© 2015 Disney
© 2015 Disney
In the last years of the Republic, the Jedi Temple looked out over the Coruscant skyline as it had for millennia, and in the lofty council chamber Jedi Masters gathered to ponder events in the galaxy and seek to determine the will of the Force. But while the Jedi Order appeared healthy, it was in fact adrift, isolated from the galaxy’s citizens and heedless of strange currents in the Force.
At the climax of the Separatist crisis, the Jedi took charge of the Kaminoans’ clone army, abandoning their traditional role as negotiators and peacekeepers to serve the Republic as generals. The Order’s role in the Clone Wars would be directed from the Jedi Temple, but the wartime duties left many Jedi deeply uneasy. Yoda himself warned that the dark side was at work, clouding the Jedi’s ability to understand recent events. Dangerous things had been set in motion, and no one knew what lay ahead.
At the end of the Clone Wars, the Order was in peril, weakened by the long war and hamstrung by Republic politics and the machinations of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. The Jedi Council knew the Sith were behind the creation of the clone army and manipulating the war, but despite agonized debates in the Jedi Temple, the architect of this plot could not be located.
Anakin Skywalker discovered the terrible truth: The Sith Lord was Palpatine himself, the puppeteer behind both sides of a war engineered to weaken the Jedi and transform the Republic into a massive industrial and military war machine under his control. But in discovering Palpatine’s secret, Anakin also fell prey to his lures. He became the Sith apprentice Darth Vader and marched on the Jedi Temple as part of Order 66. The massacre in the Temple left the Jedi Order all but extinct, reduced to a handful of fugitives and hermits.
After the rise of the Empire, Palpatine celebrated his triumph by establishing his personal residence in the old Jedi Council Chamber. The Jedi Temple had become the Imperial Palace, center of power for the Sith Lord who had destroyed the Order and erased its millennia of traditions.