*This post is full of Star Wars spoilers for everything from Episode 1 thru The Force Awakens.
The time comes in every child’s life when they are officially initiated into the world of Star Wars. For some it’s as early as birth but for others, like in our family.. you must be ready to receive and ask for it of your own free will. Until then, the truth is shrouded in secrecy.
If you know anything about me, you know I am a fierce protector of storyline when it comes to any film or book series. Maintaining that secrecy for those who have not seen/read them yet is important to me, especially when it comes to my children and Star Wars. It becomes a secret much like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy – something you keep safe until the time is right.
Some of you may remember the decision we made to hold off on allowing our children to see any of the Star Wars stories/cartoons or short films that gave away those secrets out of context. You may also remember last January when we unknowingly walked into a 20 minute show that gave away every secret of the entire series and I was LIIIIVVVVIIID because there was zero signage to warn people. You can read about that here if you want.
Well, we’ve moved forward and now is the time.
The Padawan turned six this past November and the Punkin is 4 1/2. Both were watching Clone Wars regularly, understanding the story and enjoying it, along with the Lego Star Wars movies, but they just needed more. True, they had the punch lines of each film spoiled for them last winter at Disney’s “Path of a Jedi” attraction, but honestly, I don’t really think it really sunk in at the time. I let it go and they soon forgot. I never reminded them.
So, with new development milestones and new understandings of things, I realized it was finally time. I was six when I saw E.T. in the theater and I remember it very well. Another reason for all of this right now, is because the Padawan desperately wants to see the movie with BB8. I told him BB8 is off limits until we watch ALL the other ones first. He has to see them in the right order.
I know, I’m a pain like that.
It’s also because he has a seriously unhealthy attachment to Kylo Ren and I can’t seem to explain it to him well enough that Kylo Ren is a really terrible guy, that he shouldn’t WANT to be like him. He suddenly wants to have a costume like his and a lightsaber like his and, I’ll be honest, this kid would be a dead ringer in cosplay – he’s got the broodiness and the hair, too… But, I know he won’t understand just how bad he is until he sees it. If he’s going to dress up like him, I want him to understand just how bad he is first and THEN let him decide. I think that’s fair.
So, while I’d hoped to protect them from the death of one of the most iconic action heroes of all time a little while longer, I realize it is time to understand the family tree, to see how good can turn to the Dark Side, and to understand what being on the Dark Side really means.
So, here we go…
In the last two weeks, we’ve watched Episodes 4, 5, 6 and 1.
Was it epic? Was the reveal all that I wanted it to be? Heh… well, not exactly. See, when you’ve got a six year old with ADHD and autism, you don’t ever do anything exactly how you planned. For one thing, each of the three movies took at least a week to get through for various reasons including boredom, forgetting what just happened (he also has limited short-term memory, so too much dialogue gets lost then he has no idea what’s going on), and most of all; they both fell asleep half way through every single one… at least twice.
I admit I failed because I didn’t get a whole lot of photos or video of the experience to share with you, but they both loved it… well, they loved some of it. Eventually, they liked it, but it took a while. The scene where Vader tells Luke he his his father was awesome – even though the Padawan had remembered the Disney show, the Punkin, only being 4 1/2, didn’t so it was new for her and it BLEW HER MIND! So, that was awesome.
Once Luke goes back to Dagobah to finish his training, after Yoda becomes one with the Force, Ghost Obi Wan comes back to talk to Luke about Anakin. That’s when they both REALLY got it. I mean, it hit them both like a brick because they’d already understood Vader was Luke’s father, but they didn’t realize who Vader really was. So once they connected those dots, there were sudden shrieks of excitement, disbelief and understanding that went something like… “ANAKIN!?! Anakin is Luke’s father??? That means Anakin is Vader?! Anakin from Clone Wars is Vader and is Luke is his son?!!! WOOOOAAAHHHHHHH!!!” So, yes – that was awesome. I wish I’d gotten that on video but it hadn’t occurred to me that would be the moment of clarity.
In that same scene on Dagobah, it becomes clear who Luke’s sister is, which also threw both kids for a loop and into a squealing frenzy of excitement.
At one point, the Padawan needed to construct an X-Wing in order to watch Luke blow up the Death Star, so we did that… it was extremely rudimentary and I am certain we can do better, but for 9:30 on a weekday with random scraps of box parts, duct tape and such, I think we did pretty good.
When the Padawan watched Luke and Vader battle it out at the end of Return of the Jedi, he had to do so with his clone blaster and his light saber in hand, but eventually ended up crying in my shoulder terrified that the Emperor would kill Luke. I had to force him to open his eyes to see how Luke was right and that Anakin was still good inside as he saved his son and threw the Emperor off the balcony.
There was much rejoicing.
The Punkin however was asleep by then, so we had to watch it again the next day just to make sure. She was not a fan of any of that hurting each other stuff and the Emperor is “disgusting and mean and terrible”. She cheered when he died and said, “thank goodness he’s DEAD!!!” …. in her fiery warrior voice that always makes me so proud.
So now we’re on to the second trilogy and have so far only watched The Phantom Menace. There is soooooo muuuuuuch dialogue in that movie it’s been boring them to tears, but there have been a few bright spots of understanding and “ah ha!” moments like the discovery that Anakin built C-3PO, Anakin’s pod race is just like the Star Wars Lego Game, they now understand who Jar Jar is and what the water planet in Star Tours is all about, they know who that “other random Jedi” from their Star Wars game and understanding who Padme from Clone Wars actually is was cool, too – They hadn’t understood that Padme and Amidala were the same person until now. They both cried when Anakin had to leave his mother and the Jedi couldn’t take her with them. The Padawan was angry at the Jedi counsel when they told Anakin they wouldn’t train him and the Punkin thought they were very mean to him, too. So, eventually we did get through it after multiple tries because they kept falling asleep or begged me to turn it off because it was so boring. The Punkin still calls Darth Maul “her Darth Maul”, but she sees that he’s actually a bad guy now, not the funny, silly guy from the Lego movies, so I’m not sure if she still loves him. Ahsoka is clearly her new favorite, which I am encouraging, obviously.
At one point, I was asked, “if Anakin is Vader and he grows up to be Luke and his sister’s dad, who is their mom?” …I wonder if they suspect already…
As I type this, they’re watching Clone Wars, season 1 and the romantic themes keep presenting themselves… it’s only a matter of time before they put it together and we’ll be starting Attack of the Clones tonight. With any luck, we can get through the last two movies this week, so they’ll figure it out soon enough.
It seems the days of watching the Lego Star Wars movies on repeat are behind us. The older they get, the more they want to know and the more ready they are for the rest of the story and what is to come. It’s amazing how just a few short years changes so many things… it wasn’t that long ago most of these films were completely off the table due to violence and spoilers. *sigh* It really does go so fast…