The Evolution of Religious Iconography in Star Wars

While Star Wars is many things to many people, it is, at its heart, a story about a religious revival. If you look at the films chronologically, the stodgy Jedi Order collapses in spectacular fashion over the course of the Prequel Trilogy, leaving a few scattered Force believers looking for purpose in Rogue One, before a trio of Jedi Knights help restore balance in the Original Trilogy. But the Jedi Order Reboot also collapses spectacularly, and, in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, we’re back down to a couple of Force users who might be about to bring the religion back a second time.

I’m fascinated by the way the series uses parallels to real-life religious iconography to tell its story, especially how, in Rogue One and The Last Jedi, the filmmakers used some very specific references to create a richer and more inclusive galaxy far, far ...