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I want you to go to the Jedi Temple. We will catch them off balance. Do what must be done, Lord Vader. Do not hesitate, show no mercy.

Darth Sidious, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Operation: Knightfall, which took place in 19 BBY, was one of the first conflicts of the Great Jedi Purge. After assisting in the death of Mace Windu and submitting to Dark Lord of the Sith and Supreme Chancellor of the Republic Palpatine's teachings, the newly anointed Darth Vader and the clone troopers of the 501st Legion stormed the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, initiating a massacre under the authority of Order 66, a galaxy-wide hunt of the Jedi by their former clone comrades. During this attack, most of the Jedi within the Temple were killed and the building itself was set ablaze. The 501st protected the Jedi library from Jedi who were trying to destroy the knowledge contained there in order to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Sith.

At the conclusion of the fighting, Vader set up a beacon that alerted Jedi across the galaxy—the ones that had not already fallen to the clones in their ranks—that the Clone Wars were over and ordered them back to the temple and into a trap. All of the Jedi who complied with the beacon's mandate were killed by squads of clones, some of whom were disguised as Jedi themselves. To prevent more deaths, two surviving Jedi Masters, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, infiltrated the Temple and altered the beacon, changing the message to warn any and all surviving Jedi to flee and go into hiding. After this battle, the bodies of the slain Jedi were publicly burned in a massive pyre in front of the Jedi Temple Public Entrance.

PreludeEdit

Windu: "In the name of the Galactic Senate of the Republic, you're under arrest, Chancellor."
Palpatine: "Are you threatening me, Master Jedi?"
Windu: "The Senate will decide your fate."
Palpatine: "I am the Senate."
Windu: "Not yet."
— Mace Windu and Palpatine[src]

In the Office of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine on Coruscant, during 19 BBY, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker interrupted a duel between Palpatine, actually Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith; and Jedi Master Mace Windu. He cut off Windu's sword arm to save the Sith Lord and pledged himself to Sidious's Sith teachings, being dubbed Darth Vader. Sidious then declared the Jedi Order a threat to the Galactic Republic. Darth Vader was assigned the task of marching through the halls of the Jedi Temple and eliminating this growing "threat."[1] The troopers of the 501st Legion were transferred to Coruscant from the war theater of Utapau to serve Lord Vader during the mission.[6]

At the same time, Sidious enacted Order 66, a mandate that was drilled into every Republic clone trooper across the galaxy since before the Clone Wars broke out. It commanded them to attack and kill their Jedi commanders in the name of the Republic.[7] Within minutes, many Jedi were killed by their formerly loyal subordinates,[1] though some survived the order, such as T'ra Saa;[8] A'Sharad Hett, who rebuffed the clones;[9] and Rahm Kota, who had no clones in his squads.[10]

The battleEdit

You have done well, my new apprentice. Your skills are unmatched by any Sith before you. Now, Lord Vader, go and bring peace to the Empire.

Emperor Palpatine to Darth Vader, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Marching silently to the gates of the Temple with a legion of elite clones, Darth Vader was met by Gate Master Jurokk, who asked Vader about Master Windu's safety. Ignoring the question, Vader asked him about the whereabouts of Jedi Master Shaak Ti, as she was the current leader and commander of the Temple. The gate master replied that she was in the Temple meditating. Noticing the mass of troopers just outside the gate, he once again asked Vader if something was wrong. Vader responded by igniting his lightsaber into Jurokk's head.[5]

As the troopers dispersed throughout the Temple's vaulted halls, Vader began to eliminate the Jedi within. He took a small group of clones to capture the Jedi Communication Center via the Jedi Archives. Upon entering the Temple's library with the clones, he ordered Jocasta Nu, the Chief librarian of the Archives, to grant him access to the communication room.[4] Nu, already sensing something suspicious, had earlier dispatched her Padawan, Jin-Lo Rayce, to the lower levels of Coruscant with detailed maps of the planet's underbelly as a means of keeping him alive.[11] When she ignited her blue lightsaber to confront the Sith, Vader used the Force to impale her with his own saber.[4]

Knightfall1

The 501st Legion marches on the Jedi Temple.

