Feel the Force of Jedha’s sacred Temple of the Whills in LEGO

A lot of people are saying that hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster. I get it. I never set foot in an Outer Rim cantina without my trusty DL-44 either. But maybe there’s something to the old stories of wizards and their laser swords. Otherwise, why would the Empire be be so afraid of a backwater moon like Jedha? LEGO builder Ryan McBryde certainly has a soft spot for the “pilgrim moon” of Jedha, home of the Guardians of the Whills, spiritual site for the Jedi, and a source of the kyber crystals used in lightsabers. For the past 8 years, Ryan has been collaborating and iterating on an epic build of Jedha’s Temple of the Guardians of the Whills and the surrounding old city in conjunction with the Star Wars Factions role-playing project. In addition to the incredibly detailed building and interiors, which expands on brief glimpses of the site in the background of Rogue One, Ryan fleshed out the stories of locals and visiting pilgrims who bring the ancient site to life (at least until Grand Moff Tarkin showed up to test his fancy new superlaser).

Ryan’s project isn’t just an incredible accomplishment in LEGO construction, but a testement to the vitality of Star Wars as a collaborate story space.

Here we see the temple in full. Ryan expands on the upper section of the temple seen in Rogue One by extending the building down into the rock foundation. It’s not a separate level, but rather one open space from recessed floor to vaulted ceiling, , amplifying the scale and offering dramatic lighting.

My favorite detail is the cutouts above the archways, achieved with clever SNOT building techniques to get those distinctive curves. It’s unmistakeabley Star Wars and demonstrates how thoughtfully Ryan builds adheres to the aesthetic while taking us to places never seen in the films.

Finally, while the Brothers Brick doesn’t often highlight minifigs alone, it’s worth highlighting how Ryan’s work is tied to the Factions role playing game. What is Factions? Basically, it’s a collaborative form of storytelling that fuses the Star Wars universe with original LEGO creations where characters, lore and excting plots play out via LEGO MOCs. Builders like Ryan help anchor the shared story space with original Star Wars factions, like the one below, that other participants can weave into their own stories. (How fun seeing Giraffe Guy‘s legs and arms incorporated into such a serious character!)

We’ve previously featured models from Dark Times, a similar Star Wars Role play project. These sorts of fan intitiatives are a large part of why I love being part of the larger LEGO community. Now I just need to work on the backstory for a faction of my own…

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