I was nearly six years old when the film Return of the Jedi entered theaters. I don’t have a perfect recollection of going to see it, but I do remember suddenly falling apart and crying hysterically when Luke Skywalker took off his father’s black, life providing mask, and revealed the feeble old man that lay behind it. When my wife was first pregnant with our son, we created a baby registry that contained well over two dozen different Star Wars onesies. Indeed, we were going to be prepared to have a Star Wars child from the get-go.
As of this writing, our son Chaim Yosef is two years old, but he has not yet seen any of the Star Wars films. He presently is more of a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends, the Pixar movies Cars and Cars 2 (which he refers to as GO! GO! GO!). He is also a fan of the extremely peculiar Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse — which will be the subject of its own article in the future, rest assured.
The first big investment that we made for Chaim Yosef in the Star Wars world came when we got him a pair of Stride Rite Shoes with R2D2 on them. They quickly became his favorite shoes. Whenever it was time to go out for a walk with him, I would ask him which shoes he wanted to wear and he would bring over the R2D2 shoes.
We at some point got an R2D2 jacket for him from Old Navy. He particularly likes wearing it and putting the hood over his head so that he more closely resembles R2. I don’t think he understands that he is, in a way, making himself resemble the robot from an amazing film series, but he does like the way that the jacket looks. He certainly prefers it to the plain dark grey jacket that he has been wearing during the winter.
Before we actually introduce him to the movie series, we have an extremely important decision to make. Do we show him the films in the order in which they were shown in the theaters — that is to say, Episodes IV-VI and then I-III, or do we show him the films in the order of the films themselves — starting with Episode I and going all the way through Episode VI? There are ups and downs to both of these methods, but part of me really doesn’t want him to go from seeing the first three excellent films (IV-VI) to seeing what I considered to be an inferior trilogy. On the other hand, what if seeing the inferior trilogy first gets him to think that that is actually the better films in the series?
While we suss out the order in which we are going to have him watch these classic films, we have a couple of important board books to help get him introduced to the characters from the movies, such as Star Wars ABC and Star Wars 123. Both books are full of large full color pages that have many characters from the movies and help him learn how to count from one to one hundred and of course the ever important alphabet.
At what age, if you have introduced your children to Star Wars, did you introduce them? How did they react to the films? Did you start with the classic films first or the newer ones? Feel free to discuss below or on our forums.