Wondering if your 4 year old is ready for the Star Wars movies? Read on!

Introducing Star Wars to the next generation: advice, warnings, and WookiesBeing able to sit with W and watch a movie is a recent phenomenon that I adore. Watching a non animated film is VERY recent. Tuesday afternoon we found the complete Star Wars saga waiting for us at the door when we got home. I got us comfortable, explained to W he could ask me to pause, fast forward, rewind, or stop the movie at any point, and then I loaded in the disc.

There is a lot of debate about which movie in the saga the new generation of Star Wars viewers should watch. I opted to start with episode IV for two reasons: a) it was the first Star Wars I saw and b) the effects would not be as graphic and advanced as we know Lucas has evolved them to be today. This ended up being the perfect choice.

If you have not seen Star Wars you should stop reading.

I know. I know. The odds of anyone needing a spoiler alert for Star Wars is pretty low, but just in case!

W instantly fell in love with the robots. I knew he would. He also really loved Chewbacca and I have now answered more questions about Wookies than I ever thought possible. “Does the Wookie have a last name?” “Does the Wookie ever wear pants?” “What does the Wookie look like if he gets a hair cut?”

Darth Vader was a character W was fascinated by. When he was on screen he liked to emulate Darth’s mechanical breathing. When Darth was not on screen W would ask, “I wonder where that Vader is!!”

We talked throughout the movie (OMG I hate talking during movies!!!) and it was ok. It felt like I was translating a story to him and because he was into it we kept talking.

And oh heavens the lightsabers! The concept of such a device was pure magic for W. I was thankful we had a random left over glow stick in the pantry from last Halloween as it allowed W to instantly transform into a young Jedi. We talked about characters being good or being bad. We discussed good characters who made bad choices.

We have now seen all three of the “original” Star Wars and are poised to watch Episode one. Seeing Darth make the choice to be good in the end was a nice way to affirm the “we all have a choice about our behavior” talk I often have with W.

time has now passed…

Well looks like I forgot to publish this friday. Go Me!

I can now share what it is like to watch Episode One of Star Wars with a 4 year old: it’s hard.

When The Phantom Menace came out in theaters in 1999 I went to an industry screening with a bunch of overworked Hollywood types. A good friend worked for someone who was sharing office space with Will Smith’s production company and we all worked on the same studio lot. I say this just as a small way to let you know everyone in the audience was pretty familiar with each other.

I will never forget the moment when Jar Jar Binks appeared on screen and opened his mouth. In unison three assistants from Smith’s company yelled, “are you fucking KIDDING ME?!” It was a disaster screening. Jar Jar is a horrible character that is hugely unexplainable.

So W and I watched episode one and up pops Jar Jar and W laughs because the character is pretty much a cartoon. But what completely sucks is that W immediately started repeating and copying Jar Jar’s dialogue. I let him get out a few lines, because honestly if I gave it attention that would make it much more exciting, but when he started saying lines when Jar Jar wasn’t on the screen I dove in with a simple, “that’s enough”, and he settled down. If only there was a “Parent’s Guide to Jar Jar”….oooph

I now have a new appreciation for The Phantom EditMike Nichols took The Phantom Menace and removed twenty minutes making it a smoother experience. Among his edits was an almost complete removal of Jar Jar and whenever he is on screen he has been redubbed with a different voice.

W liked seeing the young Anakin and he got SO excited when he saw Yoda. Some of the plot was a bit elaborate for him to follow so he did a bit of block building during the movie until something grabbed his attention. I was worried about the Sith Lord freaking him out but W was more concerned about the different colors of lightsabers. I did some research and the answers weren’t that thrilling: the bad guys get red and the good guys get green and blue. And supposedly Samuel L Jackson likes the color purple so he asked for a purple lightsaber. W would like a pink lightsaber when he becomes a Jedi.

Two more episodes to go…

Have you watched Star Wars with your kids yet? I am so curious to know how that experience was!

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