Introducing a New Generation to Star Wars

A few months ago, I was talking to my 15 year-old cousin and found out that she hadn’t seen any Star Wars movies. I couldn’t stand for something like that so I took it upon myself to make sure that she watched the original trilogy and so we went through A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.

When I popped in the first one in the Blu Ray player, she asked: “Which one is the one where Darth Vader says he’s Luke’s father?”

I couldn’t believe it. “You know about that?” I asked.

Of course she did. In this age where every little thing is referenced all over the internet, it’s hard to remain completely ignorant of Star Wars at all. She also knew that Luke and Leia were brother and sister. Sigh and d’oh.

I wish she didn’t know for the simple reason that I don’t quite know when I realized that Darth Vader was Luke’s dad. Growing up, we watched the movies many, many times but I don’t remember when I knew about Vader or when it hit me how much of crazy twist that was. Side Note: Return of the Jedi has always been my favorite because it ended happily. That and I love the Ewoks. They are so cute, cool, and cuddly that I was astonished to find that some people didn’t like them.*

Here are some of the misconceptions I had of the movies when I was little, which eventually were somewhat cleared up with multiple viewings:
-I thought Darth Vader was actually Dark Vader
-I thought Luke had a robot arm – I didn’t know how to explain that there was no blood when Vader sliced off his hand with a lightsaber. Later, when I realized that Luke had a real arm, I tried to reconcile it by the fact that maybe lightsabers cauterize while they slice. But then how does one explain the blood from the arm that Obi Wan cut off with his light saber in Mos Eisley?
-I thought “lightsaber” was “lifesaver”. I mean, that’s what it did, right? Save lives? Made sense to me!

I never get tired of the original trilogy but I was surprised at how much I got into the movies this time around. I was enthralled while watching Empire Strikes Back, for example. As a child, even though I liked the second one, it was my least favorite for the simple reason that it doesn’t end on a happy note. I understood that it’s a better movie than the third one but that didn’t matter. For me, Empire Strikes Back does not work as a standalone movie. Also, as I said in the “About Me” section, I have to watch Return of the Jedi soon after watching Empire Strikes Back otherwise Han Solo will have to spend that much more time in carbonite. I can’t let him be encased for long so it’s my responsibility to watch Return of the Jedi so he can be free of his carbonite prison.

I’m not going to lie to you folks, I was pretty nervous as my cousin and I watched the first movie together. What if she didn’t like it? Star Wars seems up her alley but still there was that fear that she wouldn’t go for it.

She liked them! She liked them all!

Don’t mind me, there’s just something in my eye…

After each of the movie, I gave her a rundown of what had been added to the films, since we were watching the Blu Ray editions, which do not contain the original cut. Out of everything that was added/changed, the one thing that irked me the most, even beyond making Greedo shoot first, was that Hayden Christensen was added to the end of Return of the Jedi as Anakin Skywalker’s Force spirit. I don’t mean any offense at all but it’s just too weird for me that they replaced the original actor of a movie that came out in 1983 with Christensen, who was maybe two years old when Return of the Jedi came out.

I told my cousin to think about whether or not she wants to watch the prequels. She says she wants to just to have seen them all but I had to give her a heads up that some stuff just doesn’t make sense. Like the fact that in A New Hope, Obi-Wan has no recognition of the droids but they show up in the prequels so that doesn’t jive. Apologies if that’s a nerdy nitpick but c’mon, that made zero sense. You know what? No apologies for this nerdy nitpick!

I guess that means then that I have to brace myself to watch the prequels again. I’ve seen Phantom Menace 1.5 times. I saw it in the theater, opening day but then only again on dvd, forwarding to the lightsaber fight between Darth Maul, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan because man oh man, I couldn’t stand the rest of the movie. I’ve only seen the other two one time each and while I did like them better than Episode 1, they were still only “okay” and I never felt the need to go back and watch them again. For me, the prequels are only necessary so that one may watch the Robot Chicken Star Wars specials.

I’m curious as to my cousin’s reactions to the prequels. But first, Spaceballs.

Priorities, my friends. Priorities.

Took this pic in Oakland - mural depicting Homer Simpson as a stormtrooper.

*This concept was actually explained in an episode of How I Met Your Mother with Barney Stinson’s “Ewok Line”, that people who saw Return of the Jedi before the age of 10 loved the Ewoks then and continue to appreciate them.

Further Reading: Check out my other Star Wars Post: Aligning My Goals With Star Wars

7 thoughts

  1. I feel your sentiments on all the above points, but I am not nearly as nerdy as you when it comes to knowing the differences. I just ignore the new stuff. As with most of what Hollywood is doing, well, I ignore most of the new stuff. I am sure your cousin will realize when they are old enough, that the originals will far exceed anything else made, even if they are filmed on location in a galaxy far, far away. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I have not yet seen the Robot Chicken specials. Will check them out when I have a moment. I’m just so glad that your cousin wasn’t disowned…

  3. Salaams – LOL @ Dark Vader and life-savers!

    I’m not a huge/hard-core fan of the films, but I do enjoy watching them when they are on TV for example. I do share your apathy when it comes to the prequels though, but I did watch them in the theater for the spectacle, etc.

    This was a nice account though – always fun when you can make a connection with the younger generation, especially with something that resonated with you or that you cheriished in your own childhood. Very cool.

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