Watching the Star Wars Trilogy With My Daughters

I have two daughters, aged 8 and 10, and they love Star Wars. They both have Star Wars lightsabers, in the past they’ve had both Star Wars t-shirts and pajamas. They love the new Star Wars: Rebels TV show as it’s made for an audience of their age, and it was great to see how excited and invested they were when Kanan faced the Inquisitor in the season finale. We haven’t had a chance to see a lot of the Clone Wars TV show, but we’ve enjoyed watching some of those together as well.

Even with that, they had never seen any of the actual movies. I had been avoiding the movies for a long time, because I have mixed feelings about the films. I loved the original trilogy when it was in its original form, but like many fans I don’t think very highly of all the changes George Lucas made to the original trilogy (Han not shooting first, Jabba at the cantina, Hayden Christensen replacing Sebastian Shaw as Anakin, no more ‘yub yub’ song at the end or Return of the Jedi, etc.) In fact I hadn’t seen the original trilogy myself for over a decade.

And as for the prequels, the kindest word I can have for them is ‘sub-par’. Darth Maul was pretty cool, and… and that’s about it. I didn’t even see episodes 2 or 3 in the theater, instead seeing them later when they came out on VHS or DVD.

But recently I learned about the Despecialized Editions: basically fans going through the painstaking effort of reproducing the original trilogy, shot for shot, as it was in the original theatrical release. Getting hold of them is more than a little laborious, to say the least, but after doing so we watched all three of them during spring break a couple of weeks ago.

It was great.

My 8-year-old daughter had some trouble following some of the plot and dialogue, so I had to pause it periodically to answer her questions, but they both really enjoyed watching them. Some specific comments I recall are:

    “C-3PO doesn’t do anything but whine. He’s kind of like comic relief for the movie.”
    “Why is that old guy [Grand Moff Tarkin] ordering Darth Vader around? Isn’t Vader the main bad guy?”
    “It’s really dangerous to be an officer under Darth Vader. You get promoted quickly, but if you mess up you’re dead.”
    “Han Solo’s a really cool guy.” (this was my 10-year-old daughter, who’s just starting to notice boys a little bit)
    “Why did Jabba make Leia wear that outfit? It doesn’t make any sense.”

I was a little disappointed at the climax of Empire Strikes Back, because they already knew that Darth Vader was Luke’s father. That’s pretty much common knowledge now, so I wasn’t surprised at all that they knew.

However, the two of them were really vested in the love triangle between Han, Leia, and Luke in the first two films, *and they had no idea about the big reveal in Return of the Jedi*. After we finished the first two movies, that was all they could talk about:

    “Leia has kissed both Luke and Han, I wonder which one will she choose?”
    “I think she likes Han Solo more because she told him ‘I love you’, but now he’s frozen and Luke is with her.”

I sagely replied “we’ll just have to watch the next movie and see”.

So I will never forget the look of disbelief and shock on their faces when Luke is talking with the force spirit of Obi Wan in Return of the Jedi and it’s revealed that Leia is his sister. It was great, a true golden moment:


“That’s impossible!”

“But… they kissed!”

After they recovered from that, they had great fun in seeing Han’s consternation in dealing with Leia. Especially at the end they loved the look on his face when Leia tells him that Luke is her brother. Priceless.

So, now my daughters want to watch the rest of the Clone Wars TV show, and watch the prequels to be ready for Episode VII in December. I have the Clone Wars TV show, but not the prequel movies, so I’ll need to get hold of those next.

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