Obi-Wan Kenobi is slowly becoming a vital addition to the lore of George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise. Now, while most of the story simply fills in the holes between Episodes III and IV, the story has also introduced us to some new characters and new concepts. Among the latter, the enigmatic Protocol 23, featured in the third episode of the miniseries, certainly raised some eyebrows. In this article, we have decided to tell you everything abut the Protocol that is currently known.
Protocol 23 seems to be one of the many Imperial protocols as seen in the series. Not much is known about it, save for the fact that it is used to confirm the identity of a person in a way, although it remains unknown whether it is used for identification purposes in general, for the identification of all fugitives (regardless of type), or for the identification of Jedi specifically.
In this article, we are going to bring you all the information we have on Protocol 23. Although it is not much, we are going to do our best to provide you with the information we have. We are also going to answer some related question about similar directives and rules that have appeared throughout the history of the franchise.
What are protocols in Star Wars?
The exact definition of a protocol in the world of Star Wars does not exist. We know that it is a type of directive issued by the Galactic Empire and then, later, by the First Order. From what we know, protocols were not issued during the Republic. In general, a protocol is a set of rules, usually related to some sort of code of conduct in a specific situation. It is, as it seems, a norm of lesser importance within the legal hierarchy of the Empire.
Now, while a protocol is said to be a type of directive, we’re not sure what the difference is. Some similar norms are also called Imperial protocols, and all of them are part of a larger group of Imperial codes. Directives could also be closely related to protocols, as well as action directives and even possibly authority codes. Sadly, we don’t have too many available information to confirm all of this.
The next two sections are going to give you a general overview of the known protocols of the Empire, as well as information on the recently revealed Protocol 23.
How many protocols are there in Star Wars?
Now, the franchise has not been too kind to fans in term of naming when it comes to Imperial decrees, protocols, forms, and the like. There are many such norms, but we don’t really have an unified system, so we don’t really know how many there are. Because they all carry different names and there is no complete list, it is impossible to determine their correct number. What we can do is give you the number of the currently known norms, and it is X. They are:
|Directive 081-Omega||Allowed individuals of the highest authority to access and alter Imperial records.|
|Directive 197B-14||Any prisoners taken in occupied territory should be transported to the nearest Imperial Security Bureau outpost for interrogation.|
|Directive 417||Invoked in the event that any Imperial Governor was assassinated by forces (or suspected forces) of the Rebel Alliance, then that governor’s successor was required to immediately transmit a call for aid to any nearby Imperial forces. The Directive also required any forces receiving the signal to immediately converge on the site of the assassination, even if it meant abandoning their current operations.|
|Imperial action directive 121X-421c||Allowed law enforcement agencies of Imperial worlds to penalize people carrying contraband goods.|
|Imperial authority code 6690B1||Deactivated restraining bolts.|
|Imperial Code 16||A communications code used by Imperial droids, often indicating that they were in standby mode.|
|Imperial directive 10774b||Allowed law enforcement agencies of Imperial worlds to conduct immediate searches for contraband on suspect civilians. Guilty people were susceptible to be penalized according to Imperial action directive 121X-421c.|
|Imperial Protocol Alpha One||Used by Imperial officers who had the Alpha One security level which empowered them to supersede all other commands and subroutines. The protocol overrode all previous directives given to a droid and established a new priority protocol.|
|Imperial Protocol Z-207||Unknown|
|Protocol 13||Started the immediate evacuation of all personnel from an occupied planet.|
|Protocol 23||Identification purposes.|
What is Protocol 23 in Obi-Wan Kenobi?
Protocol 23 had not been introduced in the franchise prior to the Obi-Wan series. Namely, there are numerous protocols in the Empire and only a small number of these has been revealed so far. Protocol 23 was unknown before the third episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi and while we can – roughly – deduce its content, we’re still not sure what it is actually used for.
Now, we’ve seen the Stormtroopers activate Protocol 23 when Freck betrayed them and had them checked by the Imperial troopers. Two of them summoned Obi-Wan and Leia and then initiated Protocol 23. A Viper probe droid soon arrived and proceeded to scan Obi-Wan Kenobi in order to confirm his identity, which it did; the information was then sent to the Inquisitors, who knew where Obi-Wan was hiding.
Now, we’re aware that Protocol 23 is used for identification purposes, but we’re not really sure how it works. There are three possibilities. Since it was used by the Stormtroopers, it could simply be a general protocol for the identification of unknown persons, without any specific meaning as to the person’s status or anything else. Now, the Viper probe droid reacted with a red signal as it recognized Obi-Wan, so there’s also the possibility that it is used to identify fugitives and criminals. Finally, since the information has been sent to the Inquisitors directly, there is a possibility that Protocol 23 was used by the Inquisitors to confirm the identity of the remaining Jedi.
We don’t really know the answer, but be that as it may, Protocol 23 is definitely used for identification. We just don’t have any additional information on the topic.