this decision seem rather odd for the supposedly wise Jedi Council but it:

Leaves the door wide open for Palpatine to execute Order 66 and start the Great Jedi Purge.

It is also important to note that:

At this point the Jedi don't realize Palpatine is Darth Sidious. He's just another politician to them.

So, are there any other in-universe reasons why the Jedi ignore this option?

  • 10
    And yes, I already know that out-of-universe it would be narratively boring to watch the Jedi attend a bunch of council meetings, arrest Palpatine with the aid of Clone Troopers and never have The Empire formed....
    – joshbirk
    Mar 5, 2014 at 0:11
  • 2
    I'd point out that they did know that Palpatine was a Sith Lord, thanks to Anakin informing them
    – The Fallen
    Mar 5, 2014 at 0:25
  • 6
    Would the Jedi have Order 65 memorised? scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/10874/… Mar 5, 2014 at 5:20
  • 2
    That answer itself mentions 65 being a shield for the "true intentions" of 66. Seriously, the Jedi were in charge of an army but had no concept of the orders they followed? This seems unwise, which seems unbecoming of a Jedi.
    – joshbirk
    Mar 5, 2014 at 6:43
  • 9
    But it seems like one would reasonably assumed that the Security Council would be autonomous from Palpatine himself. - Given how well Palpatine manipulated the Jedi/war/senate, I think this is a poor assumption. It seems like this council could have been sufficiently packed with people loyal to Palpatine.
    – Zoredache
    Mar 5, 2014 at 20:09

8 Answers 8


Since the Jedi believed Palpatine was a Sith Lord, they considered him too dangerous to entrust with the vital functions of a Chancellor. From the film Revenge of the Sith:

Windu: "We just received word that Obi-Wan has destroyed General Grevious. We're on our way to make sure the Chancellor returns emergency power back to the Senate."

Anakin: "He won't give up his power. I've just learned a terrible truth. I think Chancellor Palpatine is a Sith Lord."

Windu: "A Sith Lord?"

Anakin: "Yes. The one we've been looking for."

Windu: "How do you know this?"

Anakin: "He knows the ways of the Force. He's been trained to use the dark side."

Windu: "Are you sure?"

Anakin: "Absolutely."

Windu: "Then our worst fears have been realized. We must move quickly if the Jedi Order is to survive." [1:08]

Also, when they went to arrest him:

Windu: In the name of the Galactic Senate of the Republic, you are under arrest, Chancellor."

Palpatine: "Are you threatening me, Master Jedi?"

Windu: "The Senate will decide your fate."

And when Anakin finally showed up, Windu revealed how he felt about the options - why they could not entrust him to the Security Council:

Windu: "You are under arrest, my lord."

But after Palpatine begins to persuade Anakin and attacks Windu with lightning:

Windu: "I am going to end this, once and for all."

Anakin: "You can't. He must stand trial."

Windu: "He has control of the Senate and the Courts. He's too dangerous to be left alive [emphasis mine]

So Windu believed there was no safe way to arrest Palpatine. He had to kill the Chancellor. As to why Windu's mind changed so quickly over Force lightning, well, you'll have to ask George Lucas. But in summary, Windu did say why Order 65 wasn't enacted. Because 'he's too dangerous to be left alive.'

  • But the very first quote suggests that Windu was already on his way to remove the Chancellor - just like the question suggests. The question is the motivation before that scene, not after.
    – joshbirk
    Mar 5, 2014 at 2:23
  • 2
    @joshbirk There's a difference between returning his emergeny powers (while remaining chancelor) and being entirely removed
    – Zommuter
    Mar 5, 2014 at 8:18
  • Added the transcript. The Jedi are basically saying either Palpatine removes the emergency powers, or they will arrest and/or kill him, take over the Senate and remove "corruption". And they don't seem to really think he is going to release the powers themselves.
    – joshbirk
    Mar 5, 2014 at 15:24
  • 6
    Maybe they did enact Order 65 and Mace was trying to enforce it? From the OP Order 65 stated that if a majority of the Senate or the Security Council declared that the Supreme Chancellor—at that time Palpatine—was unfit for duty, the Chancellor was to be captured or, if necessary, killed. So before Mace went to attempt to arrest Palpatine, the council got together and majority voted to enact Order 65.
    – Kapler
    Mar 5, 2014 at 19:37
  • 2
    Given that Palpatine, as a strong politician, had the confident of the majority of the senate (they kept voting in favor of giving him more executive authority) and the fact that he is a powerful Sith lord who orchestrated a war, amassed an army on both sides, controlling both sides in order to justify his upcoming actions, I suspect that if Mace Windu approached the security council and proposed Order 65, that Palpatine would not simply surrender himself and never hurt anyone again. One way or the other, he needed to be eliminated.
    – Brandon
    Oct 13, 2014 at 15:35

Most Senators were fully supportive of Palpatine.