Operation: KnightfallEdit

What I remember about the rise of the Empire is… is how quiet it was. During the waning hours of the Clone Wars, the 501st Legion was discreetly transferred back to Coruscant. It was a silent trip. We all knew what was about to happen, what we were about to do. Did we have any doubts? Any private traitorous thoughts? Perhaps, but no one said a word. Not on the flight back to Coruscant, not when Order 66 came down, and not when we marched into the Jedi Temple. Not a word.

Extract from the Journal of the 501st, Star Wars: Battlefront II

The clones charged into the temple foyer and met heavy resistance from Jedi and Temple Security Force personnel. Their first objective was to clear the Jedi High Council chamber of resistance. After that succeeded, they moved to the library, where the Jedi were attempting to destroy holobooks to prevent the 501st troopers from stealing any confidential Jedi information or Sith secrets. However, the troopers managed to preserve a few bookcases from destruction by the Jedi long enough for a download of their contents to take place.[6] In the ensuing carnage, one of the Jedi activated a ray shield system and hid in a shield protected room. Vader disabled the shield system and killed the Jedi before proceeding into one of the surrounding halls. As he moved into the hall, Jedi snipers ambushed the clone attackers. Vader, at a clone's advice, toppled a hulking statue, crushing many of the Jedi. Using a piece to break down the door into a study hall, the group proceeded to kill many students, snipers, and Jedi brutes. After battling his way across an outdoor catwalk, the raid continued into the hangar bay, where Vader shot down fleeing Jedi Interceptors with an anti-aircraft gun erected by the clones.[4]

When Darth Vader reached the top of the High Council quarter, he moved to the Communication Center and activated a beacon that notified all Jedi to return to the Jedi Temple—the war was over. A clone private then informed him that a Jedi, later identified as Cin Drallig, had managed to penetrate upper-level defenses. Vader told him that he would deal with Drallig and ordered the nearby clone assassins to guard the beacon with their lives.[4]

Hunting the masters and childrenEdit

CinDrallig

Darth Vader duels with Cin Drallig while strangling Bene.

Before tracking down Drallig, Vader took the ancient elevator in the High Council Tower to the High Council Chamber, and slaughtered a group of younglings upon his entrance when they mistook him for the Jedi Knight he had once been. Vader then made his way through the First Knowledge quarter to one of the many briefing rooms, where Drallig's former apprentice, Serra Keto, confronted Vader and engaged him in a duel. Jumping on a balcony that looked over a training veranda in the Tower of First Knowledge, Darth Vader cut down a pillar, and used it to crush her. Drallig, sensing Keto's death, hoped to avenge her in a duel with the Sith Lord.[4]

As the remaining Jedi Masters realized that the Temple was lost, they began to send Knights and Padawans out through the Temple Precinct. Vader made his way to the base of the Temple where he found Drallig guarding a group of fleeing younglings in the Room of a Thousand Fountains. After murdering two of Drallig's trainees, Bene[12] and Whie Malreaux, the Sith slashed Drallig in the shoulder, leaving him to die. The squad of clones accompanying Vader then blasted at the other Padawans Drallig was protecting, killing most of them.[5] A Zabrak Jedi had also been assigned to protect a group of younglings. He was caught by Vader and, after a brief duel, struck down. With his last words he told Vader that this betrayal would hurt the new Sith Lord the most.[13]

As the clones continued the attack, Darth Vader discovered Shaak Ti within her chambers. After dueling and disorienting the Sith Lord, she managed to lead a band of Padawans and their Masters out of the Temple, and later secured a small number of her charges passage through the Undercity.[10] Along with Master Ti, Council Member Even Piell fled into the depths of Coruscant.[14] Leader of the Special Operations Brigade, Arligan Zey had gone to the Temple upon hearing of General Grievous' death, only to be caught in the battle within the halls of his sanctuary. He made it out of the Temple and found his way back to his offices in Arca Barracks, where he was executed by his aide, the Advanced Recon Commando Captain Maze.[2] Among the other survivors were Jedi Kazdan Paratus, who ran away in fear;[10] Jax Pavan, a Jedi Knight;[14] and the Last Curator of Records.[15]

The raid continuesEdit

I saw thousands of troops attack the Jedi Temple. That's why I went looking for Yoda.

