This week’s blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with Professor Foster (his “Brown Mom” wife), and their daughter Viva, with whom the Force is strong.
This week, a new teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens dropped. Unless you’ve been sleeping inside a Tauntaun for the last couple of years–and thought they smelled bad on the OUTSIDE!–you know that the long-awaited sequel to Return of the Jedi is coming, with all of the living original cast in their withered glory.
When it dropped, I was on an IM thread with some other geeks and geek dads.
“I just cried,” I admit.
“Same here,” Jim says.
“No spoilers,” Isaiah says, insisting he’s not watching the trailers. (So I told him the movie is about a civil war between the Squid Heads and the Octopus Heads from Mon Calamari. Jared says Han’s new sidekick is “Son of Greedo.”)
You see, Star Wars isn’t just entertainment for us Gen Xers (or for Gen Y, the Millennials and whatever the new batch of kids is called). It’s the closest thing most of us have to religion … tired, old Jedi religion or not. It is the closest thing to a global and generational Lingua Franca that there might be, and for most Dads I know, bringing their kids to the upcoming sequels will be the highlight of their parenting experience thus far.
My problem? My daughter will only be 4 when it comes out, and she’s largely a princess-mad girl with a profound aversion to robots.
I find her lack of faith ... disturbing.
I’m not sure what to do about the age thing. I was only 2 when A New Hope premiered, so I never saw that in the theaters until the ‘90s re-release “ring around the Death Star” version. I saw The Empire Strikes Back twice in the theater when I was 5. Twice because I fell asleep the first time, so I guess I wasn’t quite old enough then. And though I never admitted it, the Dagobah scene in the cave scared the poodoo out of me.
I’m not sure what the right age will be for Episode VII, but the (cough) prequels were lousy with arms and heads flying everywhere. The original movies weren’t that bad, but I think that Ewok getting blasted in Episode VI would put Viva in a Bacta Tank for a week.
She’s a delicate girl, and she still thinks guns are “squirters” or “flashlights” and really doesn’t like it when characters “are mean.” She just doesn’t feel the hatred flow through her like most kids.
Most of my friend’s toddlers, the boys in particular, have already been gently indoctrinated into Star Wars culture. And although they might not have seen the more violent bits yet, they’ve all got a house full of R2-D2 merch.
Viva found some of my old toys at my parents:
“Daddy, I found your Greg Skywalker toy at Grandma and Grandpa’s!”
“Yes, and his Life Saver.”
She saw all the Star Wars costumes at Halloween:
“Daddy, Ethan is dressed as Nakekins Skywalker!”
“Greg Skywalker’s Dad!”
And last night, I showed her a Darth Maul figure. (The Target exclusive with the robot legs!):
“Dark Paul? Why is he red and black? Is he hurt?”
“No. That’s what color he is. He’s from space.”
“Like an astronaut.”
“Kind of. All the Star Wars people fly around on spaceships.”
“All of them? Even the silly, furry guy?”
“Dark Paul looks like Spider-Man. Is Spider-Man there?”
“Where is Spider-Man?”
“I don’t think Spider-Man is friends with them. They live in space.”
“I think Dark Paul should be friends with Spider-Man.”
I really want to share Episode VII with Viva. I might have to start her off on Episode VIII (or Rebel One), just as I started off on Episode V long, long ago.
Even then, my only hope, you might say, is to tell her that Princess Leia is the new Disney Princess – which, technically, she is. I’ll also have to explain to her why Princess Leia is 60 and talks like Harvey Fierstein.
And finally, here is the opening scroll for Viva’s version of Star Wars (spoiler warning!):
A long time ago
in a galaxy far, far, away
Greg Skywalker and his friends,
a big silly furry guy
and some robots
flew around in spaceships.
They got scared by Dark PaulWho looks hurt and like Spider-Man
some of them had Life Savers.
Greg Skywalker’s dad was Nakekins Skywalker.
He was nice but turned mean.
But then he turned nice again.
Spider-Man was not there …
3-year-old Viva watches the Episode VII trailer. There might be hope yet.
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