These days, it’s hard to imagine a time when Star Wars wasn’t everywhere you looked, with a new movie perpetually on the horizon, and merchandise stockpiled in stores around the world. At one time, there was only the original trilogy of films by George Lucas, and after that, no one knew when another Star Wars film might be released. Kids today, having grown up with Star Wars being a constant presence in the pop culture stimulating their lives, won’t understand certain aspects from a franchise that is decades old.
Like that it got rejuvenated at all with the prequels, or how incredible it was to see computer graphics applied to films that relied so heavily on practical effects, or the significance of Darth Maul’s dueling style. The Star Wars franchise is changed by influences in technology and society all the time, so there will always be generations that don’t understand aspects of it, but luckily don’t need to to enjoy it. Here are ten things kids today won’t understand about Star Wars.
10 THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PREQUELS
Many years had passed since audiences had traveled to that galaxy far, far away when George Lucas announced he was filming prequels to his beloved Star Wars trilogy. For kids today that kickstart their Star Wars experience by watching The Phantom Menace and follow it up with the films in numerical episode order, they can’t know the level of excitement waiting for it to be released in 1999.
Until the prequels, Star Wars fans had to be content with what few novels, comic books, and video games existed to fill the void that the films left. They never anticipated they would be getting another trilogy, much less all of the subsequent Star Wars movies that it made possible.
9 THE LACK OF COMPUTER GRAPHICS THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY
Today, blockbusters on the scale of the original Star Wars trilogy involve a lot of computer generated content. From environments to characters, kids today don’t bat an eye at the CGI that has become de rigueur in everything from Marvel movies to the latest Star Wars installments. They’ve come to expect a certain level of rendered content to provide a much larger scope of world-building.
It may not make sense to them that as far as the original trilogy was concerned, giant Star Destroyers were models the size of microwaves, and that explosions that occurred on the Death Star’s surface involved fireworks and lots of models on ping-pong tables. Practical effects provide authenticity, but cannot always match CGI for scale.
8 WHY IT'S A BIG DEAL TARKIN & LEIA WERE IN ROGUE ONE
To kids watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, seeing Grand Moff Tarkin appear as an established supporting antagonist and Princess Leia in a cameo makes logical sense. Given the time period of the film, just before the events of A New Hope, there’s no reason why those particular characters wouldn’t appear on the screen in some capacity.
Except for the fact that Peter Cushing (Tarkin) had been dead for decades, and Carrie Fisher was decades older than when she played Leia in A New Hope. Therefore it made their presence an incredible testament to the wonders of modern technology, combining motion capture and computer graphics to create the longest time a deceased person appeared on screen interacting with living actors.
7 WHY THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY LOOKS LESS POLISHED
A peculiar thing happens when you begin a Star Wars marathon and transition from Revenge of the Sith to A New Hope. The galaxy far, far away suddenly looks pretty junky when compared to the polished appearance of the prequels. Is there an In-Universe explanation for this that kids would accept?
George Lucas addressed the issue in a roundabout way, citing that after years of The Empire’s rule and countless conflicts between it and the Rebel Alliance, that the galaxy has become a grittier, dirtier place. He compared the prequels to a brand new, shiny hot rod car that represents the galaxy when it was full of hope, and the original trilogy to an old beater, when it had lost its optimism.
6 THE LIGHTSPEED SCENE
Imagine a dark theater in May of 1977. On the big screen, Luke, Han, and Chewie appear fifty feet tall. They’re in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, and Han’s giving the order to jump to lightspeed. Suddenly the stars on the other side of the viewport rush past them in streaks of white, and the audience gasps in awe.
The jump to lightspeed means nothing to kids today that have come to expect a certain caliber of special effects in their movies. The sequence was cutting edge at the time it was made, and had never been seen on film before. It remains one of the most iconic visuals in the franchise, and a benchmarker for the future of science fiction films.
5 DARTH MAUL'S LIGHTSABER SKILLS
There are several reasons why the appearance of Darth Maul in the Thebes hangar at the end of The Phantom Menace was so important. Not only was it because he represented the only other Sith Star Wars fans had seen since Darth Vader and the Emperor, but because he heralded a new generation of lightsaber fighting.
Darth Maul had an incredibly acrobatic fighting style, in wild contrast to the styles of characters in previous duels that were based on the rigid and stiff method of Kendo and saber fighting. Kids today won’t understand why his new way of fighting was so significant (other than looking really cool).
4 THE OUTRAGE OVER LUKE SKYWALKER IN THE LAST JEDI
For fans of the original Star Wars films and fans of Luke Skywalker, the opportunity to see him in a new trilogy starting with The Force Awakens was a highly anticipated event. Seeing what had become of the last Jedi Knight at the end of Return of the Jedi was something fans had waited 30 years for.
The version of Luke that they got did not get a universally positive reception. Kids today didn’t have to wait decades to found out what happened to Luke, their theories ruined the moment he appears on screen. The altruistic Luke from the past had been replaced with a cynical Luke, uninterested in being the hero of a saga entirely devoted to the legacy of the Skywalker family.
3 THE IMPACT OVER CARRIE FISHER'S DEATH
Carrie Fisher had just finished filming her scenes for Episode VIII: The Last Jedi when she unexpectedly passed away from complications from a heart attack. Star Wars fans and fans of her body of work were devastated. How was she going to appear in Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, and would the film give her a respectful portrayal given that she was no longer able to provide input?
Carrie Fisher was part of the heart and soul of the Star Wars franchise. Many Star Wars fans grew up looking up to her. An outspoken personality off screen prone to colorful anecdotes and a dark sense of humor, she infused Leia with a tenacity and strength that was (and continues to be) a role model for young women everywhere.
2 NO SCENE WITH LUKE, HAN, AND LEIA IN THE FORCE AWAKENS
When Star Wars fans heard that a new trilogy of films taking place thirty years after Return of the Jedi were being made by Disney, they excitedly anticipated seeing Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, and the old gang come back together. They were palpably distraught when they shared no scenes together in The Force Awakens.
It was even more frustrating because Han Solo was killed at the end of it, meaning there wouldn’t be the opportunity for a group reunion in The Last Jedi. For kids that didn’t grow up with the characters, the impact of having such a scene is probably lost on them.
1 THE CASTING OF ANAKIN SKYWALKER
When news broke that George Lucas was going to make three new Star Wars movies focused on the fall of Anakin Skywalker to the Dark Side and the rise of the Empire, fans couldn’t wait. Finally, they would get to see how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, and what lead to the destruction of the Republic and the enslavement of the galaxy.
It all came down to the casting of Anakin, the central figure of the trilogy. Whoever was selected had a lot of pressure on their shoulders to bring Anakin to life and show his transformation. At the time, Lucas reviewed thousands of actors before settling on Jake Lloyd as young Anakin and Hayden Christensen as adult Anakin, a decision that many fans found repugnant.