From what I've found, there were something like 150 contingency orders to help hide the Palpatine's Order 66 and what it was meant to do.

The first time I saw Revenge of the Sith, I thought he gave the order "666", and I thought, cute, the devil, but then I learned it was actually "66". Does it mean anything?

Is it still referencing the devil? Is it just a number pulled from a hat? In short, what is the significance of the number in Palpatine's infamous line:

Execute Order 66

Update: George Lucas also did "American Graffiti" which references Route 66, but I don't how to connect that with killing Jedi. Jedi road kill?

  • 5
    Lars, Route 66 is a fairly well-known road ("The mother road") running from Chicago to Los Angeles. Prior to the advent of the Interstates, it was a primary thoroughfare for a significant portion of the country's population. It has significant cultural meaning in the US, and there are many movies about it.
    – Jeff
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 3:17
  • 1
    @Jeff - and an iconic song as well :) Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 4:40
  • 2
    Using numerology, 6 + 6 = 12 , which is 1 + 2 = 3, indicating the number of Episodes in the Original Trilogy and Prequel Trilogy. Numerologically, a negative trait of the number 3 include "a spectacular rise and fall".
    – PhasedOut
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 18:48
  • Are you asking about why Palpatine chose the number in-universe or why Lucas chose it out-of-universe? Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 5:33

5 Answers 5


It's just a random number. There's no real significance to the number 66 in Jedi or Sith lore, which I think was the point.

If someone were to look at a list of pre-specified orders and directives, it's VERY likely they'd begin skimming or walk away before Order 66 (especially if the first sixty were very mundane).

Random spot checks of any list of these would be less likely to turn it up if the number weren't important to the Jedi or their foes.

You can read more about Order 66 here.

  • You (LarsTech) might also want to read up on the other Contingency Orders
    – dkuntz2
    Commented Oct 13, 2011 at 1:10
  • 8
    That's got to be the worst-protected secret evil plan ever, if it just relies on everyone being too lazy to check the smallprint of the cloned supersoldier army...
    – evilsoup
    Commented Sep 23, 2013 at 23:25
  • 1
    But that's part of the brilliance, honestly. Maybe Order 43 was "The Chancellor has seized power without a Senate Vote, capture or kill the chancellor and return power to the Senate." and Order 856 was "The Wookies have a bad case of fleas, prioritize delivery of flea powder on all transports to Kashyyk" If there were other orders which covered potentially-disastrous yet low-probability cases, it would have easily gone unnoticed.
    – Jeff
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 13:25
  • 7
    If only one Jeid had tried 'ctrl+f' and searched for betray...
    – Daft
    Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 14:15
  • 3
    @Jeff Order 65 was the order for the Chancellor's betrayal
    – bren
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 19:10

During World War II FDR issued the infamous Executive Order 9066, which lead to American citizens of Japanese descent rounded up and interned in concentration camps on US soil for many years.

Lucas has many references to WWII in Star Wars (and his other films), so he would most likely be very aware of this notorious Executive Order. It seems possible that this piece of US history, with its obvious parallels of government betrayal against its citizens, would be a point of reference.

You can read more about it here: https://anchoreditions.com/blog/dorothea-lange-censored-photographs

enter image description here

  • 2
    I do agree that George Lucas took inspiration from WWII for his movies. So this adds to the inspiration Commented Aug 7, 2015 at 17:34
  • After George Lucas compared the Rebels to the Viet Cong and the Empire to America, I feel much more confident that this is the case. To my knowledge Lucas has still not confirmed or denied that this (66 refs 9066) but it seems much more likely now. amc.com/blogs/… Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 16:40

I believe that Order 66 was a reference to the Standing Order 66 in the U.K.

Both introduced a change in government that centralized power after a conflict to "protect the kingdom/Republic)" from an inside threat. The British version was purely financial in nature. Order 66 in Star Wars canon was a bit more drastic, eliminating the threat of the Jedi altogether.

  • 4
    This is a great theory but do,you have any evidence? Commented Apr 21, 2012 at 16:53
  • 1
    No, it's pure speculation, but it's based on the fact that so much of Star Wars is based on real historical events, names, ideas. Jedi knights (complete with swords, honorable code), Stormtroopers (Nazi troops), the Empire, and many other examples. I just find it highly unlikely that it was purely arbitrary. I'll take any downvotes that come from an unsupported answer, but I'm looking for a quote or anything that gives a better answer than that it was purely arbitrary. Commented Apr 22, 2012 at 5:31
  • This seems like total guesswork.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 9, 2021 at 19:54

I would also like to throw in Missouri Executive Order 44 as a possible inspiration for Order 66. This was issued in 1838 by governor Boggs, and is commonly referred to as the "Mormon Execution Order" as it basically made it legal for people to kill and/or cause harm to those who followed the Mormon Church and its teachings. Which sounds similar to the events brought about by 66. Two religious groups ordered by the government to be threats and which justifies their eradication and/or removal from society through a same-double-digit Executive Order.

"...the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description"

I believe this, combined with the a fore mentioned possibilities (Standing Order 66, Route 66, etc.) gives us a good look at why he choose Order 66, but this is just personal speculation.


Order 66 was also known as the Commando Order in the Nazi army during WWII, in which Nazi troops were ordered to kill Allied POWs- even in uniform, which was a war crime.


  • Welcome to SFF:SE. We recommend having a look at the tour, which contains helpful hints for using the site. Your answer could be improved via a link to a source supporting your information.
    – Politank-Z
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 5:22
  • 1
    If you can provide evidence that that's what the creator(s) intended, then this answer would be more poignant.
    – Möoz
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 5:41
  • 1
    There's no mention of this on Wikipedia, though that's not damning in and of itself.
    – tonysdg
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 13:36

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.