Even those who opposed, were peacenicks who would have likely shied away from open conflict that Order 65 represented (e.g. Bail Organa or Amidala). And those were a small minority.

  • I don't know if "Most Senators" is the same as saying the Security Council was completely irrelevant. At the very least, the Jedi Council had a responsibility to pursue the legal course of action.
    – joshbirk
    Mar 5, 2014 at 2:24
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    Do you have evidence from canon to support this answer?
    – DQdlM
    Mar 5, 2014 at 11:05
  • 1
    @KennyPeanuts - among other things, scenes from the prequels when they approve granting him the extra powers. Or the fact that nobody really objected to him declaring himself Emperor Mar 5, 2014 at 19:21
  • But he declared himself Emperor after he had defeated the Jedi, right? I mean who was going to stop him. He can name himself whatever he wants at that point. He controls the army completely and there's no pesky Jedi around.
    – joshbirk
    Mar 5, 2014 at 20:22
  • 1
    @KennyPeanuts How about when they cheered at his declaration that the Republic would become the Empire?
    – jpmc26
    Jun 11, 2016 at 21:17

In the EU, I have seen no indication that the Jedi were aware of the 150 contingency orders that were taught to the clones, and it's not clear whether they had the authority to invoke such orders.

What's more, the wording of the order seems to indicate the Security Council can do it. Unfortunately, the Sith were regarded as either a myth or just a religion for the general populace -- "The Chancellor is actually a Sith Lord!" is not likely to be a sufficient reason for such a council to label Palpatine a threat. Only the Jedi properly appreciate how dangerous a Sith Lord is.

It's easy to see why the Jedi would take matters into their own hands, and indeed it seems that they were right to do so given that when they failed Palpatine all but wiped out the Jedi Order.

  • I agree, but the only counter to that is it was known that the leadership of the Separatist movement was the Dark Lords of the Sith. So saying Palpatine is a Sith lord is implying a threat because he is the leader of the enemy of the state. However, maybe only the Jedi had public knowledge of the Sith's involvement in the Clone Wars. Perhaps the general public did not know or understand that, or appreciate its ramifications.
    – Brandon
    Dec 31, 2015 at 17:47

Order 65 couldn't really help the Jedi because of two reasons:

Order 65 stated that if a majority of the Senate or the Security Council declared that the Supreme Chancellor—at that time Palpatine—was unfit for duty, the Chancellor was to be captured or, if necessary, killed.

  1. By the time Jedi came to know that Palpatine was a Sith, most government bodies were under the control of Palpatine. There was a high chance that Senate or Security Council wouldn't declare anything against Palpatine.

  2. Being a Sith was not a crime. So far, Chancellor Palpatine was doing everything right in the interest of the Republic, officially. He was 100% fit for the duty.

The Jedi knew this fact. Taking down a Sith was their personal interest, not the interest of the Republic.

  • 2
    So Windu was murdering Palpatine for his selfish motives and Anakin was right to kill him for it? This hardly seems like Lucas' interpretation.
    – Oldcat
    May 14, 2015 at 22:34
  • 5
    Moral ambiguity is the heart of Star Wars. In some ways, the Jedi acted as vigilantes. They may have been right, but it can be easily twisted to look like something else.
    – Brandon
    Dec 31, 2015 at 17:50
  • @Oldcat Windu was indeed murdering Palpatine for his selfish motives, but still Anakin wasn't right to cut Windu's hand. He could have simply blocked the lightsaber.
    – user931
    Oct 9, 2017 at 21:52
  • 1
    I think not having Palpatine in charge is very much in the interests of the Republic.
    – Adamant
    Dec 23, 2019 at 7:19
  • @user931 It was 'selfish' to act against an enemy of the Republic and Jedi, who had every intention of destroying both from within, and nearly succeeded in doing so? May 25, 2021 at 23:26

Using the same evidence as @SSummer's answer I come to a different conclusion.

  1. Anakin informs Mace he thinks Palpatine is the Sith Lord.
  2. Mace mentions they must "move quickly if the Jedi Order is to survive."
  3. Time Passes
  4. Mace arrives and tries to arrest (then kill) Palpatine.

My suggestion is that during #3, Mace and/or the Jedi Council consult with the (ambiguously defined) Security Council and come to a majority decision to arrest or kill Palpatine. Then Mace proceeds to try to accomplish just that.

I don't have much evidence that this is the case but I have raised another question that could support or negate this argument: Who was in the Security Council?

If the Jedi were aware of Order 65, it is possible that they were able to place sympathetic senators/representatives in the Security Council for this specific purpose.

