I have three kids. Two of them are fairly Star Wars obsessed in the usual ways; they’ve watched the entire franchise multiple times, read about it (including some comics and related books), watched the animated television series, wear the clothes, want the toys, etc…you know the drill. They’re very excited about The Force Awakens, and since they’re at the same ages (10 & 12) that so many grown-ups say they were when they saw (and were so affected by) the first trilogy, I thought it might be fun to interview them and see where their heads are at.
Participants (Z: boy aged 10, L: girl aged 12)
*kids talking about their homework*
Me: “I have homework for you too, tonight.”
Z: “Aw, I already have homework, a lot of it!”
L: “What is it?”
Me: “I’m going to interview you about Star Wars, for work.”
L: Jumps up and down. “Yay!” (L is very enthusiastic about everything.)
Z: ” What?”
Me: “I’m going to ask you some questions about Star Wars, and then write it up for my work.”
Z: “Oh, I hope I win!”
L: “It’s not a contest. She’s just going to ask questions.”
Me: “It’s not a contest. I’m just going to ask your your opinion about the Star Wars movies.”
Z: “Well, I hope I get them right!”
How many times have you watched the entire film series — both trilogies?
L: “A lot.”
Z: “Eight times.”
Have you watched one of the trilogies more than the other? Why?
(Aside: None of us ever agree on which trilogy is “the original,” and inevitably, any such discussion always devolves into an argument about which is the first trilogy — we can’t seem to settle that. So, for the purposes of this discussion, we’ll say “original” trilogy means Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi is what *I* mean. “Prequels” refer to The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.)
L: “I’d say that I watched them both about the same, because I enjoyed both trilogies and um…” (Z interrupts)
Z: “I watched the prequels more because I used to love Revenge of the Sith — I watched it with L, like a million times — and I didn’t like the original trilogy as much.
Which is your favorite film and why?
Z: The Phantom Menace, because I like how young Anakin joins as a Jedi and he got better and better.”
Me: “You mean at fighting?”
Z: “Yeah, when he got older.”
L: “Hmm…that’s a tough decision…
Z: “I think you’re going to choose Attack of the Clones.
L: “Actually, you’re wrong. Attack of the Clones used to be my favorite, because I hadn’t watched it as many times as the others — I wasn’t as sick of it — but then I realized I didn’t like the movie as a whole as much as I thought I did before. Like, I really enjoyed the part with the trial, and they, the Jedi, ended up winning in the end. And so, I think I like A New Hope the best, because it introduced me to all the original characters, which are my favorite.”
You know there’s a new trilogy — you’ve seen The Force Awakens trailer. Who do you most want to see in The Force Awakens? Who would you like to know more about?
L: “I’m really excited to see Han Solo, because he’s one of my favorite characters and because he’s really funny, and I think a lot of people like the actor, and Han Solo because of his personality.
Me: “What would you like to know about him that you don’t already know?”
L: “What happens to him after Return of the Jedi, because I want to know what happened after they were all celebrating with the Ewoks — where did they go? Like, did they go home — no, they couldn’t go home because Luke didn’t have a home…did they create a family? I asked Dad a long time ago, did Luke have a girlfriend, and he said that in the comics that Luke had a girlfriend named Mara or something.”
Me: “So that’s your big burning question — did Luke have a girlfriend?”
L: “No!!! My question is, where did they all go. They didn’t have a specific home, where did they go?”
Z: “I really want to see Luke Skywalker, to learn about him, because I was wondering why he was changing to different colored lightsabers. Because he had a blue lightsaber, and then a green, and I was wondering if he’s going to have the same color lightsaber, or if it’s going to be the same.”
Me: “Why does it matter what color lightsaber he has?”
Z: “It doesn’t matter. But I was wondering…”
L: “A blue lightsaber is when you’re first training, a green lightsaber is when you become a higher, like a better Jedi.”
Everyone asks L where she heard this, and thus begins The
Great Lightsaber Debate of 2015.