Bail Organa, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Jedi Purge

Members of the 501st Legion wipe out the Jedi in the Jedi Temple.

Meanwhile, the 501st Legion secured all four Jedi Council chambers and engaged the Temple Security Force in the main hall. Darth Vader then returned from his duel with Cin Drallig, and collected several holocrons containing Jedi and Sith information while eliminating most of the remaining Temple Security guards and Jedi Knights.[6]

However, three Jedi Masters, who had taken something of a military command over the remaining Jedi, led the last of the Jedi Knights into the main hall in an attempt to repel the 501st one last time. The Jedi came out in a sudden, tremendous charge against the clones, although the three were eventually killed by the insurgents.[6]

As the Temple burned, Bail Organa, Senator from Alderaan and Jedi sympathizer, landed on the landing platform of one of the Council Tower hangars to investigate the fire. After being turned away by the clones guarding the hangar, the retreating Senator witnessed the execution of Zett Jukassa, a young Padawan. The clones had orders to leave no witnesses and Organa narrowly escaped their blaster fire with his life.[5]

AftermathEdit

As the clones secured the Temple, they collected the bodies of fallen clones and Jedi. Checking off their dead against barracks rosters, and the fallen Jedi against Archive records, they began to burn the bodies on the steps of the public entrance of the Temple.[16]

The Jedi missionEdit

Flaming Temple

The Jedi Temple in flames.

Have we had any contact from the Temple?"
"
Received a coded retreat message, we have."
"
It requests all Jedi to return to the Temple. It says the war is over."
"
Well, then we must go back. If there are any stragglers, they will fall into the trap and be killed.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Bail Organa, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Bail Organa intercepted a transmission while housing two survivors of Order 66. The message told all Jedi that the war was over, and they were allowed to return to the Jedi Temple. Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, two surviving Masters, knew it was a trap and left for the Temple to modify and reprogram the transmission so as to inform all Jedi to stay away.[1]

An emergency congressional session was being held, reducing security personnel numbers at the Temple, when Kenobi and Yoda entered the Temple through a downlevel loading dock, encountering Decoy Squad Five, a group of clone troopers using Jedi robes to disguise their appearance. The two got close to the squad by dressing up as an old man, Obi-Wan, trying to turn in a Jedi baby, Yoda, and preceded to kill the group when they would not allow them into the temple peacefully.[5] Upon entering the temple, they were ambushed by many clones. They swarmed Kenobi, and a squad of clone assassins attacked Yoda but both forces were rebuffed by the Jedi Masters. A clone heavy trooper crept up behind Kenobi, ready to kill him, but Yoda appeared and lifted him off the ground with the Force. In a panic, the trooper fired his rockets up at the roof, which came crashing down. The two Jedi moved the debris using the Force and headed to the beacon room. There, Kenobi was forced to eliminate the clone assassins that guarded it. Yoda also noticed that the dead younglings had been killed by lightsabers, not blasters.[4]

After reprogramming the beacon to order all Jedi to flee, Kenobi decided he needed to see who was behind the attack. He could only watch in horror as he viewed a hologram of Skywalker slaughtering his fellow Jedi without mercy or hesitation. Overwhelmed with emotion, Kenobi could not watch anymore and pleaded with Yoda to let him kill the Emperor, as he felt that he could not bring himself to kill Skywalker, who was like a brother to him. Yoda told Kenobi that he was not experienced enough to face Palpatine. He also explained that Skywalker was gone and Darth Vader had risen in his place. Knowing this to be true, Kenobi knew what he had to do—kill Darth Vader.[1]

