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Monday, April 22, 2019 6:06:33 AM ET

Jedis Boom in Britain

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By STEVEN J. COOPER-MARTIN, Random House Correspondent

LONDON (Heuters) - Obi-Wan would be proud.

Forget about King Arthur and the knights of the round table. A new Force is spreading through the onetime kingdom of Camelot.

Thousands of wannabe Luke Skywalkers in Britain have apparently converted to the Force, listing "Jedi Knight" as their faith on the country's 2001 national census form, Britain's Web-based news service Ananova reports.

Spurred reportedly by a fan's jokey email campaign, more than 10,000 Britons put down George Lucas' mythical Star Wars religion as their own, forcing the government's Office for National Statistics to classify "Jedi Knight" as a separate category in compiling the statistics.

"When the forms are processed, all data is encoded and we have given Jedi Knight a code because a large group of people have entered it on their forms," an ONS spokesman tells Ananova. "But we are not saying that this is an official religion."

Referring to the mass conversion to the Force as "total nonsense," the spokesman says people who put down Star Wars as a religion on the forms cause major headaches for census officials.

"As far as I'm aware, nobody within the government will make this an official religion no matter how many people sign up to it. It is a really useless piece of information," groused the spokesman, who's obviously a member of the Dark Side.

While the ONS has added the Jedi category, it has no plans to include statistics on Force followers in with data on the more established faiths. At least for now. Officials say if there are enough respondents, the data will reflect it.

Lucasfilm did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Even if the ONS decides to modify its report, we won't learn exactly how many Jedis populate the United Kingdom until the census comes out. And it's not due until fall 2002 at the earliest.

Until then, British Jedis will have to settle for the second coming of Star Wars -- prequel-wise. Stars Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones is scheduled to blast its way into theaters on May 22.

Amen.

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