L: “I don’t remember it completely, but I remember wondering when I was younger, and somehow finding out. Maybe someone said it in a movie. I just know.”
Z: “I disagree. Because Anakin lost his lightsaber, and he had a blue lightsaber in Attack of the Clones and then he got a green lightsaber in Attack of the Clones, and then when that movie was over Anakin went back to a blue lightsaber. That’s why I disagree, because there’s no higher level for each lightsaber. Because Obi Wan was more talented than Anakin, so it couldn’t be possible that Ani could get a green lightsaber, because then he wouldn’t be a Padawan anymore. “
L: “Notice when Anakin, when you see Anakin in the next episode — Revenge of the Sith — why would they change him back to the blue lightsaber? He lost his blue lightsaber, and he was thrown a green lightsaber, in all the chaos of the Jedi coming in to help Padmé, Obi Wan and Anakin. Why else would they change the color of the lightsaber back to blue? Oh! But, I remember how I know, now. Z has these Star Wars books, and I remember reading that blue is the lower level of skills for a Jedi, and green is a higher level, and what determines the color are the crystals that they use to light up the lightsaber — the crystals are what ignite the blade.”
Z: “I still disagree, because, if L is saying that a blue lightsaber is more not talented, and green is more talented, she’s making a mix, because it’s supposed to be by Padawan, Jedi, Jedi Master, and all sorts of other ones. And if she thought that green was more talented than blue, then Anakin wouldn’t be more talented because he lost his lightsaber in the machine-thing, where there were battle droids.”
(My oldest daughter, C, chimes in.)
C: “I have a question for Miss Lightsaber Expert. So, if green and blue are different levels, then first of all what is purple, and second, why don’t the Sith have different colors — they have all red?”
L: “Well, I have to admit I do not know what purple is. I do know that Mace Windu is the only one to ever have a purple lightsaber, and the answer to the second question — I don’t really know why the Sith have only red lightsabers, but why would they have different color lightsabers for the light side instead of all of them being blue, green, or purple?” Did you know Mace Windu asked if he could come back as a ghost or something?”
C: ” I actually think that other people have had purple lightsabers, not main characters, just a couple of other Jedi. Maybe purple is just the color of awesome.”
Z: “Actually, never mind. I still disagree, but I don’t want to fight anymore.”
(Dad is reading on Wookieepedia, and chimes in.)
Dad: “Do you want to know why they’re different colors?”
Z: “Wait, I know the answer. They have different colored lightsabers because they have different crystals with different colors, so that’s how the blade has different colors.
Dad: That’s correct. It has nothing to do with levels.
Z: *does a crazy dance around the room, and yells, “Yes, Yes, Yes!”*
Dad: “However the Sith’s lightsabers are all in the red range — could be red, could be orange, could be magenta…”
*everyone sighs and is sick of the lightsaber discussion* I move on.
Do you think Darth Vader was a good guy who was turned bad, or a bad guy who was turned good, and why?
C: “Both. He was a good guy who was turned bad, and then he turned good. Well, he didn’t really turn good, so much as he had the motivation to turn good. I guess that is turning good.”
L: “In his heart, I think he was always a good guy inside, because I don’t think he ever turned bad in his heart — it was because he was angry about what happened with Padmé, and he felt the best way to handle his anger was to turn to the dark side. He thought that anger meant that he was a bad person and that he should turn to the dark side, but Jedi can be angry too — they just don’t let it overwhelm all their feelings for everything else. And I don’t think he wanted power, Palpatine wanted power, Darth Vader was just angry. Vader was just serving Palpatine, and doing what he wanted Vader to do. People mostly thought that Vader had the most power over everyone, but Vader was just Palpatine’s puppet “
Z: “I think both, because when Vader was young, he wanted to be a Jedi. In Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, Anakin doesn’t listen to Obi Wan Kenobe — Anakin listens to Chancellor Palpatine, because Anakin thinks he’s a good man. In Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine told Anakin that they should become Sith Lords, because Palpatine thought Anakin was a powerful Jedi. In Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader threw the Emperor and Luke got saved; Anakin turned into a ghost and he wasn’t Darth Vader.”
