CliqueClack Flicks

Where should Star Wars virgins start?

The question I have isn't about what age I should start my son on the 'Star Wars' saga, but at what point in the series should he start.

It was officially announced a couple of weeks ago that the Blu-ray version of the complete Star Wars saga — all six of them — is due to be released in September. Actually, we already knew the when about the release. It was the “what” that was revealed, which … well, wasn’t all that big of a deal.

I placed my pre-order for the set several months ago, and now I’m faced with the ultimate question (or, at least I will be once the set arrives): In what order do I show these to my 6.5-year-old son?

Funnily enough, as I was writing this post, a nifty new column over on (i.e., the new Cinematical) debuted, called “When Can I Watch ___ With My Kids?” Wouldn’t you know it, they started off with Star Wars. In this first post, the author recommends the minimum fitting age to begin the Star Wars saga to be six years. I’m not going to argue with that being a suitable age for Star Wars cheery popping, but I believe if you’re a parent, you’re really the best judge of this for your own kids. Really, don’t you think you should never sit your kids down in front of a questionable movie or TV show without first having watched it yourself at some point?

Something else the author of the post briefly hits upon is the question I’m posing to you here. In the article, it’s suggested that you start with the same movie most of us older folks were brought up on: A New Hope. Though I don’t necessarily disagree with that decision, the problem I have with this recommendation is that my son — and I’m sure many kids who haven’t yet seen the live-action movies — has been watching the animated Clone Wars series for a while now. Though I don’t believe it’s necessarily come up in the animated series, it’s no mystery to my son that [spoiler alert] Anakin becomes Darth Vader. And it wouldn’t take a whole lot of brain processing to figure out that this Luke Skywalker has the same last name as Anakin, sooooo … Empire Strikes Back: not such a holy-crapish reveal anymore.

The other issue I have with starting a six-year-old with A New Hope is that the younger the viewer is, the more likely they are to stomach Jar Jar Binks. I honestly believe there’s a chance my son will find the special effects of the earlier movies lame in comparison to current kids movies, and then may not … *gasp!* … want to continue past the first movie. As much as many of us hate Jar Jar, many kids love ‘im.

“Daddy, where’s Jar Jar? When do we see Anakin? Why is Obi Wan Kenobi all old?”
“Shhh! In like six more hours.”

Look, I get it: the newer Star Wars movies suck. We want our kids to embrace and relive the Star Wars saga just as we did, starting with the magical A New Hope. But is that what will work these days to ensure that hunger we had for more More MORE Star Wars when we were kids? Let’s hear what you have to say, and vote away in our poll.

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

Categories: Features, General, Polls

7 Responses to “Where should Star Wars virgins start?”

May 25, 2011 at 11:22 PM

A New Hope. Always.

Yes, I am a prequels hater. But honestly, the first original trilogy needs to be where you start. It’s the real meat of the story, and they’re all classic films.

May 26, 2011 at 2:15 AM

I had this conversation with a friend of mine after the last movie came out and how cool it would be to watch them with his son in order. At that point there was no Clone Wars series, so I just thought it would be cool to actually start with Episode I. I doubt the quality of the SPFX will be an issue because the original trilogy has been spiffed up enough (and probably has been again for the Blu-ray) to compare favorably enough to the newer trilogy. Yeah, they’re lame to those of us who grew up with, and started with, Episode IV (and even before it had an episode number in some cases), but I think for a kid, especially a six-year-old, it’s kind of neat to start at the beginning and watch the story unfold instead of picking it up in the middle. And he’ll forget all about Jar Jar once he gets a look at the Ewoks!

May 26, 2011 at 10:27 AM

I’d start with Phantom Menace. I don’t share everyone’s hatred of the prequels (PM was bad, but the other two were not nearly as such), but I agree that they are not in the same galaxy when it comes to quality. But that’s probably the reason I’d start there. Why build in the same disappointment factor that we all experienced?

Start from the (chronological) beginning, and by the time you get to the last three films, you’re appreciation increases, not decreases. (Especially if he already knows the big Empire reveal).

May 26, 2011 at 10:46 AM

You’re a terrible father if you even acknowledge the prequels. Let the kid find out about them on their own when they get older, and be there to console them about the trauma of the horror show that those films are. Start with a New Hope, and then be prepared to watch them over and over and over again.

Obviously the start of my statement is a joke, but only barely.

May 26, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Start with Phantom Menace since he knows about the Clone Wars cartoons and then use it to build up to the originals. Plus starting at episode one means you don’t wrap up his Stars Wars experience on a low note. I mean by low note that the prequels both suck and that ending with Revenge of the Sith is kind of a depressing way to wrap it all up. “And the whiny boy became an evil dark lord killing almost all of the good Jedis and his wife. The end.” Is that really the finale you want to give a little kid?

Also I don’t think your son would the original’s effects lame. They actually seem a bit more realistic looking than the CGI-fest episodes 2 and 3. Same thing with the Indiana Jones movies, the originals look so real, yet the CGI in the new ones just scream FAAKKE.

May 29, 2011 at 11:48 AM

. . . . .

I’m with Ivey. There were good things that came out of the prequels and they were all that hideous. I don’t share the same vilification of Jar Jar Binks that others do. Yes, he’s a throwaway character, but he isn’t the downfall of The Empire, for Pete’s sake. I’m pretty confident when I state anyone who’s seen the prequels has survived and their world hasn’t been shattered by the schlonky gate and abominable words and phrases of the character.

Back to the question at hand: A New Hope. Start him there. While I’m partial to the original order of the films as I saw them, I think this is still the best way to go. New fans – especially tykes – aren’t going to understand all the politics and convolution involved, nor do they care about it. They want the “shoot’em up” and the action and adventure that moves the stories in the latter three films of the series. While there are some pretty heavy ideas in the prequels (slavery, revenge killing, angst, more) kids aren’t going to give a hoot about that as much as they’re going to enjoy the excitement they experience from episodes 4, 5 and 6.

Oh … to be a kid again, experiencing Star Wars for the very first time. I was witness to it with my daughter … and it was just as much a thrill for me as it was for her.

P.S. It wasn’t lost on me, Keith, your post was revealed on May 25th, the release date of A New Hope.

May 31, 2011 at 4:46 PM

I think wondering if he’s going to be able to get past the cave scene in “Empire” is the better question here.

He’s seen “Clone Wars” so you should start with Phantom Menace. Or even better, just hand him the box and let him discover it on his own. That way he’ll never be able to accuse you of “making him” watch it in a certain order.

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