File:Pg3 saber bg.jpg

Yoda headed to the Senate to confront Palpatine, while Obi-Wan traveled to the apartment of Padmé Amidala, Skywalker's closest friend, and unbeknownst to Kenobi, also Skywalker's secret wife, to ask her if she had seen or knew where Skywalker was. Amidala was distressed by the fires at the Jedi Temple and asked Kenobi what had happened. He informed her that Skywalker had fallen to the dark side and killed Jedi at the temple. Despite what Kenobi said about him, Amidala refused to tell him Skywalker's location, and as the Jedi Master prepared to leave the apartment, he figured out that the father of her unborn child was Skywalker, and left her with an apology for what he had to do. After Kenobi left, Amidala boarded her ship and flew to Mustafar to confront her husband, unaware that Kenobi had stowed away. Though Kenobi did not want to, he knew he had to face Darth Vader in order to bring the Sith threat to an end. The two met on the planet after she landed. Vader, believing Padmé had betrayed him, Force Choked her as Kenobi revealed himself to them. They proceeded to duel all throughout the Droid Factory on the planet. They eventually worked their way to the edge of a lava river some distance away before Vader jumped at Kenobi who proceeded to sever all the former's organic limbs. Vader slid closer to the lava and combusted; Kenobi simply grabbed the Sith Lord's lightsaber and walked away, leaving him with his dissappointments. Vader bathed himself in the dark side to stay alive and used his remaining mechanical hand to crawl up the slope. After a while, Vader was saved by Sidious, who took him to the Emperor Palpatine Surgical Reconstruction Center on Coruscant where the maimed man was fitted with a portable life supported armor to keep him alive.[1]

Public and non-clone military responseEdit

As the fires burned through the night, the citizens of Galactic City could only watch in shock as the symbol of the Jedi was engulfed in flames. Skylanes were shut down around the Temple Precinct, with all traffic being directed away from the district. As Order 66 circulated to non-clone military forces, such as the Coruscant Security Force officers, shock and awe was felt by those who had known Jedi over their careers on Coruscant. Their standing order to help Jedi in any way possible, an objective the organization had held since its founding, was rescinded, and they were ordered to alert the 501st upon observing a Jedi. Coruscant Rescue Ops were forbidden from extinguishing the fires engulfing the Temple, and any ship attempting to approach the Temple was assumed to be doing so with treasonous intent. Names of fleeing Jedi were sent out on all military channels; Tru Veld was just one of several major threats perceived during the fight at the Temple and he was killed for it.[2]

Checkpoints were set up on the large bridges that crossed the chasms of the city, and lead to major spaceports. Clones and CSF officers patrolled nearby areas attempting to root out the fleeing Jedi. A group of Padawans were discovered trying to escape the Temple via the Shinarcan Bridge Extension and upon discovery they attempted to fight their way free, hoping to make it to Chancellor Palpatine Spaceport in order to get off world. Jedi Etain Tur-Mukan happened to be passing through at the same moment and, unaware that the clones were killing Jedi, sacrificed her life in order to protect one of the attacking clones. The Jedi who slew Tur-Mukan leapt off the bridge, fleeing into the city below. Several of the other Jedi died, though some did escape.[2]

Jedi casualtiesEdit

As the Temple was secured, the clones began to count the dead. Piling Jedi bodies and checking them off from the Archives rosters, the clones burned the majority of the bodies on the steps of the public entrance. Among the dead were Jedi Master Cin Drallig,[4] killed by Lord Vader himself, along with Drallig's apprentices Padawan Bene,[12] Padawan Whie Malreaux[12] and Jedi Knight Serra Keto.[4] Vader also personally executed Jedi librarian Jocasta Nu,[4] Jedi Master and Gate Master Jurokk,[5] Younglings Sors Bandeam, Shia Letap, Jeswi Ele and rest of their clan.[1][17] Padawan Zett Jukassa[1] and Jedi Knights Olana Chion[18] and Yoland Fee were all killed by clone troopers. Jedi Master Ali-Alann was also killed.[19] In addition to the Jedi casualties, the entire security force of Jedi Brutes and Jedi snipers were killed,[4] as well as most of the Temple Security Force and Temple Caretakers.[6]

Burning of the Temple

The burnt shell of the Temple.

