I’ve been a parent now for going on a decade. When this whole thing started, I had these grand ideas of bringing my kids up with all of the great movies, cartoons and TV shows that I enjoyed when I was growing up. However, after that whole talking thing kicks in (and even before that, really), you realize that the tiniest of roommates have opinions and likes of their own. It turns out that they would rather watch the shows they like and the new movies coming out instead of the ones that you probably love more than some extended family members.
After getting my ideas for movies slapped down on the reg, I decided not to push so hard. And then, out of nowhere, my son decided he was kinda sorta interested in Star Wars. I can’t remember the inciting incident. It could have been my diehard fandom which he’s experienced in by way of all the stuff in my office as well as my toy collection. More likely, though, it was because someone on YouTube talked about the franchise. Who knows?
I should also mention that our daughter had seen the original trilogy years prior, when she was 2 or 3. She liked them, but it didn’t necessarily capture her imagination. Anyway, the boy and I began watching the original films while the girl was busy elsewhere. This took a while as one did not make him want to rush right into the next. It’s okay, I can be patient.
Eventually he and I finished the original trilogy. I’m not so sure how he’d respond to the new trilogy (which I love, but it’s not overly kid friendly), so that left a few other options including the Prequels and some of the animated series’. I don’t quite remember how we pulled it off, but my wife and I convinced the kids to give Star Wars Rebels a watch on Disney+!
I had seen all of the first season and part of the second. Heck, I even wrote about it for one of the many now-defunct places I’ve written for, so I knew how good it was. I love how the series starts by building the Ghost crew as a family and then bringing them into the larger goings-on of the pre-A New Hope universe.
It didn’t take us too long to go through all three season — all of which were FANTASTIC — but it became clear from what I’d read that this series was very closely tied to the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. Figuring that they would want to move on to that, we started pushing the idea of the Prequels to them to set the series up (also, everyone seemed to be enjoying the Star Wars kick we were on).
Now, I’m not one of those people who hates the Prequels, but I didn’t love them either. I had an amazing time seeing the first two with my friends from high school at midnight showings and then the last one in college. They just didn’t live with me like the originals did (thanks in part to them being on cable a LOT when I was growing up). I think that I’ve probably seen the first two 2-3 times and Revenge Of The Sith only once, but i was excited to revisit them.
Anyway, after explaining how Phantom Menace featured a kid, crazy races, a bunch of Jedi, a queen with rad clothes and a funny alien hanging around, both kids seemed interested. They were pretty big fans too for all of the reasons I mentioned. And you know what? Jar Jar Binks KILLS with kids! The boy, who’s 6, especially liked his silliness. Maybe Lucas had the right idea with that one.
Attack Of The Clones was a bit harder for them to absorb. For as much as Jar Jar seems to be a gateway for kids into this world, focusing so much on senatorial politics just builds up walls. I don’t even think I had quite mentally nailed down all the factions and who they’re aligned with when I started fielding questions from the kids about what the heck was going on. In the end, they liked this one too, but not as much as Phantom Menace.
The timing worked out so that we finished Rebels and watched Attack pretty closely which meant we could jump into Clone Wars! Now, I had seen the movie (back in 2010 according to UnitedMonkee) and liked it well enough, but never made the leap into the series. As you may know, it was still going when Disney bought Star Wars, but the wheels kind of fell off the bus with the inevitable transference of kid-friendly Star Wars shows to the various Disney Channels. Still, they had a seventh season written and pretty close to completed, but it seemed like full, finished episodes would never see the light of day. But then they announced that Clone Wars‘ final season would be completed and shown on Disney+, which was a super cool move (especially because it’s still considered canon).
At this point, we’ve been slowly making our way through the first season for a month or two. We got distracted by the fantastic A Series Of Unfortunate Events on Netflix (look for a post on that series soon) and, honestly, it doesn’t seem to have hooked the kids like Rebels did. I’m hoping that seeing some of the folks who later appear in Rebels will help. For me, I’m enjoying seeing Anakin Skywalker be a good Jedi. In the movies he’s the bad guy, a kid, a clumsy padawan and then the guy who descends into darkness. This is his time in the sun. This is when he builds the life that crumbles down at the end of Sith that still leaves the tiniest ember that Luke fans into the fire of rebellion in Jedi. It’s important. And it’s good. Sure there’s politics, but it’s far easier to understand (for me and the kids) than the first two Prequels.
I’m not sure how long it will take to get through all seven seasons of Clone Wars or if the kids will even want to go on that journey. If not, we might hit pause on the whole endeavor or my wife and I might go on it ourselves. It would be excellent for them to see how even a good character can fall and how another, the excellent Ahsoka, can prove her mettle through trials and tribulations. I can’t even say I’m angry at the thought of it taking awhile because I’m just not sure how they will react to Revenge of the Sith because that movie is super sad!
What about you? Do your kids share your love of Star Wars? Have they come to it directly or circuitously? As Star Wars teaches us, it’s not just where you end up, but how you got there, so I’d love to hear your stories.