By Aaron Sagers
Tomorrow, many of you will be celebrating May the 4th with screenings, drinking blue milk and regaling friends about the time you concentrated so hard on a bottle of beer, you could swear it moved a little. But for me, Star Wars Day might have to be spent on a therapist’s couch.
For as much as George Lucas helped imbue my childhood with magic, he also really screwed me up. Aside from lightsaber battles, force chokes and amusing droid banter, there are key moments within “Star Wars” that unsettled me to the core of my young self. In fact, it kind of makes sense that Disney bought Lucasfilm, because there are enough moments in the movies as scarring to children in the audience as when Lady watched Nutsy take “the long walk” in “Lady and the Tramp.” And since I’m all about oversharing, here are the top 5 “Star Wars” concepts that got under my skin as a kid, and the damage they did as a result.
(Note: These are from the original trilogy because, by the time the prequels were released, I was too old to blame all my issues on movies.)
5. Kissing Girls is Gross
Even if you’re a moisture farmer from Tatooine, it is not ok to make out with your sister. Granted, Luke did not initiate the kiss, and he didn’t know Leia was his twin sister when she dove in for a snog. Still, as soon as Luke figures out who his sibling is in “Jedi,” it was immediately squirm-worthy. Check out Han Solo’s expression when he finds out; even he looks like he’s about to yack when Leia plants one on him. Plus, a year passed between “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” with Han frozen in carbonite, and Luke and Leia hanging out a lot together. Ick. As a boy watching the movie, I already thought girls were gross, but if they’re gross AND your sister AND kissy??
The damage: I resolved to stay far away from all girls to avoid any potential sister-kissing … OK, it only lasted a few years, but I always remembered it anytime a girl I was into said, “you’re like my brother.”
4. Dad is a Workaholic Jerk
My dad worked a lot when I was younger, and I wished he was around more. You know who else’s dad worked a lot? Luke’s. I mean, he worked so much that young Skywalker thought he was an orphan. Luckily, he was raised by his uncle and aunt – who were then barbecued under daddy Darth Vader’s orders. Oh, and he likely did a little minor torture on his sister. Sure, Luke was blissfully unaware until he went to save his friends from certain death and then dear ol’ mass murdering dad tells him about their relationship right before cutting off his hand. As if that’s not enough, both his biological father and his surrogate dad, who also lied to him “from a certain point of view,” manipulated him into studying the career he wanted and go into the family business.
The damage: Fathers will always disappoint you and try to mold you into them, and if they work a lot, they’re probably building a space station to blow up a planet.
3. Little People are Out to Get You
This one is likely to get me angry mail, but bear with me. “Star Wars” provided a lot of jobs to the little people community, but it definitely didn’t portray them in a positive light. Jawas are rodentlike “disgusting creatures” who swindle and sell crappy goods. Ugnaughts are short-statured pig people who are surly and will dismember and throw away your favorite golden droid. (It should be noted that when I first saw “Empire,” I thought it was the Ugnaughts who blasted C-3PO, not a stormtrooper.) What about the Ewoks, you ask? Sure, they ended up fighting on the side of the Rebel Alliance, but these forest-dwellers were all too willing to cook up Han as the main course in a dinner honoring their golden god Threepio. And lest we forget, the Ewoks had some incredibly effective weaponry to use against humans available in short notice. Fast forward to the end of “Return of the Jedi” and the Ewoks are using stormtrooper helmets as a xylophone. Doesn’t that violate some wartime rule of conduct? Plus, where did the stormtrooper bodies (and heads) go? Yup, they ate them.
The damage: Little people might try to eat you (Don’t even use Yoda as an example to the contrary; he was a muppet). Actually, this one never stuck with me, but Rosie O’Donnell has said she fears little people.
2. You Will Die Alone?
Luke gets his ass (and hand) handed to him by Darth Vader in “Empire,” and instead of becoming the man his father wants him to be, he chooses suicide. But instead of succeeding, he ends up getting sucked into a gas port, and hangs alone from a weather vane. Although he does summon the courage to reach out to Leia using the Force, Luke is pretty much at rock bottom … or Bespin’s cloud bottom, as it were. He thought he had things pretty well figured out, and instead ended up a broken man awaiting his solitary fate. After accepting death just moments before, how hard would it have been for him to just let go? That’s dark stuff.
The damage: We’re all only one bad lightsaber duel away from utter disaster.
1. You are (Not) the Chosen One
Certainly “Star Wars” was not alone in screwing me up here, but the whole Luke Skywalker storyline is about an average boy from humble beginnings who grew up to save the galaxy. He also gets to learn super powers, carry a sword and get a significantly better wardrobe while also becoming essentially immortal since he can always stick around as a ghost. It is easy for a moviegoing kid to take that to heart – until, that is, you realize just how unremarkable you are. You can’t do everything, you won’t be able to move stuff with your mind and you likely won’t become president of the Jedi Council. Most of the time you end up just fighting yourself, like in your own existential Dark Side Cave. Hell, not even Luke was really the chosen one. When Obi-Wan said, “That boy is our last hope” in “The Empire Strikes Back,” Yoda snaps back with, “No, there is another.”
The damage: You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake – even on Hoth. On the upside, once you realize this, you can give up hopes to become a hero and settle for the role of bad-boy scoundrel.
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