Like many people of my age group I have a child who is old enough to watch Star Wars. On my daughter’s third birthday, after much deliberation, we showed her “A New Hope” for the first time. She loved it (duh) and in the past six months she has watched it a few times a week (or possibly more, if you won’t accuse us of being bad parents).
The deliberation I refer to above was not related to the age-appropriateness of the movie. Surprisingly, there are many things for a parent to consider when introducing their child to Star Wars:
- Which film should I start with?
- What if she likes Jar-Jar Binks?
- When should we introduce the next movie?
- How much plot should we give away?
The first one is easy. No child of mine is seeing Episode 1 before she already appreciates the genius of the Original trilogy. Frankly, I’m worried enough about Ewoks.
My wife and I spent the most time deliberating over when to show her the second movie. For two reasons. Empire is a pretty dark and scary movie (compared to A New Hope) and we don’t know if she’s ready for it. But more importantly, we want her to be old enough to really appreciate the plot. We have been very careful to make sure she doesn’t know that Vader is Luke’s father, or that Leia and Luke are siblings. I feel like we have the opportunity to give her a great gift: the chance to experience those scenes for the first time, just as we did as kids.
I want her to think “oh my god, Vader’s his father!!!”. That scene is so great, but we forget because we’ve lived with it for 30 years. Ah, to be young again.
We’ll have to wait and see, but we’re hoping we can hold off until she’s 6 or 7 to show her Empire. Luckily, I never get tired of watching Star Wars.