My lack of interest in Star Wars is starting to be a problem
I remember going to the movies with my parents and two sisters in 1984 – Sixteen Candles and some Star Trek movie were both playing at the Fantasy. My mother wanted to see Sixteen Candles, my father: “KHAAAANNNN!” Guess who got shot down? Never mind that Sixteen Candles probably was – no, definitely was – totally inappropriate for us, all age nine and younger, but this was before the PG-13 rating. And there are lines in that movie that I am just getting today.
Growing up, I never had to be interested in Star Wars. The fact that I am conflating it with Star Trek here shows you just how uninterested I am, and always was. We were a house full of girls; there was no brother collecting action figures and yammering on about Boba Fett incessantly, like my husband did as a child (so I am told). And my father’s taste even departed from KHAAAN and morphed to the ladylike; he, a tissue, and Steel Magnolias: a perfect Tuesday evening. So now that my son is becoming a Star Wars fan, I am not prepared for the deluge of intricate questions about the films that has been unleashed.
Of course, girls can be interested in Star Wars. Of course of course. My six-year-old niece can recite the whole scrolling text bit at the beginning of A New Hope (which is what I guess you’re supposed to call it), and once compared something she saw to Han Solo getting stuck in the (hold on while I Google “Han Solo getting stuck in the“) – carbonite. She’s the best.
(What was I into growing up? Anne of Green Gables. I can tell you whatever you want to know about that book. The whole series, in fact. I’ve been to Prince Edward Island twice [Philistines: that is where the series is set]. I read it to my son in the womb. It worked; he’s a frickin’ genius.)
I know that the Star Wars movies are epic and incredible and legendary pieces of filmmaking. I’ve seen them all and liked them all to varying degrees. But I could never get swept up in them, which is what I suppose you must do if they are to take hold as a lifelong fascination. And if you are to know every detail by heart. It’s just not my favorite thing. Maybe I’m the philistine.
My husband could hardly wait to sweep our son, C, into the Star Wars fold, and when he turned four, they had a special movie night and watched the first one. Or the fourth one, or whatever you’re supposed to say. A little young? Maybe. My husband was C’s age when he saw the first one in the theatre, and he turned out all right, I guess.
Watching C watch it, I can see how these movies have become an essential part of American boyhood: a light went on behind his eyes, like the light of a thousand light swords – er, sabers. It set his imagination ablaze as it had never done for me. And after he saw Return of the Jedi, what with all the Ewoks, he couldn’t contain his excitement; he danced around the living room, carrying on about how it was the best movie he had ever seen “in his life!” Then he fashioned himself a Storm Trooper get-up and light-sabered his little brother, who was supposed to be Yoda or somebody.
So finally, my point: C is super-into Star Wars, and he thinks about it all the time, and has questions about it all the time, and I have no idea how to answer most of these questions. Is so-and-so good or evil? What flying vehicle does some such character drive? Why is Han Solo so cool (actually, I can answer that one)? I have several options for answering these questions, depending on the nature of the question:
1) Answer the question. Who’s Luke Skywalker’s father again? I can handle that! Spoiler alert! It’s Boba Fett.
2) Just make something up. He’s four, and most of it is going over his head anyway. He’s mainly watching for the flash! and the zap! and the Death Star.
3) When he does have a good question, about a point of character or plot, which he actually does sometimes, I a) ask him, what do you think? Check out that parenting! b) say I don’t know, which leads to more persistent questioning, which then leads to c) telling him to we’ll have to wait ’til Daddy gets home and ask him. Or he can call his cousin Ms. Carbonite and ask her. I fob it off on them – and I’m off the hook. So I guess I don’t have to spend my evenings poring over C’s Star Wars Lego dictionary after all. KHAAANNN!!!