Star Wars is the perfect bonding vehicle for parents and their kids. Pretty much everybody at least likes Star Wars (except the few weird assholes who refuse to watch it — get over yourselves you closed-minded freaks), but if you try to bond with your kid watching Star Trek, you might be sentencing them to live in your basement for the rest of your life, beating the Borg to autographed pictures of Seven of Nine.
Star Wars is an important part of growing up. How else are you supposed to explore your father issues? My own son learned quickly to defy me, just like Luke defied his father before him. Having seen Star Wars at the tender age of two, my eldest now responds to every reasonable request by dramatically shouting, “NEVER!” just like Luke did when Vader asked him to join the Dark Side. Relax, son, I just asked you to stop slathering your brother with peanut butter, not rule the galaxy.
Introducing your child to the holy trilogy can have its own series of pitfalls, and doing it correctly can be the difference between whether your child is drawn to the Dark Side or the Light. Here are a few rules to keep you from making the same mistakes I did:
You must keep the secret that Darth Vader is Luke’s father. Even more important is the reveal that Vader saves Luke in the end of Return. I grew up in the ’80s, a Cold War kid, and Star Wars defined my concepts of good and evil. Vader’s redemption blew my mind.
My other son, who is two years younger than his brother, learned from his older brother — and way too early — that Darth Vader is Luke’s father. He now associates Vader with his own father, the cool guy who plays with him. Telling your kid too early that Vader is Luke’s father can confuse their ideas of good and evil. Kids have a hard time seeing their dad — or any dad — as evil. It will be years until the way I’m screwing up my kids is revealed and they begin to resent me.
As a result of this early introduction, my younger son identifies as Sith and will refuse any light saber other than red. He also swears like a truck driver and headbutts me every chance he gets. As in Star Wars, so in life. The Dark Side it is.
Make sure you show them in the proper order. The proper order is, of course, 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3, although some have argued that 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 6 also works. The latter turns the prequels into basically an extended flashback that explains Vader’s motivation. Or you can arguably just skip 1 and 2 as they serve no real purpose to the story whatsoever.
If you really want to geek out, you can do 4, 5, 1, 2, the “Clone Wars” TV show, 3, 6, “Star Wars Rebels,” then buy yourself a Storm Trooper costume and resign yourself to a life alone.
Do not introduce them to Jar Jar too early. Kids love that shit. You might hate Jar Jar Binks. I hate Jar Jar Binks. Every reasonable person in the world hates Jar Jar Binks, but Jar Jar Binks is like crack to a 3-year-old. You can try to explain to your child how Jar Jar conjures up ugly racist stereotypes, how he is annoying, culturally insensitive and moronic, but forget it. Jar Jar is dumb and pink and he hurts himself a lot and probably farts. I don’t recall him farting in the movies, but he does. You know it and I know it, and that’s what kids are into. Farts. They’ll love him.
Don’t show them too late. Waiting until the kid is too old means they will be unable to appreciate the charms of the early special effects. If they see too many movies before Star Wars, they’ll get into that weird phase where they think movies aren’t good unless they look like a video game and jam a million special fx in your grill. To them, Star Wars will look like a bunch of Muppets and miniatures.
Whatever you do, don’t show them the legendarily bad Christmas special. It might be really funny for you and your ironically distanced friends to get shitfaced and rip on it, but showing your kids the iconically terrible Christmas Special is akin to telling them Santa Claus doesn’t exist. No one should have to see a wookie wearing a virtual reality helmet while a weird pink-haired lady erotically talks him off, and no one, but no one, should have to hear Carrie Fisher sing about “Life Day.” That’s just child abuse. No one should watch this disasterpiece without alcohol, and you probably shouldn’t let your kids drink either — just sayin’.