Our boy watches Star Wars for the first time

My son Charlie, age 5, watched episodes 4, 5, and 6 of Star Wars with me and Elysha over the past two weeks. 

It was quite the experience. 

Though he knew almost nothing about Star Wars, he owns about a dozen action figures and received a Millennium Falcon for Christmas this year. He knew there were good guys and bad guys, but that was about it. He had sadly realized just a couple weeks before that the movie's title is Star Wars and not Star Whores

He was primed for viewing.

He loved the first Star Wars movie, originally titled Star Wars when I sat in the aisle in The Stadium in Woonsocket, RI back in 1977 to watch it for the first time.

Today it's titled A New Hope, and although George Lucas has tinkered with the film several times over the years, it's just as great as it was when I watched it as a six year-old boy.

The first picture was taken as John William's opening began and the famous Star Wars scroll appeared. He was saddened at the death of Obi Won Kenobi and shouted with joy when the Death Star was destroyed. 

When I told him that the next episode was titled The Empire Strikes Back, he said, "Uh oh. Doesn't sound like the good guys are going to win."

It was a tough movie for him. The Rebellion struggles throughout the movie, but what was most upsetting to him was the discovery that Darth Vader is Luke's father. The second photo was taken as that information was revealed for the first time.

He was genuinely upset. Confused, too. 

A day later, he asked me in a hushed tone, "Dad, will you ever turn to the dark side?"

I realized that this was the first time Charlie saw a father behave badly. It shook him to the core. 

Later, he said, "Dad, I think Darth Vader will turn back to the good side."

Of course, he was right. In Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader sacrifices himself in order to save his son's life and kill the Emperor. Charlie cheered again but was saddened to discover that Darth Vader was dying.

"But he's good now. Why does he have to die?"

Later, Luke cremates Vader's body. Charlie asked what was happening, and I explained that some bodies are buried and others are burned into ashes. Charlie said, "You'd better not burn me."

He has all three movies available to him now on his iPad, which is unbelievable to me. I watched that first film in a theater so jam packed that I had to sit in the carpeted aisle, and then I didn't see the movie again for more than a decade.

He has them at this fingertips.

He's watched A New Hope a couple times since that first viewing and still cheers when the Death Star is destroyed. I suspect that he may go back to Return of the Jedi at some point, too. 

But it might be a while before he returns to The Empire Strikes Back. Charlie prefers to live in a world where fathers never turn to the dark side and the good guys triumph in the end. 

Who can blame him?

A tribute to Carrie Fisher

I've always thought that Bruce Springsteen should be frozen in time. Not permitted to die. Experienced by all future generations. 

I think Carrie Fisher fits that category as well. 

Below is a moving, tear jerking tribute to her by the Star Wars team.

But anytime I see someone so young and vital who is no longer with us, it kind of destroys me. 

Star Wars will have gay characters. Bigoted heads presumably explode like Alderaan.

Director JJ Abrams has announced that there will be gay characters in future Star Wars films.

“When I talk about inclusivity it’s not excluding gay characters. It’s about inclusivity. So of course there will be gay characters.”

“I would love it. To me, the fun of Star Wars is the glory of possibility. So it seems insanely narrow-minded and counterintuitive to say that there wouldn’t be a homosexual character in that world.”
— JJ Abrams

My first thought:

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of bigoted, small minded, homophobic voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.

I love it when the news can ruin a bigot's day.

My son is starting to like Star Wars. Also, he calls it Star Whores, which led me to Ken and his dad.

Charlie is starting to come around to Star Wars. His sister is not a fan (only because the boys at school love Star Wars), so he has assumed the same position out of blind loyalty. But he is beginning to crack. 

  • He likes R2-D2 a lot. 
  • We are constantly battling with our faux lightsabers. 
  • He recently saw a photograph of Chewbacca and asked me lots of questions about him.  

Eventually we'll watch the films together and enjoy them.

Another thing that will sadly change in regards to Charlie  and Star Wars (but hopefully not too soon): He doesn't call the movie Star Wars. 

He calls it Star Whores. It's hilarious.

Out of curiosity, I looked to see if there is a movie called Star Whores.

Of course there is. Actually, it was the an adult sci-fi comedy pilot that never went beyond a pilot. The IMDB description of the show goes like this:

Follows the adventures of Commander Nymphette and her droid, Six-of-Niner, aboard the SS Deep Thruster.

Reading the IMDB page for this TV series is quite entertaining. I won't share all of the amusing tidbits found on the page except for these two:

  • The producer of the film is listed as "Big Jim."
  • Special effects on the film are credited to "Ken and his dad."

Strikes me as a tad informal.

For the record, I also have an IMDB page (which I rate as one of my greatest accomplishments ever). I'm listed as a writer for the film Unexpectedly, Milo, which is currently under development. 

I'm hoping that someday soon, we will move past development and into production. And with people other than Big Jim and Ken and his dad.

