The boys have been really into Star Wars for the past few months. It started earlier this year when I allowed them to play with my collection of Star Wars action figures from my teenage years. I had kept them around, not for collecting per se, but because I couldn’t bear to part with them. They are very special to me and hold a lot of memories. “Giving” them to the boys seemed like a good use. Zach is heavily into action figures so I thought that they would make a nice treat. There were two rules – the action figures belonged to Daddy and they had to stay in the basement. That would ensure they were still special and would hopefully prevent them from being destroyed. The boys immediately took to them and requested to “go in the basenent” often to play, even though they didn’t really know anything about the characters at the time.
While watching them play I started thinking about how much more fun it would be if they actually understood who the characters were and what they did. Star Wars movies are not really movies for toddlers, so I had to consider it for a while. Were they too violent? Would they be scary? I thought about it for several weeks, discussed it with Sally, and decided that it would be OK to allow them to watch. I purchased the original trilogy on Blu Ray from Amazon. When I say “original trilogy” I mean the first three movies, that is the last three in the set, i.e. Episodes IV, V, and VI, also the post-1997 Special Edition updated-once-more movies, not the original original ones without all of the fancy CGI, extra Jabba the Hutts, tie-ins with the prequels, and altered lines. Got it? Good.
As I’d hoped, the boys are absolutely obsessed with them. Their favorite movie is… all of them, though they favor the Empire Strikes Back and A New Hope a taaaad bit more than Return of the Jedi, but essentially they love them all equally. Adam calls A New Hope the “spaceship trash can” movie because of the scene in the trash compactor on the Death Star. He likes the snow troopers on Hoth and the battle between Luke and Darth Vader in the Cloud City of Bespin from The Empire Strikes Back. Zach particularly enjoys when Luke cuts Vader’s head off on Dagobah. They both like the final lightsaber scene in Return of the Jedi with the Emperor – who doesn’t.
We typically watch them during the weekend and often watch two in a row. Sometimes the boys will watch intently while other times they will act things out, especially the lightsaber battle scenes. They are both obsessed with Darth Vader; Zach is fond of Storm Troopers and Boba Fett; and Adam is a fan of Luke Skywalker (or just “Skywalker” to him) and Chewie. Han Solo, Princess Leia, and the Emperor get no love. They often act out Star Wars scenes in the car and with their other toys. They have expanded their collection a bit into Legos (if only there were Star Wars Legos when I was a kid – OMG) and have even started their own little collection of action figures.
We’ve watched the original trilogy several times and I’ve decided to pick up the “new” trilogy (i.e. prequels) as well. I know they are quite controversial, but the boys won’t care. They’ll happily welcome Jar Jar into their homes, though I don’t know if they’ll ever stop asking where Darth Vader is… We’ll see. Like many families of boys, Star Wars is a part of our lives now.