Emperor Palpatine wiped out the entire Jedi Order through Order 66, but now the Sith Lord enacts another protocol that is even more sinister.
- In Star Wars: Darth Vader #40, it is revealed that Emperor Palpatine has a new protocol called Protocol 23 that involves the destruction of two entire city districts in an instant explosion.
- The instant destruction of these city districts shows that Palpatine has the power to wipe out countless lives on Coruscant at any time, making Protocol 23 just as alarming and grim as Order 66.
- Palpatine’s authority to sanction Protocol 23 and his other plans highlights him as the ultimate schemer, with the ability to maintain his power by any means necessary, including rigging entire cities to explode.
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Warning! Spoilers for Star Wars: Darth Vader #40 ahead!The eradication of the entire Jedi Order in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was brought about by Emperor Palpatine and his sanction of Order 66, a contingency protocol that forced all clone troopers to execute their commanding Jedi. The numerical designation suggests that Palpatine had a great number of contingencies in place by the end of the Clone Wars. Now, a new story from Marvel Comics debuts one such plan that has even darker implications than the infamous protocol that wiped out thousands.
Before the events of Return of the Jedi, Palpatine is revealed to possess a set of protocols in place that are labeled by number, not unlike Order 66. In Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020) #40 by Greg Pak, Raffaele Ienco, Federico Blee, and VC’s Joe Caramagna, Palpatine authorizes the execution of a protocol in the midst of a technological virus and violent droid revolution on Coruscant.
Palpatine prevents the threat from growing by enacting Protocol 23, which turns out to be the instant destruction of two entire city districts. The targeted sectors are destroyed in a single explosion, meaning that Palpatine has the direct power to instantly wipe out countless lives on Coruscant at any time, which makes Protocol 23 an alarmingly quick and grim action akin to Order 66.
Related: Star Wars: Every Jedi Who Survived Order 66 (In Canon)
Protocol 23 Is Even Bigger Than Order 66
Given how widespread and destructive Order 66 was, it’s no surprise that yet another one of the Sith Lord’s contingency plans involves the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent citizens. Additionally, Palpatine specifically ordered the destruction of “Sectors 35 and 36.” The numerical label of the city sectors might even hint Palpatine planted bombs in many of Coruscant’s districts that are ready to go off immediately if any were to prove to be a threat to his Empire. The elimination of the Jedi was already one of the worst things Palpatine ever did, but rigging entire cities to explode is arguably more evil than Order 66.
Palpatine Is Still The Ultimate Schemer
Palpatine is likely the only one in the galaxy with the authority to sanction Protocol 23 or any of the other plans he has put in place in order to maintain his power. Although the Galactic Army of the Republic had 150 orders in the canon timeline, including Order 66, it is unknown if Protocol 23 was one such order or if it is one of Palpatine’s new personal commands that was secretly formed when the government transitioned into the Galactic Empire. Whether the Empire bombed the city or had explosives secretly planted beforehand, also remains ambiguous by the comic’s end.
It is, however, a possibility that Palpatine only has city-destroying fails in place for regions within proximity of his Imperial Palace. His other protocols also likely exist for the sole purposes of keeping him safe and preserving his power. Regardless of how far in advance Emperor Palpatine planned Protocol 23, it is clear that his machinations are still just as sinister and shrewd as they were even years after he had already conquered the Star Wars galaxy.
Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020) #40 is on sale now from Marvel Comics!