My kids have gotten into Star Wars in a BIG way over the last couple of months. We watched the original trilogy together, then episides I and II, and we’re now working our way through The Clone Wars.
Like many people, I held a serious dislike for the prequels for many, many years. But The Clone Wars, by its sheer quality, in turn helped elevate the films themselves to a far more tolerable level for me. The movies are still not my favorite, but their contributions to the overall arc are at least watchable.
More than that though, as I’ve been watching Star Wars through the eyes of my children, I’ve been able to come to a sort of tentative peace with the elements of the movies that always irritated me. Jar Jar (to use a common SW lightning rod), will always annoy me. But he was not made to entertain teenager me when the movies came out, or grown up me right now. He’s for the kids. I always knew it, intellectually, but watching my kids find his antics amusing on a purely innocent level has helped me come to terms with it in a more fundamental way.
My relationship with Star Wars is a strange and complex one that spans decades. I have loved it, I have hated it, and I’ve been thoroughly ambivalent about it, at various points in time. At this point I’ve come to realize (and accept) that Star Wars not a franchise where every installment is going to be a winner. For every Rogue One, there’s a Phantom Menace. But when I step back and look at the mythos as a whole, I still find I have a lot of love for the series. The highs average out the lows, and we end up with a franchise that is generally, overall, pretty good.
And more importantly, it is not a franchise that belongs to any one age group, a perspective I feel I may have lacked when I was younger (though for the life of me I still cannot figure out who Rise of Skywalker was supposed to be for).