Star Wars has revealed that one Jedi survived Order 66 - and lived all the way to just before Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Clone Wars was the ultimate Jedi trap, designed to draw the Jedi into a long and grueling war that would see them compromise their morals time and again. By the end of the Clone Wars, the Jedi were reduced in number - due both to deaths and defections - and then Palpatine initiated his endgame.
The Jedi learned Palpatine's true identity far too late, and their attempt to neutralize the Sith Lord was unsuccessful. Palpatine portrayed their attack as an attempted coup, and activated Order 66, causing the Clone Troopers to turn on their Jedi commanders and slaughter them. The Jedi were all-but wiped out in moments, and the handful of survivors were pursued relentlessly by Darth Vader and his Inquisitors. By the time of Luke Skywalker, the Jedi had been forgotten in the mists of history, the Force itself viewed as nothing but a legend.
The latest Star Wars novel, Kevin Shinick's Force Collector, revealed that one Jedi not only survived Order 66 - he lived through the Dark Times too, and was still alive shortly before the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Naq Med was a Jedi Padawan who trained in the days before the Clone Wars, and he trained tirelessly to become one with the Force. He seems to have successfully become a Jedi Knight, but he began to doubt the wisdom of the Order, believing they were too involved in politics. Naq Med left the Order, abandoning his vows as a Jedi and instead choosing to marry and raise a family. When he heard of Order 66, he believed Palpatine's propaganda, and regretted ever being part of the Jedi. By this point Naq Med had children, and after an encounter with an Inquisitor he fled into the shadows to keep them safe. Naq Med settled on a remote, largely uninhabited planet called Pam'ba. There, he lived out his years in solitude, unaware of the great events that were consuming the galaxy.
This is the first time Star Wars readers have encountered a former Jedi Knight who actually bought into the Emperor's propaganda - and it's disturbingly believable. Naq Med clearly left the Jedi because he thought they'd lost their way, valuing political power rather than truly serving the Force. From his perspective, a power play was perfectly in keeping - and, frankly, he may have considered it to be inevitable.
It's interesting to note that Naq Med evaded Darth Vader's Inquisitors by following the same strategy as Yoda, who secreted himself on Dagobah. All this raises the question of whether or not there were other Jedi - or, indeed, former Jedi - who used the same approach. Some of them could even still be out there, meaning Luke Skywalker was never the last Jedi at all.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019