On the outside the Jesuits don’t have any particular resemblance to traditional Jedi Knight robes. On the other hand, Luke Skywalker’s appearance in
Return of the Jedi is very similar to the “black robes” of the Jesuits.
Spiritually speaking the Jesuits have much in common with the Jedi. For example, St. Ignatius of Loyola teaches about the “Two Standards,” an exercise in which the soul pictures itself on a battlefield, seeing the standard (or flag) of Christ and the standard of Satan. The soul must make a choice between these two standards and choose which master he wants to serve. In essence, the soul must chose between the Light Side and the Dark Side.
Another point of similarity is St. Ignatius’ concept of being a “soldier of Christ.” The Jesuits were even called the “foot -soldiers of Christ,” for their strong desire to go out to all the world and win souls for Christ. They are true “spiritual warriors” going out to save the world from the influence of the Dark Side.
Referring to a now disbanded religious order, in the early drafts of the Star Wars story George Lucas wrote about a 16-year-old who enters the “Intersystems Academy to train as a potential Jedi-Templar.” Of note is the use of the word “Jedi-Templar,” in a subtle nod to the Catholic religious military order known as the “Knights Templar.” The word
Templar was soon abandoned, but Lucas did not drop the idea entirely, referring to them throughout his films as “Jedi Knights.”
Writer Terrance MacMullan
explains how the Knights Templar “were esteemed above other knights for their austerity, devotion, and moral purity. Like the Jedi, they practiced individual poverty within a military-monastic order that commanded great material resources.” Even the Jedi’s garb is reminiscent of the robes worn by the “Christian warrior-monks who took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.”
Unfortunately, rumors grew about secret rituals and heretical teachings being taught to new recruits of the Knights Templar, and King Philip IV of France took advantage of the situation to confiscate the order’s riches. It’s possible that this episode also influenced Lucas, as
it was pointed out, “Much like the Great Jedi Purge ordered by Chancellor Palpatine in ‘Revenge of the Sith,’ France’s King Philip IV annihilated the Knights Templar after arresting hundreds of them on October 13, 1307, and subsequently torturing and executing them for heresy.” Irish Monks
At the end of
Force Awakens and at the beginning of Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker inhabits what is believed to be the “First Jedi Temple.” His physical surroundings were filmed at a real-life monastery atop an island off the coast of Ireland. The monks of Ireland were very similar to Jedi Knights and shared parts of the Jedi’s spirituality.
They also thought of themselves as “spiritual warriors” who were on the frontline of a spiritual battle. However, instead of going out into the world like the Jesuits, they retreated from the world to battle the demons within (and without).
These Irish monks were also known to “pray without ceasing,” in similar ways to the warrior monk Chirrut Îmwe in
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Read more: On Star Wars and ‘The Last Monks of Skellig Michael’ Read more: The surprising spiritual connection between a desert in Jordan and Star Wars Read more: The Christian phrase behind the Star Wars greeting “May the Force be With You”