Is Introducing Your Kids to Star Wars Really About Them or About You?

Today is Star Wars Day. You know, the 4th of May? No? The Fourth of May? May the Fourth? May the Fourth be with you? That’s it, you got it.

Yesterday, on the way home from spending the day out as a family, my wife suggested that we stop off and buy the original Star Wars movie because she thought our first born is now old enough to watch it at the age of six-and-a-half. I have mentioned before that my intent was to wait until later this year to get him into it before the first of the sequel trilogy movies is released. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will be released on the 18th December 2015 so I was going to get him to watch it in the September school holidays so that it’s fresh in his mind.

Instead of just getting the one movie on DVD, I decided once I got to the store I buy my DVDs from that I would buy the complete saga seeing that they were only $19.98 each for the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy. Granted at that price you don’t get the special editions. You don’t get the special features. And you don’t get the documentary that comes as part of the digital downloads that LucasFilm and Disney released to the Play Store, iTunes and Amazon last month, but I want to show the boys the movies, not all that other stuff. Besides, the digital downloads sees some of the individual titles selling for $19.95 up to $29.95 each and the complete saga including the bonus material is anywhere from $124.95 up to $132.95 depending on the online seller, so spending $39.96 which is one-third of the price suits me nicely.

I finally bought the complete Star Wars saga on DVD on Star Wars Day eve 2015.
I finally bought the complete Star Wars saga on DVD on Star Wars Day eve 2015.

We had a bit of a debate after I jumped back in the car and told her that I bought all six episodes. My wife suggested that the prequel movies would be too scary for our sons, and seeing that there is much more fighting in them and they are a little more graphic, I can understand why the newer films received the M rating. But for my money, after thinking about it long and hard since becoming a dad (yes, I have spent a good portion of the last six and a bit years thinking about this) I thought it would be best to show the films in chronological order rather than in the order of their release.

The main reason why I though that would be best is kind of what prompted this particular post. You see, for a Generation X person like me, one who was born in the 1970s and who went to the cinema to watch the original trilogy when it came out, that was the only story line we knew. Everything that happened within those movies is what we could consider Star Wars Canon. There was nothing else. Well, that’s not entirely true. There were the Expanded Universe comic books and a spin-off novel released in 1978, but back then, these did not appeal to a wide audience.

A year after Return of the Jedi, two spin-off movies were released which were Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure (1984) and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985), both of which starred those lovable creatures from the forest moon of Endor, the Ewoks.

George Lucas is a very smart man. He started licensing the Star Wars brand and then allowed for individual writers to work on novels to increase the Expanded Universe. Some works formed part of the official Star Wars Canon, whilst some don’t. One thing that he had control over however was that all of the Expanded Universe stories must happen after the story told in the original 1977 movie. Writers could come up with stories that were based on the happenings between what is now know as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) and Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) as well as what happened between that movie and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983).

It wasn’t until Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) that Lucas allowed writers to produce works related to what happened before we first met Darth Vader and the Empire in 1977. But for the most part, unless you are dedicating a great portion of your life to absorb everything that is Star Wars, you’re probably like me and happy to accept just the six movies, the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy as being all you really need to know to be part of that story.

And because of the dialogue between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker in the Empire Strikes Back where Vader mentions to Luke that Obi-Wan didn’t tell him the truth about what happened to his father, you know, that whole “ No. I am your father” business, plus the dialogue between the ghost of Obi-Wan and Luke in Return of the Jedi where the name Anakin Skywalker was first introduced, we were all eager to know just how Anakin turned to the Dark Side of the Force after being trained as a Jedi.

I-am-your-father
Darth Vader: No. I am your father.

But we had 16 years between 1983 and 1999 to speculate just how that happened. And for the most part, I’m sure that was not really in the minds of those who continued to watch the original trilogy over and over again on VHS, then on DVD and then with the new scenes, and then the Blu-Ray release and 3D release and, please George, stop it…

In 1999 when The Phantom Menace was released I was only 25 years old and didn’t have children of my own. Although I was newly married, having children and introducing them to the Star Wars movies was the furthest thing from my mind. So when these prequels came out, these movies were for my own enjoyment. And the joy that I got from seeing them was merely to satisfy my own curiosity of the humble beginnings of the slave boy Anakin and  his rise through the ranks of Jedi apprentice to become the face of the Emperor’s evil Empire.

Now, ten years after the last movie was released, and still seven months out from the new movie, I am introducing my kids to the series just as many other parents are. But, are we doing it for their benefit, of for ours?

In 1977 my own father was 40 years old. That’s a year younger than how old I am as I write this. I asked him about Star Wars’ impact on him back in 1977/78 and he mentioned that there was a bit of media hype before the movie was released because film critics were suggesting that the original classic movie was something different. I asked him about how pumped he might have been after hearing that a sequel was being produced (that being The Empire Strikes Back) and he said that he was not really phased about it.

I spoke to my mate who shares a passion for the series and who has kids that are already over ten years old and therefore could have a greater knowledge of the movies. Having a twin boy and girl he commented that whilst his daughter liked it when he first showed her the movies, she’s really no longer into them at all, even walking out of the room when he puts the DVDs on, his son still enjoys them but watches them with his iPad on his lap rarely looking up at the screen. His son is, however, excited at the prospects of seeing the new movie at the end of this year, but my mate’s son’s excitement level wouldn’t even be half of that of his dad, my mate.