It's better to love because it makes you better than other people, which is extremely satisfying.

I have friends who didn't like the new Star Wars film. Despite admitting that there were moments of enjoyment while watching the movie, they nitpicked it to death after the fact and declared the whole thing a failure.

I think they're crazy. 

I embraced my inner child (which is admittedly a sizable part of my interior) and adored every bit of the film. It made me feel like a boy again. It brought back memories of sitting in the carpeted aisle at The Stadium in Woonsocket, Rhode Island in 1977 and seeing Star Wars for the first time. My heart soared at the appearance of Han Solo. I felt absolute joy upon seeing the X-Wing fighters fly into battle for the first time. I experienced genuine heartbreak at moments that will go unmentioned here in case you haven't seen the film yet.

But I didn't try to argue with my friends about the greatness of the movie. I didn't attempt to convince them that they were wrong. I didn't defend my opinion in any way. 


I'm always extra happy to discover that I love something that someone else cannot.

Never be embarrassed about the things that you love. If you adore the music of Justin Bieber, then the world is a little brighter for you than it is for me. If you think Taco Bell makes the best tacos in the world, then you have inexpensive, readily-available, world class food available at thousands of locations across America. 

Lucky you. 

It's a wonderful feeling to know that you're living in a bigger, brighter, more beautiful world than the next person. 


The trouble with Star Wars is that it was historical fiction

I know. It’s blasphemy to even suggest that there is a flaw in the first Star Wars film.

Still, there was. And it takes place in the first ten words:


In these ten words, George Lucas renders everything we are about to see less immediate and less pressing by the fact that the people and events in his story are ancient history. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia have been dead for centuries, if not millennia. They are historical figures, more distant to us than George Washington and Charlemagne. 

Though I may ultimately be drawn into their story, any dangers that they might face are mitigated by the fact that these dangers passed a long time ago.

Thankfully, Star Wars was great enough to overcome this flaw. Even as historical figures, the characters are vivid and enduring. I can still recall sitting on the edge of my seat as Luke Skywalker flew his X-wing fighter through that trench in an effort to destroy the Death Star, even though that battle took place hundreds or thousands of years ago. 

The story and character were good enough for me to forget the opening scroll completely.

Still, it was a mistake. No need to remove the characters and events from the audience any more than necessary.

Also, and perhaps even more egregious, an ellipsis consists of three consecutive dots. Not four.

Did George Lucas fail to hire a copyeditor?  

Was the destruction of the Death Star an inside job? Also, how did Luke Skywalker dodge the stigma of incest so easily?

If you haven’t seen the recent conspiracy video suggesting that the destruction of the first Death Star was an inside job perpetrated by the Empire, you should.


The video also got me thinking:

Luke Skywalker is one unlucky son-of-a-bitch.

In the span of just a couple years, his father tried to kill him multiple times and he fell in love with his own sister.

And I don’t care if he didn’t know that Leia was his sister. He still thought that she was hot. He still put a move on her. They still kissed. 

How did he manage to dodge the stigma of that so easily?

If I were Han Solo (and I like to think I am), I would’ve never let him live it down.

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The Wizard of Oz versus Star Wars

Late last week I “stirred up a hornet’s nest” by writing a piece arguing that the reason Hasbro markets Easy Bake Ovens solely to girls is because the vast majority of children who want an Easy Bake Oven are girls, and the company has no obligation to the minority of boys who might want one.

This was not a chicken-or-egg debate over why more girls prefer the Easy Bake Oven than boys (though some wanted to make it one). I was simply arguing the logic behind Hasbro’s decision from a business perspective.  

But the chicken-or-egg debate is an interesting one as well, and one worth discussing. In terms of why more girls than boys prefer this toy, I thought this TED Talk was the perfect place to begin thinking about the issue:

My million dollar deal

When George Lucas visited Steven Spielberg on the set of Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1976, he was so impressed by the movie's huge sets and Spielberg's vision that he bet Spielberg that the film would become a bigger hit than his own space movie that he was just completing at the time.

The bet was an exchange of 2.5 profit points on Close Encounters of the Third Kind for 2.5 profits points on Lucas's film -- titled Star Wars.

This actually turned out to be a good deal for both men. The money earned from Close Encounters of the Third Kind helped to keep Lucas’s studio afloat in a times of need, and the profits from Star Wars are still being realized by Spielberg today.

My friend and I have a similar bet. Several years ago we agreed to pay 10% to the other person if we ever made one million dollars on a single transaction. My friend is a landlord and property owner and I was school teacher with a dream of finishing his first novel.

It seemed like a great deal for me at the time.

When I told me wife about the bet a few years later as I began publishing novels, she was none too pleased.

Unfortunately, neither one of us has come close to having to fulfill our end of the bet, nor does it look like we will be doing so in the near future, but if I am ever required to hand over $100,000, it won’t hurt too much.

The other $900,000 will be comfort enough.