For those who know me, it’s generally well known that I’m pretty huge Star Wars fan. I’m not saying that there aren’t bigger fans out there – I don’t follow the expanded universe and I don’t collect toys – but I will say that I scored plenty high on the “How well do you know R2-D2” quiz. So, it’s not surprising that Leah has, on more than one occasion, asked me when I plan to introduce Lucy to Star Wars.
It’s a good question and one that I’ve wasted a bit more brain power on than I probably should. So, what’s up? Why haven’t I shared my favorite movies – the ones that have had the biggest impact on my life (oh, that’s so sad) – with my first born? I’ve force other potentially embarrassing things on her, like my Cub fandom. So why not this?
(btw, if you’ve come here expecting the usual light-hearted post dotted with humor, you can just turn around and go home. This is serious fucking business)
By the way, before I get into my list of reasons, I’ll address the elephant in the room. I know everyone’s thinking, in what order does one show the movies to a first time viewer of the series? There are those who argue for chronological order in the Star Wars timeline. I won’t say that those people are idiots, but I will say that they are wrong. That’d be like watching Temple of Doom before Raiders of the Lost Arc because Temple of Doom happened to be pre-Nazi. It just isn’t done. Another option is the “flashback” method of viewing as suggested by this guy. Certainly reasonable and pretty brilliant if you’re already viewed all the movies, but wrong for children. The correct viewing order is: Original trilogy (New Hope et al) followed by enough time for kids to age sufficiently to realize that the Phantom Menace is a terrible movie.
And then let them let them learn about Episodes 1-3 on the street, the same way they’ll learn about sex.
Getting back to the original premise, here are five reasons I haven’t introduced my daughter to Star Wars.
My daughter’s movie watching experience has been almost entirely Disney based
Little Mermaid, Tangled, Lion King…they all have one thing is common (other than princesses, something Star Wars does not lack): musical numbers. Star Wars is devoid of musical numbers, unless you could the music playing at the Mos Eisley Cantina. And that number ends with a bear-man’s bloody arm laying on the ground. Not quite as dark as the beginning of Frozen, but certainly grosser (although I would love to hear her walking around singing “Do deet do deet do deet do do do deet do do do do”).
These guys pop right up on you in the middle of the frame and are scary as shit, waving their staffs around with their weird, horny faces. But it’s not so much that I’m worried they’ll scare her, but rather that they *won’t* scare her. So far she’s made it through the sea-witch Ursula and the death of Mufasa and barely blinked. If she’s not scared of the Sand People, then there’s a good chance she’s a serial killer. And we certainly can’t watch this with Rocky around as I know he’ll be scared shitless. He was scared of a wooden crow in a game about an apple orchard.
Murder. Storm Trooper-y murder
We aren’t even out of the first act and we already see the charred, smoldering skeletons on Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Those two moisture farmers never had a chance when the Storm Troopers came looking for a couple misfit droids. Between the smoking corpses and the bonfire of Jawas, I think it’s just a bit much for a kid this side of her fifth birthday.
Luke’s hideously distorted face as he learns that Darth Vadar is [spoiler alert] his sled [oops, wrong spoiler]. No child should be subjected to acting that bad.
Too much reality for a 4.5 year old
If Uncle Owen doesn’t need a droid that speaks Bocce, then Luke never buys C3-P0, who never speaks up for R2-D2, which means Storm Troopers never kill Luke’s family. Then there’s no reason for him to join the rebellion until after the harvest, by which time the empire has already destroyed the rebel base on Dantooine. Does our fate truly rest in such a delicate balance? A question like this will lead Lucy to examine her own existence. Think if she had been born just one month later. She would be a completely different person. Hell, she might be a boy. In fact, there is an almost infinitely higher probability that she doesn’t exist than that she does. Do I really want my daughter to have to confront that reality?
And that doesn’t even touch on the gross lolling tongue of a dying Jabba the Hutt, or the scary-as-shit visage of the Emperor. No, these just aren’t kids’ movies, at least not for another year or two.
I will show my kids Star Wars eventually. Of course I will. When they’re ready to appreciate it fully and not distracting Daddy with questions. When they’re old enough to appreciate it without fear. And when I can get the original theatrical cut on blu-ray.