UPDATE: In honor of the announcement this week of the official cast of Star Wars Episode VII we’re reprinting a classic piece about one of the most important questions any father has to answer. Oh, and in case you somehow missed it original cast members Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, and Peter Mayhew will be joined by newcomers John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow. It’s got kind of an Inside Llewyn Davis meets The Seventh Seal vibe. Bonus points for spotting what the heck I’m talking about.
Right. Let’s get down to the really important stuff. Developmental milestones and college savings plans are all right for some but for a certain segment of the population the really important questions boil down to this:
What order do you show your kids the Star Wars movies?
My friends and I have had some serious discussions about this. For those of us born early enough to have seen all the movies as they came out in the theater, dealing with the “second” trilogy is a profound existential crisis.
Ok, maybe not profound seeing as how we all agree that the proper order is IV, V, VI, I, II, and III. That’s the order in which they were made. That’s the order they were released in theaters. That’s the order that God intended.
And by God, I don’t mean George Lucas. He has fallen in the eyes of true believers after Episodes I – III and the endless reissues and meddling with perfectly awesome old movies.
The trouble is the kids. Here they come, tra la la, thinking that the movies should be shown by episode number because there’s some kind of “mathematical logic” to counting from 1 to 6.
Now my son, who I love, not only has a fondness for Episode I he…I don’t think I can say it. He…thinks…Jar Jar Binks is kind of funny.
DON’T TELL George Lucas, if he gets wind of this he’ll never stop! First it’s Ewoks, then it’s frightening alien minstrel show stereotypes. How can I teach my son morality and the value of human dignity when Jar Jar’s slapstick eeso funny?
To my son’s credit he considers Yoda something of a comical green Dalai Lama and books like The Strange Case of Origami Yoda provide value to offset the horrors of Episode I. Still, there’s an even more disturbing trend. While my son thinks Star Wars is a perfectly fine entertainment it pales in comparison to – Harry Potter.
On one level I’m fine with it. I enjoyed the Harry Potter books and some of the movies sort of have some merit, maybe. Although Chris Columbus is Satan (and not in any kind of hipster ironic redeeming way – it’s all bad). But how is a Dad raised on Star Wars supposed to deal with a son who is seriously enjoying genres other than Space Opera?
You nod and smile, tousle his hair, and say, “Come on, let’s go read Ender’s Game.”
Appendix: For the record, best Star Wars movies in order: V, IV, VI, II, III, I.