When Star Wars grabbed my son’s attention, it didn’t take hold like other phases he’s skipped through. He didn’t just buy all of the books he could find and get all of the Star Wars Lego sets that holidays would allow, then move on to the next big adventure. No, he’s settled in long enough to know those books inside and out. He lectures me with details of characters whose electric-colored skin and snakelike hair only flash on the screen for half a second, long enough for a little boy to want to know who that character is and where he can get one.
His mania has lasted long enough for him to spend hours with bricks, instructions, and nimble fingers to create replicas of spaceships and scenes. Movies need to be watched, pages need to be read, and pictures need to be sketched of the insanely ingenious creatures.
Like many families around the world since the 1977 reveal, we have been knocked into space with no map and there’s no escape hatch. No Wookiee will rescue us from the dark side of clever marketing aimed at every eight-year-old boy and up. We are simply doomed. Star Wars has become part of our life.
At breakfast, we get to hear all about the new Lego sets coming out. After all, someone is turning nine soon. Bits of paper lay scattered around the house with odd beasts penciled onto them, dreamed by a boy with an imagination sparked by the likes of shape-shifting bounty hunters, giant aqua monsters, and funny-talking Gungans.
Did George Lucas know what he was doing when he created this other galaxy? Surely, he had no idea how big Star Wars would become. That boys, big and little, would spend hours on the toy aisle considering which character they should add to their collection. Thankfully, there are hundreds. Did he know moms would brandish light sabers, choose the Force or the Dark Side, and fight their children in battles of good and evil across pillows and couches, or do spot-on Chewie impersonations even though they were secretly terrified of him as a child? Does he hear about it every waking minute of the day from an obsessed eight-year-old? Does George Lucas ever play Star Wars? What is his favorite character? I’ll let him have my son for an afternoon to discuss it.
When your son takes your daughter’s barrette with long purple braids attached, snaps it into his hair, and announces he’s a Jedi, you know you have a problem. “Padawan, there is much to teach you. Controlled Jedi are. Use the force they do. Roll around like an animal they don’t.” Hmm, maybe I could use this to my advantage.
It’s said George Lucas drew from his childhood love of Flash Gordon, among other things, for Star Wars inspiration. I can only wonder what my son’s current Star Wars obsession will bring to his future. Will he create beloved characters for a new generation based on his love for Star Wars as he says he will? Or will he use his imagination for something else in brand-new ways? As a parent, I never know how all of the weird, nonsensical stuff my children do will one day play out in their future. But I know it’s my job to let them imagine, create, and have fun, to feed that curiosity. It’s also my mission to keep them away from the dark side.