Star Wars #13, by Charles Soule and Ramon Rosanas, hints the Empire actually stopped looking for the Jedi – but why would they do that?
This article contains spoilers for Star Wars #13.
Star Wars has just hinted that the Empire stopped looking for the Jedi. The Clone Wars were the ultimate Jedi Trap, culminating in Order 66. The vast majority of the galaxy’s Jedi were slaughtered in a single day, with only a handful surviving. The Emperor immediately tasked Darth Vader to hunt down these survivors and to look for any other Force sensitives to boot.
For decades, Darth Vader and his Inquisitors scoured the galaxy in search of Jedi, and they were terrifyingly successful. The Inquisitors alone were enough for most Order 66 survivors, who tended to be Padawans saved by the sacrifice of their masters, and in Star Wars Rebels they were able to match Kanan and Ezra. But, of course, their master was more fearsome still; when the Inquisitors got out of their depth they simply called on Darth Vader who was more than able to clear things up. Surprisingly, though, Star Wars #13 suggests the Empire eventually stopped looking for Jedi.
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Written by Charles Soule and featuring art by Ramon Rosanas, Star Wars #13 is set shortly after The Empire Strikes Back and sees Luke Skywalker head to the crime-ridden ecumenopolis Nar Shaddaa. It doesn’t take long for Luke to draw his lightsaber, and the reaction of the various crooks and bounty hunters in the area is fascinating. “Say,” one observes, “the Empire used to have a bounty out on Jedi… a big one. You ever hear anything about them canceling it?” The implication is that, as far as the galaxy’s citizens were concerned, the Empire’s hunt for Jedi wound down.
It’s a fascinating comment, but it does make a sort of sense; after all, Order 66 was tremendously successful in killing the vast majority of the Jedi, and the Empire spent two decades mopping up. They must have been so successful that they stopped getting any reports of Jedi activity, meaning the bounty faded into memory. This further explains why Darth Vader never replaced his Inquisitors when they were wiped out; he probably didn’t see the need for them anymore, because he thought there were so few Jedi left they were no longer needed.
The irony, of course, is that there were indeed a handful of Jedi survivors – but they had gone into such deep hiding that they only emerged when the time was right, when Luke Skywalker had come of age and they believed he would bring new hope to the galaxy. Unfortunately, it’s likely that old bounty was never actually lifted by the Empire, and Star Wars #13 ends with Luke Skywalker on a planet of criminals who intend to take the chance to get rich.
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