Last weekend my son and I had the afternoon to ourselves. So we cuddled up on the couch, grabbed some snacks, and sat down to watch the first movie I ever remembered seeing in the theater: Return of the Jedi. My little guy is about the same age I was when I first watched this movie, back at the old Capitol Theatre in Regina. That my parents were willing to do this with my brother and I is proof of how cool they’ve always been.
I was a little worried about how he’d handle some of the scenes, namely the Emperor at the films climax, and of course the scene in Jabba’s palace. You can probably guess exactly what I’m referring to. The scene where Luke faces off against the Rancor. I did everything possible to prepare him for it, I described the scene, I let him know Luke would be okay, and gave him the option to hide behind me if he wanted. He handled it like a champ. He was a little distressed when the Gamorrean Guard was eaten, but after that he was right into it. He handled it better than I did when I was his age.
His next big moment of excitement was when Yoda vanished when he passed away. He was blown away by this. Then he started to get a little restless. He liked seeing the return to the rebel fleet, but didn’t get really into it again until Endor. He liked the speeder bike chase, laughing whenever the Scout Troopers crashed into something, and then he saw these guys:
Now, I know some people out there hate the Ewoks. Personally? I love them. These furry little guys can cause a distraction like no one else, and my son loved their antics. I also enjoyed them throughout the Battle of Endor, and they remain one of my fondest memories from childhood.
His last big moment of enjoyment came at the end of the battle with the Emperor. Vader, now redeemed, is dying. He asks to see Luke without his helmet on, and for the first time we see Vader not as the evil imperial killing machine, but as a broken and dying old man. My son chattered non stop at this point, saying that now he’s a good guy. He picked up on Vader’s redemption, and the helmet coming off just confirmed that for him.
He’s now seen five of the nine existing Star Wars movies, having seen Episodes 1, 2, 4, and 5 previously. We’ll get to the others on our next quiet afternoon together!