The Force is Strong in Him

My 8-year-old son has become a huge Star Wars fan over the past several months, without overt encouragement, as he’s now seen all seven movies, and the new Clone Wars animated series has become appointment viewing for us almost every Friday night.

He has three lightsabers, two of which he bought with his own allowance; Lego Star Wars, which has dominated his weekend Wii-time since Christmas; several books and graphic novels; plus, we were both eyeballing the Star Wars edition of Electronic Battleship a couple of weeks ago at Toys R Us, and he’s already asking about a Darth Vader helmet w/voice changer for next Halloween!

Interestingly, Revenge of the Sith (which I reluctantly let him watch after months of begging) and Return of the Jedi are his two favorites in the series; Anakin Skywalker — and by extension, Darth Vader — is his favorite character.

It’s been fascinating rediscovering George Lucas’ remarkable universe, that I was initially introduced to at around the same age and was similarly enthralled, through his completely unjaded eyes. I’ve even come to appreciate his take on Anakin, who was so clumsily brought to life by the lethal combination of Lucas’ hamfisted scripting and lazy directing and the amazingly awful acting of Hayden Christensen, but so completely revitalized by the voice acting of Matt Lanter. While Christensen was unable to convincingly portray Anakin’s tortured, fast-forwarded evolution to the dark side on-screen, Lanter is having a ball voicing the cocky, impetuous Jedi whose successes in battle lay the foundation for the fierce Sith Lord I grew up with, and has made me a fan, too.

Similarly, Obi-Wan Kenobi gets to be the total badass we only got glimpses of in the original movies, and many other Jedi have had their cool moments, including several for the newest addition, Ahsoka Tano, Anakin’s young female apprentice/partner. Best of all, the Clone Troopers have been given distinct personalities, with a handful being central characters with recognizable names (Commander Cody and Captain Rex are the main two), amping up the emotional impact of their eventual betrayal of the Jedi in Revenge of the Sith.

Of course, it’s no surprise that Lucas hasn’t written or directed any of the episodes of this newest series, despite the still-annoying appearances by Jar Jar Binks and questionable use of clumsy foreign accents for alien dialects. Based on a handful of the comics I’ve read — John Ostrander and Jan Duursema’s Star Wars: Legacy is excellent! — Star Wars is clearly at its best when it’s not under his direct control, and some of the greatest characters he created are arguably loved primarily because he killed them off before he could cheese them up too badly.

[Sorry, but Han Solo isn’t half as cool as he should be because of Lucas’ lame scripting. Neither is Indiana Jones, for that matter, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant.]

I’ve become a fan of several new characters thanks to my son, and fell in love again with some old favorites who were birthed prior to Lucas’ CGI heart transplant, but Boba Fett will always be my all-time favorite for many reasons, one among them standing out the strongest:

Lando Calrissian fell to the dark side
went on to hawk malt liquor
Sam Jackson delivers 3/5th’s of his lines
as if in the sequel to Pulp Fiction
and I find myself hoping
for Boba Fett to return
remove his mask
and look something like me

That’s from a poem I wrote back in 1999, “Refuting the Book of George: or, why one month a year for poetry isn’t enough…“, shortly after seeing and being very disappointed by the Phantom Menace. I was absolutely thrilled when Boba Fett was ultimately revealed to at least be darker-skinned than the average Star Wars character, not to mention the brother (or nephew?) of the entire Clone/Storm Trooper army! I’ve been buying the Dark Horse collections of the random comics he’s appeared in over the years, but I’ve yet to come across anything that matches the character in my head.

A few years ago, I might have been mildly annoyed by Isaac’s choosing Anakin as his favorite, but it’s funny how having a black President tweaks your perception of things, and enables you to be a bit more discerning about the battles you choose to fight.

Fett’s absence has been the only thing I haven’t enjoyed about The Clone Wars’ first season, which ends next week with the introduction of a new character, bounty hunter Cad Bane, who looks like a bit like the main character from the Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath and could be the intriguing Boba Fett-type character every new Star Wars generation needs. Hopefully he lives through the episode and reappears next season.

Speaking of intriguing [kind of random segue alert], my favorite blogger at the day job (Kiss My Aster) is also a big Star Wars fan, and this week she did a trio of Star Wars Garden Craft projects, including a Darth Vader doormat and Shrinky-Dink plant markers using the Star Wars font (which I totally stole for the Isaac-Youngling picture up top). The coolest project, though, and the one I’m most likely to duplicate, is the Death Star gazing ball.

Check it out, and encourage her to do more because I want some Boba Fett in our garden this year, but I’m just not that crafty!

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Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

As in guillotine. Old/new media pragmatist. Sometimes loud, one-time poet, still opinionated. Reading, writing, running, gaming, soccer, beer.

2 thoughts on “The Force is Strong in Him”

  1. Definitely. I watched the original Star Wars about 5-6 years ago for the first time in ages and thought it was terribly dated, but watching it with Isaac last year, it was like being 8 years old again and seeing it for the first time. One of the fringe benefits of parenthood. 🙂

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