  • 1
    This is definitely not the case, as it shows Mace leaving immediately to arrest Palpatine
    – The Fallen
    Mar 6, 2014 at 0:25
  • 1
    Consultation via video chat?
    – Kapler
    Mar 6, 2014 at 2:20
  • 1
    I don't think it fits, because if Order 65 was implemented, presumably some clones would have been sent along with the Jedi to arrest the Chancellor; or at the very least, the clones would stop following his orders, including Order 66. I'm assuming that the clones were engineered to follow all legitimate orders, not only those issued by the Chancellor (or non-detrimental to him personally). Either way, if Order 65 was issued and yet the clones refused to arrest the Chancellor, the Jedi Council would realize that something was up, and warn the deployed Jedi to get away from their clone troops.
    – Wolfie Inu
    Sep 28, 2015 at 11:29
  • 1
    If the Jedi consulted with the Senate, and somehow got a majority vote to arrest and/or execute the Supreme Chancellor (which is a long shot given that Palpatine controlled almost everything), would the Senate really go along when the Supreme Chancellor shows up hours later, alive, but maimed, and declares himself Emperor? Somebody who they decided to kick out of office.
    – Brandon
    Dec 31, 2015 at 21:51

IF you read Orders 65 and 66... you'll notice a GLARING difference. One that no one would probably even think about... until after the fact. Order 65 requires the action of the Senate or of the Security Council, which is basically a group of high ranking Senators. Order 66 requires ONLY the authorization of the Supreme Chancellor. Palpatine. Without any other authorization.

That is HUGE!!! We already know from the first two movies that the Senate takes a very long time to decide ANYTHING. Further, most of the Senate, or at least enough, is under the control of Palpatine. The Security Council is never actually talked about in the movies or even books. But, if it's anything like what our own governments use... it probably requires either a unanimous decision or at least a two thirds majority vote. Again, I'm sure Palpatine was shrew enough to ensure that they'd never get a two thirds majority against him. So there's NO WAY that Order 65 would ever be issued.

That's why it's a group of Jedi, not clones, that go to arrest Palpatine. Windu says "In the name of the Galactic Senate..." But, in fact, the Jedi HAD NO SUCH AUTHORIZATION from the Senate. Which is why Palpatine utters the statement "So it's treason then." Before spanking four Jedi in lightsaber combat and then suckering Anakin into maiming Windu. So that he could charge them with treason and have audio to prove it. Then shut off the recording and spank some Jedi butt.

If you notice, though, when Yoda confronts Palpatine, he is flanked by two royal guards as well as the Vice Chancellor and Speaker. The Senate entry way is covered by clone troopers. So, he clearly has the Senate supporting him. He gives his speech to the Senate, who welcomes the death of liberty with thunderous applause. The Senate clearly is completely in agreement with the story that the Jedi tried to overthrow the Republic. Which is because that's pretty much true. The Jedi did try to overthrow the Republic. Making Order 66 totally justifiable as well as cementing that Order 65 would never happen.

So, there was never a chance that Order 65 would ever get approved.

  • The question already seems to concede this point. It assumes that the Jedi would have to "take control of the Senate" in order to get Order 65 approved.
    – Blackwood
    Mar 17, 2017 at 20:15

If we want to learn this answer we must learn and explore Sifo-Dyas's death with Darth Tyranus's (Count Dooku) life. We can add Kamino, Qui-Gon Jinn, founding of the Clone Troopers, Jango Fett etc. It's a loooong story. But I can say the Jedi don't know about this order. Because Sifo-Dyas found it and he didn't or can't say it (look at Star Wars Clone Wars Sifo-Dyas Scenes, Star Wars 2 Attack Of The Clones and http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Sifo-Dyas). But Darth Tyranus knew it (because he was a friend of Sifo-Dyas and then he killed him [Sifo-Dyas learned Darth Sidious and Darth Tyranus for some different sources]) then say it his Master Sidious. You can search it profoundly. Just I can say the Jedi don't know it or the Jedi learned it too late.


According to SW:TCW Season 6, not even the clones knew about Contingency Order 66. Only the Kaminoan doctors and Prime Minister, Dooku and Sidious, and presumably Sifo-Dyas knew about it at all. It would make sense, then, that all contingency orders were completely unknown to everyone else, including the clones that would have no choice but to carry out those orders. Order 65 wasn't an option for the Jedi Council because as far as they were concerned, it didn't exist. If it's true that the Contingency Orders were all approved by the Senate, then perhaps the giant omnibus bill the Senate approved was necessarily vague on the details. With Palpy presiding, he must have simply prevented anyone from asking any further questions. Whether that was through political schmoozing or direct use of the Dark Side, who knows.

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