The Star Wars series has understandably become a major cultural touchstone for several generations. For parents of a certain nerdy persuasion, introducing a child to R2-D2 and the Jedis for the first time can be a make-or-break moment. What order do you show the films in? Does the "I am your father" twist matter? What do you do about the prequels? And what if they're disappointed?
HitFix film critic Drew McWeeny put a great deal of thought into this as part of Film Nerd 2.0, a column about introducing his two sons to the world of film. McWeeny is a dyed-in-the-wool Star Wars veteran, and to celebrate the series's release on Blu-ray, he documented his childrens' reaction to the series, starting with the fourth film, A New Hope. McWeeny was one of the first critics to advocate for a staggered viewing order – cutting to the prequels after The Empire Strikes Back – and his methodology paid off here.
Apart from the fun of reading about kids screaming and making a ruckus after meeting classic characters like Chewbacca (here called "the monster" by the younger child), McWeeny offers some insight into the series's thematic heft for young viewers. Watching Anakin Skywalker turn to the Dark Side helped teach his sons about morality as defined by your actions. Credit where it's due to the prequels!
You can read all six chapters in the series via the links below, including McWeeny coming to terms with his kids loving The Phantom Menace.
- IV – A New Hope
- V – The Empire Strikes Back
- I – The Phantom Menace
- II – Attack of the Clones
- III – Revenge of the Sith
- VI – Return of the Jedi