It’s funny, but I think that those dads who are from my own generation who were kids when the original trilogy came out, and even those early Generation Y, born in the 1980s and who have kids of their own now seem to be the ones who are keeping the magic of Star Wars alive. When we go to the shops my boys do what I used to do when my own parents took me shopping and they beg to visit the toy section of the department stores. The could spend hours just standing in the Lego aisle looking at the front and the back of the boxes of Lego. Of course, my six-year-old always tries to persuade me to buy him another set of the Ninjago range, and I always joke to him that if it was one of the Star Wars Lego sets that he wanted so much, then I would have bought him the whole set by now.

I know many parents, and in particular dads, who at the ages between 30 and 45 are still collectors of Star Wars memorabilia. Some buy Star Wars Lego for their children because of their own love of the saga and their kid’s love of Lego, and some suggest dressing up as Star Wars characters for Halloween so that they can join in and dress as their own favourite characters as well.

So really, when we look at this movie franchise, if us Generation X people living as parents in 2015, if we were to act like the Baby Boomer Generation fathers who weren’t obsessed with “kid” stuff as much as we are, I wonder if Star Wars would still be relevant? I wonder if, with all the other things that are available for kids these days like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ninjago, Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, Transformers and the various super heroes, would our kids actually care?

I would like to think they would. George Lucas would surely think they would. And Disney, who bought the rights to Star Wars in 2012 would like to think so too. Hence the reason why they bought it for $4.05 billion.


Now, because I believe I’m right and that us parents who grew up watching Star Wars are keeping the dream alive, I asked my fellow Dad Bloggers to share some of their stories and here are the stories they shared with me.

Farther of Five

My “inaugural” post (April 2006) had reference to the old “Yahoo Journal” that I started (pre blogging) – and that Yahoo Journal was started the day I pulled my boys out of school to see Episode 1. http://www.father-of-five.com/2006/04/why.html

Dadscribe

Here’s one of mine from last year. http://dadscribe.com/2014/07/16/han-solo-parenting-tips/

Daddy’s In Charge

That time we killed George Lucas for ripping us off for releasing a movie in “3D” http://youtu.be/d9YH03SO_Sg

Puzzling Posts

When we did Star Wars crafts stuffs http://puzzlingposts.com/…/a-star-wars-shadow-puppet…/

Art from Life of Dad

I have a ton, but here is the unboxing video I did with my daughters last month. http://m.lifeofdad.com/blog_post.php?pid=21334

Frank’s Place

I could only shield them for so long. http://franknfran.com/…/diary-of-a-sahd-discovering-a…/

Dad Camp

(How to photoshop a lightsaber into a photo) Light saber tutorial http://dad-camp.com/photoshop-lightsabers-photos-kids/

Designer Daddy

Showing my 5yo the trailer for Episode 7. http://designerdaddy.com/…/star-wars-the-force-awakens…/

Fan Dads

Here is mine after the characters names were released and what I thought the haters would say. http://fandads.blogspot.com/…/star-wars-force-awakens…

The Rock Father

I have an entire section of the site devoted to STAR WARS, complete with it’s own URL. While a lot of these are news items, there’s quite a few personal posts in there, and I do a bunch of Instagram SW-related content with the girls… http://www.therockfather.com/starwars

Building a Library.com

There are a LOT of really good Star Wars books. I mean, there’s a bunch of crappy ones too, but the good ones are GOOOOD…. http://www.readbrightly.com/superb-star-wars-books-for…/

Dork Daddy

Dork Daddy didn’t leave a comment, but this is what I have to say about his post;

If you only read one of these links, this one is great because it includes more links to other dads who have written about Star Wars, but this one is also about when it is best to expose your kids to the movies. http://dorkdaddy.com/2013/02/14/when-to-expose-your-kids-to-star-wars-a-white-paper/

Nerdy At Home Dad

https://nerdyathomedad.wordpress.com/…/may-the-fourth…/

Post Post Modern Dad

I have several, but if I had to pick just one… http://www.postpostmoderndad.com/2015/04/16/star-wars-fool/

Man vs Pink

What you should all be eating on May 4th – Death Star cookies. http://manvspink.com/…/vintage-star-wars-recipe-death…/


And here are some more from around the net…

Lunchbox Dad

There’s some great lunch ideas and some toy reviews on his site http://www.lunchboxdad.com/search?q=star+wars

How To Be A Dad

Some Star Wars related humour like only Charlie and Andy can do http://www.howtobeadad.com/?s=star+wars

8-Bit Dad

The boys at 8-Bit dad have some great Star Wars stories http://www.8bitdad.com/?s=star+wars

Daddy Files

Although I am very similar to Aaron from the Daddy Files, his Star Wars post mentions these two admissions…

  1. I don’t drink coffee yet I’m a total morning person
  2. I’ve never seen Star Wars

Although I think that’s sacrilegious, I’ll share his post anyway… http://www.daddyfiles.com/star-wars-using-the-force/

3 thoughts on “Is Introducing Your Kids to Star Wars Really About Them or About You?

  1. It’s no different than getting them to root for our favorite sports teams and gives them something to bond with us over. It is for our benefit and theirs. My son, in particular, loves talking about Star Wars and other movies, books, sports team, etc. that we both enjoy.

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