There's a popular myth that the Star Wars films are made for kids. It's only when you stop and think about the franchise's themes that you realize they may not be quite so child-friendly as we assume. Take Revenge of the Sith, for example, where Anakin Skywalker — the hero of the Prequel Trilogy — slaughters a group of children (Younglings) in cold blood. Or The Empire Strikes Back, in which Luke loses his hand and learns that Darth Vader is his father. These movies have some pretty dark undertones.
It seems Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi may well be the darkest yet. In fact, the latest trailer has actually warned that it may not be suitable for younger viewers.
Take The Warning Seriously
The Last Jedi may have the coveted PG13 rating, but that doesn't really mean much. When it comes to violence, the MPAA tend to give films a pass, meaning that Zack Snyder's disturbing and hyper-violent Sucker Punch has the same rating as Jon Watts's Spider-Man: Homecoming. So when the distributor officially warns that the action sequences may be too intense for younger viewers, parents should take note.
There seems to be an assumption that everything in a film franchise has to be specifically aimed at the children. As a result, parents were incensed when they took their children to see last year's Deadpool, ignoring the fact the MPAA had given it an R-rating. Incredibly, there was actually a popular push to create a PG13 version, just so the kids could watch it. As well-meaning as that campaign undoubtedly was, it also failed to understand just what kind of film Fox were making in the first place.
In this case, the assumption is a little more understandable. George Lucas, after all, had always insisted his films were aimed at children. When A New Hope was released back in 1977, Time magazine gave it a simple review: "It's aimed at kids — the kid in everybody." When Lucas launched the Prequel trilogy in 1999, he deliberately made the first film's star a child. His goal was to excite young fans, to leave children feeling that they too could be the hero of the galaxy far, far away.
But this isn't George Lucas's #StarWars anymore. The franchise has grown beyond him, and it seems Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi may not be quite so child-friendly as the films preceding it. Wise parents will undoubtedly take this comment to heart, check out the movie for themselves, and then make up their minds whether or not their child is ready for it.
Do you think the Star Wars franchise should be focused on the children? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!