‘Star Wars’ is My Co-Pilot

May 25th marks the 31st anniversary of the movie megalith Star Wars. In three decades the franchise has spawned more than just massive revenues and legions of fans — it has also inspired a religion. Jediism, based on the teachings of the films, counts thousands of members worldwide.

Time spoke with Daniel Jones, co-founder of the first Church of Jediism in the United Kingdom, about The Force, a recent brush with the Dark Side and future plans for world domination.

[…]

The UK government recognized Jedi Knights as an official religion after nearly 400,000 people listed it on their 2001 census forms. How does it feel to be mainstream?

Our training is serious so we have to be taken seriously. With the 2001 Census, now everyone recognizes Jedi as a religion. If the government says to us ‘You can’t do that because you’re not a true religion,” we can say ‘Yes we are’ because there’s more Jedi than Scientologists in Britain.

[…]

Afraid of a Lucas lawsuit?

We can’t be called the Jedi Church because ‘Jedi’ is a trademarked word. So we’ve had to call ourselves the Church of Jediism. We just have to be careful because George Lucas likes to make money.

You don’t think he would be happy considering himself the new L. Ron Hubbard [founder of Scientology]?

[Laughs.] I don’t think anyone would like to be called the new L. Ron Hubbard. I don’t know if Lucas even knows about it, to be honest with you. I’m sure he will after this.

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