Pope Benedict is resigning, as you may have heard if your sensory faculties have been functioning at some point over the last 24 hours, and speculation is already turning to who will replace the aged Pontiff. While Vatican insiders will be thinking mainly in terms of names and places of origin (it's thought we might get our first Latin American pope), but the rest of us might take a moment to think about what sort of pope we want, and Pope Benedict provides a good starting point of comparison.
By which I mean the guy looks just like Emperor Palpatin from Star Wars:
Now, don't get me wrong: Pope Benedict is a much better guy than the guy who turned Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader. Still, as long as we have Palpatin as our Pope "before," who, among the Star Wars canon, should we look to as our "after?"
1. Luke Skywalker
How about Luke? He'd make a good Pope, right? Very principled, chose to die instead of going over to the Dark Side. Here's the thing though: Pope Benedict was much praised for his papal dignity. And Luke, well, he's a bit of a whiner. That doesn't make him a bad guy, but will the Catholic youth of today really look up to a guy who complained his way through Jedi training?
VERDICT: Not Pope material.
2. Obi-Wan Kenobi
A slam dunk choice, right? Well, half-yes, half-no. The Alec Guiness Obi-Wan (pictured to the right), would make an excellent Pope. Wise, measured, willing to learn from his mistakes like being too hard on Anakin Skywalker so that he left for the dark side, causing three movies worth of problems. It's just that Obi-Wan Kenobi isn't just wise Alec Guiness anymore, he's also the young and annoying nag portrayed by Ewan McGregor in episodes 1-3. There's way more important stuff to complain about for those episodes, but it's a shame that young Obi-Wan wasn't particularly bad-ass. Anyway, despite Obi-Wan's many fine qualities, his work in the prequels pushes him below the Pope bar.
VERDICT: Only half Pope-worthy, which isn't Pope-worthy enough.
3. Han Solo
Wild card pick! Han would provide a real fresh face, and provide the break from the Pope Benedict era that some are looking for. His dashing good looks and cavalier style would appeal across generations, and would undoubtedly draw many to the siren call of Catholocism. The problem? The Greedo controversy. In the original Star Wars IV: A New Hope, Han is approached by the bounty hunter Greedo in a bar on Mos Eisley. Then, before Greedo knows what's going on, Han shoots him! This space cowboy doesn't give a damn! Then, as one of many unnecessary changes in the mid-90s re-release of the movies, the scene was edited so that Greedo tried to shoot Han first. Many annoyed fans took up the line "Han shot first," to complain, but Han didn't shoot first, Han shot only.
VERDICT: Too bad-ass to be Pope.
4. Princess Leia
What? Girls can't be Pope? Tell that to the chica who saved the rebel cause! You're telling me that Jar Jar "worst character ever" Binks qualifies and Princess Leia doesn't? Ridiculous. She can be my Pope any day.
VERDICT: Too girly to be Pope, even though she could kick all of your asses.
Well, you knew that this is where we were going, right? Try as you might, you will not find a better Pope than Yoda. He is full of spiritual wisdom, says stuff in cool ways, probably knows Latin (Pope Benedict, to the initial confusion of many, announced his resignation in Latin), can hold his own in a light saber battle, and the force is strong in him. Pope Benedict, your office will be in good hands.
VERDICT: Yoda is the next Pope!