Wednesday, February 8, 2012

In the Beginning: The Induction of a Star Wars Geek

My wife absolutely hates all forms of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and it's all her dad's fault. He was a huge Trekkie and tried to indoctrinate her into a love of sci-fi, and it backfired. So I decided to take a different approach with my kids. I figured if they wanted to get interested in it, I'd let them. If not, that was their call.

Which isn't to say I didn't drop hints.

I wasn't planning on showing either of my kids the Star Wars movies until they were at least 7, because let's be honest: they're pretty damn violent at times. I wasn't even sure they knew there were any Star Wars movies, because I never talked about them. Then two summers ago, my 4-year-old daughter went to McDonald's and saw a Yoda toy that talked funny. So she came home and asked if she could watch the Star Wars movies.  Not one to squander such an opportunity, I sat her down and popped in Episode IV.

The one where Greedo doesn't shoot, of course.
I read her the opening crawl in the most melodramatic voice I could muster, and excitedly explained to her who the characters were (she was extremely interested in the fact there was a princess) and answered any questions she had along the way. By the time Luke and Han got their awards,

(and I pointed out that Chewie got snubbed)
she was absolutely hooked. She asked if she could watch more, so the next day we ran through Empire, and the day after that was Jedi.

The fourth day was the moment I felt true pride in my daughter's budding fandom. It was prequel time. Now, as some of you know, I abhor the prequels. II and III were okay in my book, but not enough that I ever bother rewatching them. But, knowing that Episode I was very much intended for a child audience, I poured just as much excitement into watching that film as I did the others (hell, I tolerate stuff she watches that's a lot more annoying than the prequels).

I hate you so very, very much.
I read her the opening crawl in the most melodramatic voice I could muster, and I saw her eyes glaze over as I started talking about politics, trade federations and blockades.

Bill died in committee.  Nobody cared.

I tried to excitedly describe what was happening, but she was decidedly uninterested. She sat there quietly for several minutes watching the movie. Right around the time they escaped Naboo and were thanking R2-D2 for fixing the ship, she turned to me and said "Dad, is it okay if we turned this off?"

I couldn't help but beam with pride. Grinning like an idiot, I said "Yes, honey, yes it is." I was on Cloud 9. Not only was I raising a fangirl, I was raising a fangirl with taste.

We moved on to Episodes II and III over the next couple of days, both of which she enjoyed. By the end of the week, she was a saber-packing, Force-wielding member of the Star Wars fanbase.  No really, she wields the Force:

Since then, she's watched The Clone Wars movie, as well as the first season of the cartoon (I've heard it gets pretty dark after that, so I'm holding off on the following seasons), and asks to watch Star Wars movies far more than she does princess movies. She rarely requests Eps II or III, as she prefers "the ones with Princess Leia," and the only time she asked to watch Episode I again was after reading one of her Learn 2 Read Star Wars books, and wanted to know what podracing was.

My proudest moments as a Star Wars Dad:
  • Humming the Star Wars theme when she's playing
  • Insisting the Star Wars theme be the first song on her birthday mix we gave to her friends as a party favor
  • Using The Force to open doors (thank you, handicap button!)
  • When asked who her favorite princess was, responded "Princess Leia!"
  • While at Disneyland, asked "Where's Princess Leia?"
  • After spending a week getting the full Disney experience, was far more excited getting her picture taken with the girl dressed as Princess Leia during a free concert in her school gym:
  • Made the connection on her own that "The bad guys have red lightsabers, the good guys have blue and green lightsabers...except for that bald guy! He has a purple lightsaber!"
  • Refers to Episode IV as "The first movie" of her own volition
  • While wearing her vintage Empire Strikes Back poster t-shirt to school (a family heirloom from her cousins), she was told by some classmates that "Star Wars is for BOYS!" She responded "No! Star Wars is for EVERYONE!"
  • At Star Wars in Concert, was too nervous to approach Vader, but got up the nerve to pose with a Stormtrooper for my sake:
  • Decided to be Princess Leia for Halloween, insisted she bring her blaster because "Leia doesn't use a lightsaber!"

  • When given the option of buying any one toy at the store as a major reward, bought a Han Solo action figure so her Princess Leia action figure had someone to play with.

Truly, the Force is strong with this one.

1 comment:

  1. Your little Princess is just gorgeous. I too am a Star Wars fan girl (in my early 30s), and I am this way not because my parents forced SW down my throat, but because when it was on I watched and enjoyed it, and my mum took the time to answer my questions and talk about it with me. Now I am by far a much bigger Star Wars nerd than my mum, who likes most things sci-fi, as I have read most of the books, played many of the video games, know ludicrous amounts of trivia (at least about the classic trilogy and subsequent events, the prequels don't count) and own a bunch of SW Lego too. My boyfriend and I will have to take a cautious approach when we have our own children, as he is a SW nut too, and while I want our kids to like it, I don't want to jam it down their throat.
    But, I shouldn't worry too much, how could they not like the greatest trilogy ever made...