C: “I don’t think it’s as simple as that. I think he was a person who was misled in some ways, and no person is innately bad or good.”
L: “Technically, Darth Vader joined the dark side for Padmé, because he had the dream about how Padmé would die having their baby. Little did he know, that was because he was going to turn to the dark side. And he joined the dark side because Palpatine said that he had the power to save Padmé from dying.”
C: “I have something to add though, I think it depends on the perspective you’re coming from. Say the families of the people who he killed as Darth Vader. They’re not going to go, “Yay! He turned good in the end!” That’s not going to make anything better. But, when you see the whole story from beginning to end, that’s when you start to have sympathy for him.”
Who was your favorite bad character and why do you think he/she was bad?
Z: “My favorite bad guy is Darth Maul. I like Darth Maul because he has a two-bladed lightsaber. I like that because no other Sith has one in the movies. He was bad because — this is just a guess — because he didn’t like his master, Qui-Gon.”
Me: “Why didn’t he like his master?”
Z: “Because I read a book, and it said that Darth Maul didn’t like Qui-Gon because he didn’t treat Maul well. Maul changed to the dark side because he wanted to get taught more, so he could be stronger, better, more powerful.”
L: “I’ve been thinking about this since I was brushing my teeth…”
Me: “Does anyone know why the dog is panting?”
Dad: “No. She’s been panting and staring at me.”
L: “Crickets.” (We’ve been suffering a cricket invasion at our house.)
L: “I have chosen. Technically, before Han Solo met Luke Skywalker and Leia, he was a bad guy, because he was smuggling things for Jabba.”
Z: “Mom, who’s L’s bad guy?”
Me: “Han Solo.”
Z: “Han Solo’s not a bad guy!”
L: “Han Solo is my favorite bad guy because of how he’s so sneaky with how he gets around, without getting caught.”
C: “I guess it would be Han Solo. I did like Anakin in the beginning — before he was starting to become [a bad guy], they were hinting it, but then I got bored with him.”
Why do you love the Star Wars films so much?
L: “I love them because of the lessons that the whole Star Wars series as one teaches. Jedi are selfless and they are trying to save the world from the Sith, who are trying to have power and hurt others. Jedi would gladly sacrifice themselves for others if it meant that others would survive, even if they themselves did not. The problem with Anakin, which helps teach the lesson, is that in Revenge of the Sith, he thought too much about himself, and his feelings, and not enough about other people’s’ feelings and the other people that are being killed, which is not how your feelings are supposed to work — as a Jedi. Every day when I go to school and new people see my Star Wars shoes, they ask me, “You like Star Wars?” like they can’t believe it that a girl likes Star Wars. Other people that have not watched Star Wars think that it’s all about the fighting, the violence and the killing, but it’s really not. It’s more of a series that’s for all different ages of people, old and young, that teaches a lesson. Most shows that adults watch do not have lessons, because I think the creators of TV shows and movies think more about the story in general, and not about the lesson or the moral that should be learned when you watch them. And that’s why I really love Star Wars!”
(*L could easily go on about this for an hour*)
Z: “I like Star Wars because there’s cool planets that have creative names, and I like how people go on adventures. I like the different weapons they made up, like lightsabers and that thing Chewbacca has, that looks like a bow and arrow, but it’s like a gun. I’m interested in seeing the new characters in The Force Awakens.
Stars Wars has cool things like shirts, shoes, toys and pajamas, that make me think of Star Wars in real life. They have cartoons like Lego Star Wars that are really funny.”
C: “I’m not as obsessed as they are, but I do enjoy watching it. I guess because I like watching Science Fiction in general, and it’s entertaining.”