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How Young is Too Young for Star Wars

Both of our two boys (5.75 year old twins) have been begging me to let them watch Star Wars lately, Speedy in particular.  We don’t watch a great deal of TV in our house, trying to keep it under 5 hours a week of select programming, mainly from PBS (We’re big fans of Fetch!), and the occasional rainy day movie.  However, we’ve been on kind of an Olympic binge lately, leaving the TV on far more often.

The boys are at an age where they are particularly susceptible to commercials, not yet understanding the difference between the TV trying to sell them something and a friend showing them something cool.  The new Batman car commercial is no different than a friend in the school yard showing them a frog that they found.  Here is something awesome that you might like too!

Anyway, they have been showing a ton of commercials for Star Wars: The Clone Wars during the daytime sports which, despite some pretty bad reviews, looks pretty darn cool to an almost 6 year old boy.  They started begging Mommy to see Star Wars, which she then defers to the Star Wars authority in the house.  While certainly not the biggest geek in the world, I’m somewhere on the Geek Chart in the top 500,000.  Yet I find myself hesitating.  Star Wars is somewhat scary for kids.  There is lots of fighting, shooting, people being killed from a distance by ancient mystical Jedi forces, etc.  Speedy is particularly sensitive to moods and scary things in movies and has an exceptional memory for events and feelings.  He’ll fairly often say things like “Daddy, remember when we saw the Frog and Toad play and there was a Giant and Terrible Frog?  I didn’t like that.”  Which is something that scared him when he was three and  still remembers with no prompting from us.  He’s also obsessed with Space, and how much he wants to go into Space, float weightless, and be an astronaut.

I’m certainly not bringing them to see the new animated Clone Wars, but is it time to introduce them to Star Wars proper?

I was born in 1971, and Star Wars came out in 1977.  I distinctly remember seeing it in the movie theater as a child and my parents tell me that I was on the edge of my seat the whole time and thought it was the greatest thing ever.  I don’t remember being disturbed by the violence or killing, but I also have a feeling that I didn’t see it the first year it came out (1977), instead being brought to see it the next summer on a rerelease when I was 7.

I’m leaning towards breaking out the DVD and introducing them to Star Wars.  There is no way they’re going to see Empire Strikes Back until they’re at least 9 (Speedy will certainly have nightmares about being frozen in Carbonite or having his hand cut off…), but for Star Wars itself, maybe.

Anyone have some advice?  It’s rated PG and I think I need some “Parental Guidance” from other Parents who might have gone through the same dilemma.

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12 comments… add one

  • Shay August 16, 2008, 11:13 pm

    I think the first time I watched Star Wars with my Dad, I was probably eight or nine. I was devastated when the Ewok died in the last one!
    I think they would probably be alright with The Phantom Menace. I don’t think there’s as much action/violence in that one. And they’d probably like Jar Jar. haha. That one isn’t my favorite but I think they would probably be able to handle that one better than the others.
    I definitely think Star Wars is much milder in the action/violence category than a lot of movies but I can understand you being concerned with them not being able to discern what’s real & what’s not.
    I’m a Geek Mom (like father, like daughter!) so I definitely plan on introducing my son to Star Wars when he’s older.

  • Remo August 16, 2008, 11:36 pm

    Woah. That brings up an entirely different debate that I hadn’t even considered! Do I start the way I saw them, with Episode 4: A New Hope, or do I show them in chronological order?

    Would the truly classic Episode 4 (which I always just refer to as “Star Wars”) be tainted by seeing Episode 1, 2 and 3 first and knowing things like Darth Vader is Luke’s father, that he’s Leah’s brother, and that Obi Wan is far more powerful that he appears? And then that ruins the whole surprise that Yoda is a Jedi Master…

  • Rachel August 17, 2008, 3:19 am

    The first time I watched Star Wars I was under 5 years of age. My dad showed them to me and Empire Strikes Back is still my favorite movie to this day. There is no swearing, no gore, no sex and the adventure of it is quite exciting. Go for episodes 4-6 instead of the new ones. They are just better.

  • Remo August 17, 2008, 1:47 pm

    Yeah, I’m starting to feel the same way. Starting with Episode 4 is certainly the way to go. And as long as we sit and watch it with them I think they’ll enjoy it.

    And they’re still young enough to not be totally jaded by the outdated special effects.

  • Shay August 19, 2008, 1:09 am

    Hmm, that’s very true. I saw the original trilogy first (because the newer ones weren’t out yet) and they’ve always been my favorites. That might ruin some of the fun of 4,5 and 6 if you showed 1, 2 or 3 before.

  • Star Wars Fan August 19, 2008, 8:27 am

    It was the very first movie my mom ever took me to see as a kid, and to this day, Star Wars is my all time favorite movie. Hands down, no questions asked, no ifs ands or buts. I have known Star Wars all my life and there will never be another film that so captures the imagination, so changes the way we see film, and so single handedly can make a child (me in this case) fall so desperately in love with the movies.

    But Star Wars is also wise. Many important life lessons can be gleaned from its science fiction scroll of wisdom. If applied properly, these lessons can assure you a life of long and prosperous happiness.

  • costumesupercenter August 19, 2008, 4:55 pm

    The new animated one should be alright, it is very toned down compared to even the original Star Wars.

  • Liz September 1, 2008, 11:22 pm

    We just showed Episode 4 to our four year old son who was asking to see it for so long (also fallen to the comercials as well as the play of older cousin). My husband, a true Star Wars FANATIC, jumped at the chance and we watched it this weekend. I have been going back and forth since but my son is really thrilled. We both watched it with him, talked about the great life lessons in it and framed the violence in it (mild compared to other standards!!). We started watching Empire today and I was a bit more worried about that. I think I will wait and see how the next few days (and evenings with potential nightmares) go. All in all, episode 4 was the way to start and we are having fun going back to our childhoods too! Bring out the Halloween costumes.

  • Liz September 1, 2008, 11:25 pm

    One more thing..our son who is 4 (almost 5) recently watched the whole Lion King where we had to explain the “kill him!” and “murder” parts to him. We were concerned up until a few months ago about that! And in all honestly, Star Wars is not that much of a jump from there……that framed it a lot for me!

  • Finance Blog November 30, 2008, 12:28 am

    I don’t feel comfortable showing Star Wars at all to 4-5 year old kids. The story is cool for adults but a bit dark for little kids.

    But, that’s just me.

  • Sten E. Moe September 22, 2009, 10:03 am

    Darth Vader is Luke’s father?!?!

  • Chris Barry September 19, 2014, 1:59 pm

    You are NEVER too young or old for Star Wars, especially original trilogy. My mom brought me to a double feature of SW and Empire when I was 3 in 1982(3?), and I still can’t thank her enough.

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