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Jedi Knights Vs. Knights Templar

July the 2nd sees the triumphant return of Knightfall to the HISTORY. In the second season of the critically acclaimed drama, the Templars face their biggest challenge yet as the armies of King Philip IV of France prepare to take down the order once and for all. Tom Cullen returns as the disgraced Templar knight Landry du Lauzon, alongside series regulars Ed Stoppard as King Philip IV of France, Pádraic Delaney as Gawain, Simon Merrells as Tancrede, Julian Ovendon as William DeNogaret and Downton Abbey’s Jim Carter as Pope Boniface VIII.

Mark Hamill joins the cast for the second season, playing the battle-hardened crusader Talus; a man who is tasked with training the next generation of ‘God’s Executioners’. Joining Mark in the second season of Knighfall are Genevieve Gaunt as King Philip’s scheming daughter, Princess Isabella, Tom Forbes as Philp’s violent and unpredictable son, Prince Louis and Clementine Nicholson as Louis’ devoted wife Margaret, Princess of Burgundy.

Mark Hamill is, of course, famous around the world for playing the young hero Luke Skywalker in George Lucas’ smash hit 1977 sci-fi spectacular, Star Wars. In the movie, Luke Skywalker is mentored by Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by the legendary stage and screen actor, Sir Alec Guinness. Forty-two years later, the tables have turned and now the learner has become the master as Hamill takes on the role of a grizzled old soldier mentoring the next generation of Templar knights in the second season of the smash hit show.

As we pointed out in our article about the Knights Templar and pop culture last year, there are striking similarities between the fictional Jedis of Star Wars and the legendary Knights Templar. We’ve dug through the history books and the Star Wars canon to bring you seven striking similarities between the Jedis and Templars.

They both took oaths of chastity and poverty

The Templars were an order of warrior monks who took vows of poverty and chastity when they entered the organization. They lived their lives by a strict code, adhering to rules such as eating their meals in silence, only eating meat three times a week and having no contact with women whatsoever. For a Templar knight, falling in love was strictly forbidden.

Similarly, the Jedis also eschewed love and wealth when they joined the Jedi order. They lived a simple life, donning plain robes and devoting themselves to promoting peace throughout the Galaxy. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out too well in the end when Anakin Skywalker broke the Jedi code by secretly marrying Padme in Attack of the Clones and eventually turning to the Dark Side in Revenge of the Sith.

They swore to protect the innocent

The Templars were founded in 1119 by Hugues de Payens primarily to protect the innocent pilgrims who flocked to the Holy Land after it came under Christian control at the end of the 11th Century. Before the time of the Templars, pilgrims making their way to the area’s holiest sites were often robbed and murdered. With the powerful Templars around to protect them, pilgrims could finally make their way across the Holy Land in peace and safety.

The Jedis too were sworn to protect the innocent. By the time of the first Star Wars prequel movie, The Phantom Menace, the Jedis had gone from being primarily soldiers to galactic peace-keepers, as was the case with Qui Gon Jinn and his padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi when they were sent to the planet Naboo to settle a dispute between the people of Naboo and the Trade Federation.

They were mighty warriors

The Templars quickly gained a reputation as some of the most highly skilled and fiercest warriors in all of Christendom. With their trademark white mantles emblazoned with the red cross of St. George, they were a feared sight on the battlefield. Many Templar knights lost their lives defending the Holy Land, oftentimes because they were the first into the fray.

The Templars’ unshakeable faith in their mission often led to their deaths, as they were usually first into battle regardless of the dangers.

Like their Templar counterparts, the Jedis were the most fearsome warriors in the Galaxy. With their trademark monkish robes and their Kyber Crystal-powered lightsabers, the Jedis were not just peacekeepers, but also skilled soldiers who would fearlessly charge into battle against seemingly insurmountable odds. This was most notably seen in Attack of the Clones during the Battle of Geonosis.

There Were Heroes And Villains

The Templars weren’t all good guys. While the likes of Grand Master Jacques de Molay, who was burned at the stake after recanting his confession obtained under torture, and Guillaume de Beaujeau, who valiantly fought and died during the siege of Acre in 1291, the order also included its fair share of villains. There was Roger de Flor, for example – a Templar sergeant who was expelled from the order for extorting money from ship passengers fleeing the siege of Acre and went on to become a notorious pirate. And then there was the villainous rogue Templar Esquin de Floyran who betrayed the order after being punished by Jacques de Molay, accusing them of the crimes that would eventually bring the order down.

The Jedis also held bad apples within their ranks. Most famous of all was Anakin Skywalker. A promising young Jedi, Anakin fell to the Dark Side during the events of Revenge of the Sith, slaughtering innocent children in the Jedi Temple and, as Darth Vader, hunting down and killing the remaining Jedi. The main villain of the Star Wars saga, Vader is ultimately redeemed in Return of the Jedi. The same could not be said for the duplicitous Esquin de Floyran!

They Were Both Guided By An Unseen Hand

The Templars may have been fierce warriors, but they were first and foremost a monastic order. Their Christian faith was what drove them, meaning their mission to protect the pilgrims of the Holy Land and fight those who attempted to wrestle it from Christian control was heaven sent. The Templars’ unshakeable faith in their mission often led to their deaths, as they were usually first into battle regardless of the dangers.

As the Templars were guided by their faith in God, so the Jedis were guided by their faith in the mystical ‘Force’. The Force is described by Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars movie as “an energy field created by all living things”, and it is the closest thing to a religion the Star Wars universe possesses. The Jedis are able to manipulate the Force, bending it to their will to help them achieve their goals.

Their Temples Were Built On Hidden Treasures

The Templars were handed the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem in 1120. The area the mosque is built on is known as Temple Mount, and it was once home to the Temple of Solomon. The Templars are said to have excavated Temple Mount and, if rumours are to be believed, they found several powerful holy artefacts such as the Holy Grail, the Spear of Destiny and the location of the Ark of the Covenant.

The Jedi Temple on the capital planet Coruscant is also built over an ancient and powerful artefact. Before the temple was built, a Sith shrine stood on the spot. The Jedis built the temple over the shrine to contain its dark energy. The fact the temple was later converted to Emperor Palpatine’s Imperial Palace after the Great Jedi Purge depicted in Revenge of the Sith suggests the shrine’s containment wasn’t entirely successful.

Both orders were brutally oppressed

The Templars were brought to heel in 1307 after King Philip IV of France saw the opportunity to get his hands on the Templar’s vast wealth and clear his debts in one fell swoop. High ranking members of the order were captured, brutally tortured and burned at the stake. Pope Clement V officially disbanded the Templars in 1312 and the order’s last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, was burned alive two years later.

Similarly, it is revealed in Revenge of the Sith that the evil Darth Sidious has been secretly plotting the downfall of the Jedis for many years. He built a Clone Army that, on the issuing of the notorious ‘Order 66’, saw the Clone troops turn on their Jedi commanders, slaughtering all but a handful of Jedi and bringing the thousand-year-old Galactic Republic to an end.

Season 2 of Knightfall starts on the 2 of July at 9pm.