LegacyEdit

With the fall of Coruscant and the elimination of the traitorous Jedi, Palpatine's rise to power was complete.

501st trooper, after the conflict., Star Wars: Battlefront II

Following the battle, every official recording of the battle was erased. Malorum, an Imperial Inquisitor, saw one of these tapes before its deletion, and watched Anakin Skywalker killing Jedi before kneeling to Darth Sidious and being called "Darth Vader." After Vader publicly became Sidious's enforcer, Malorum realized that Skywalker and Vader were the same man.[20]

Several decades later, in 36 ABY, it was revealed that R2-D2, Anakin Skywalker's personal astromech droid, had stolen and downloaded a recording of Operation: Knightfall at some point. Luke Skywalker, Artoo's current owner and the son of Anakin, wanted to know if Artoo had any other holograms of his parents; Artoo had already shown him one of his mother, Amidala, that had been recorded a short while before her death. At first Artoo dodged the request and attempted to leave the room, but at the urging of protocol droid C-3PO, Artoo's counterpart, he showed the clip to Skywalker. His brief clip was of Anakin Skywalker and a large group of clone troopers killing Cin Drallig and his Padawan charges. Seeing these images upset the group, especially Luke who had to go into a separate room and center himself afterward.[21]

During 40 ABY, in the rebuilt Jedi Temple, Jacen Solo flow-walked back to the time of the raid on the Temple to understand the motive for the actions of Anakin Skywalker, his grandfather, in order to ensure that his own reasons for joining the Sith were not selfish. He felt a connection with his grandfather after sensing his emotions mirrored Skywalker's when the Dark Lady of the Sith Lumiya told him his destiny was to be a Sith. Another connection he sensed, bringing him to tears, was that they both were making their decisions for the women they loved, Skywalker for Amidala and Jacen for Tenel Ka. He saw Skywalker murder many Jedi, including Sors Bandeam and the Bear Clan, but was interrupted by a clone trooper who raised his blaster rifle toward the time traveler and Solo was forced to return to his own time. Despite the connection he felt to his grandfather, Solo determined that he had a much better reason for turning to the dark side than Skywalker.[22]

Behind the scenesEdit

File:Clone in Jedi disguise.jpg

The eradication of the Jedi Order and the turning of Anakin Skywalker was first indirectly mentioned in the original trilogy and later in The Courtship of Princess Leia though the circumstances of this event were not. It was not until 2005, with the release of LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game, a non-canon game that came out a month before the theatrical release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, that a depiction of the event was seen. Though non-canon, it was based on the scene in Revenge of the Sith which showed the main protagonist of the prequel trilogy, Anakin Skywalker, and his march upon the Jedi Temple with hundreds of clone troopers in file behind him. The circumstances surrounding the event were further explored in Star Wars: Battlefront II and the Episode III video game which made the massacre playable, and revealed some of the secondary objectives of the transforming Republic such as the acquisition of data from the Jedi library. The Episode III novel, however, barely touches this event, skipping to Bail Organa after Vader killed Jurokk.

In Star Wars: Battlefront II, during the story mission "Operation: Knightfall," Darth Vader is playable, under the name Anakin Skywalker, and wears a cloak over his Jedi robes with the hood up as he did during Episode III. During the Instant Action and Conquest modes of the game, he is seen only wearing his robes.

Cut content Edit

Originally, Obi-Wan and Yoda were to be greeted by a squad of clone troopers disguised as Jedi in the Episode III movie. A promotional image of Temuera Morrison as one of these clones is in the special features of Episode III's second disk suggesting that they were considered for the movie.[23] These clones were included, not in the story, as playable characters in LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game and in the compiliation game LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga. The group appeared in the Episode III novel as Decoy Squad Five where they were aproached by Kenobi, disguised as a hunchbacked old man, who tried to pass off Yoda as a Jedi baby so that they could get close enough to reason with the clones. When negotiations quickly failed, the clones attacked, all members of the squad were dead within six seconds. This group of clones' appearance in the novel does make them canon, however.

AppearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

es:Operación: Caída del Caballero

fi:Operaatio: Knightfall

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