Order 66 may have brought the Jedi down, but they certainly weren’t out. The concept of a Jedi survivor is such a strong image that they even named a video game after it. Cal Kestis, Ahsoka Tano, Kanan Jarrus, Reva, Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Nari, Gungi... so many Jedi survived the Great Jedi Purge that Palpatine’s villainous plan is starting to look a little inept. And, in the age of the Mando-verse, where TV stories focus on the aftermath of the Empire’s collapse, more and more Jedi keep popping up.
With yet another Jedi being added to the roster in the upcoming Disney+ series Ahsoka, here’s what George Lucas had to say about all these survivors, and how it exposes a big plot hole in The Mandalorian.
Empire confirmed that the late Ray Stevenson will play former Jedi Baylon Skoll in Ahsoka, which got fans talking about just how many Jedi survived Order 66. It seems unlikely Luke would consider the Jedi a forgotten legend when there were a whole bunch of former Jedi kicking around the galaxy.
Lucasfilm consultant and lore keeper Pablo Hidalgo weighed in on Twitter, unearthing a quote from an interview with George Lucas that was preserved in the monumental Star Wars Archives. It’s the kernel of an idea Lucas had for a follow-up to the original trilogy that would follow Luke as he rebuilt the Jedi, and it gives us a good sense of precisely how many Jedi Lucas pictured being out there.
“It starts out a few years after Return of the Jedi and we establish pretty quickly that there's this underworld, there are these offshoot stormtroopers who started their own planets, and that Luke is trying to restart the Jedi. He puts the word out, so out of 100,000 Jedi, maybe 50 or 100 are left. The Jedi have to grow again from scratch, so Luke has to find two- and three-year-olds, and train them.”
100,000 is a lot of Jedi, far more than the prequel trilogy implied the existence of. With those numbers, 50 to 100 survivors makes sense, and keeps Order 66 feeling like the ruthless execution it was meant to be. But then where was everyone when Grogu put out his beacon on Tython in The Mandalorian Season 2? Even if only, say, 10% of the surviving Jedi heard his call for help, that’s still five Jedi who heard from the little guy and implicitly told him to take a hike.
Maybe some were only former Jedi, like Ahsoka and Baylon. But there must have been some practicing Force users out there, like Luke. Did everyone just hole up in a cave and hide their powers, like Obi-wan? How many card-carrying Jedi are still in practice years after the original trilogy? Ahsoka may answer some of these questions, but right now it feels like it’s just raising many, many more. And seriously, who could leave poor little Baby Yoda hanging?
Ahsoka premieres on Disney+ on August 23, 2023.