I interrupt my journal about my movie year to tell you something that really got to me. My oldest son Cody is four and a half years old and has started watching the Star Wars live action movies. I spoke about this in my first review of Episode I this year. Yesterday something happened that got me and wife off guard. Cody has been going on about who is a bad guy and who is a good guy in Star Wars. He knows Darth Maul is a bad guy and Anakin is a good guy, but while watching A New Hope he asked if Darth Vader was a good guy and without really thinking about it we told him that Darth Vader was definitely not a good guy. This scrambled his brain a little bit, because I have never seen him react the way he did. He just sat there for a good ten seconds, just staring, pondering the possibility of Vader being a bad guy. We both thought this was a significant event, but he went ahead with his day and so did we.
This morning I was listening to an older episode of The ForceCast, a podcast dedicated to Star Wars. It was the episode in which HitFix’s Drew McWeeny talks to Jimmy en Jason about the decision to show his kids Star Wars in a very particular order. A very good interview with a lot of good arguments why that would work. It was a moment in his story that took me back to Cody’s revelation. He tells about his kids’ reaction to the downfall of Anakin. How he grew from a little boy to a petulant teenager to a disgruntled man who hurts the ones he loves. This realization devastated them. And then I thought about the look in Cody’s eyes when he heard Vader was a bad guy and realized I have to tread lightly around this material.
Cody is not at an age where he will be able to grasp all the intricacies of the plot, but he will be able to pick up on the basic stuff. I will not be screening Revenge of the Sith anytime soon (not that I was planning to) and when he is a few years older I will probably utilize Drew’s excellent chronology to ease the boys into the whole saga. This is turning out to be a bit harder than I thought it would be, mainly because I grew up with this stuff. It is engrained in my head, but he is totally blank when it comes to Star Wars. I have another boy called Owen (see the obscure Star Wars referenced in the names) and I will be a little bit more careful with him around these movies.
End of Intermission.