There’s a new “Star Wars” movie coming out.
As a proud nerdy parent, I’ve been showing my kids “Star Wars” since before they could talk. Reading them Little Golden Books versions of the saga. Quizzing them on the names of Princess Leia, Greedo and Lando Calrissian. Buying them loads of “Star Wars” toys and donating my own action figures to the cause.
So they know “Star Wars.”
But they’ve never really experienced “Star Wars.” Our oldest, Sam, will turn 6 by the time “The Rise of Skywalker” releases in theaters later this month. He’s surely seen all the films in the saga (we skipped “Rogue One,” which is a little darker than the rest), but he wasn’t the kind of kid to sit still and watch a space opera for a couple hours at a time, even if it was full of lightsabers and spaceships.
But now I’m ready to share my love of “Star Wars” with the little man.
Here’s where I admit something: Despite my efforts to indoctrinate Sam into the cult of “Star Wars,” his interest has only ever been passing. (There was a time when he was obsessed with “The Force Awakens,” but that might’ve been because he was imitating his father.) He had the stuff. And he knew I liked it. And he was interested.
But since we started watching the films, he’s become obsessed.
We’ve watched them in what’s called Machete Order, a specific sequence proposed by a nerdy blog. It’s the best way to introduce someone to the films. In short, watching them in episode order (starting with the turn-of-the-century prequels) can be confusing, and it’s best to watch them starting with the original trilogy.
First you watch Episodes IV and V, and then, after learning about Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker’s relationship, you do a flashback and watch Episodes II and III. (You skip Episode I because it introduces a series of confusing characters and plot elements that turn out not to be all that relevant.) After flashing forward to VI, you close out with the newest trilogy: VII, VIII and (soon) IX.
Now that we’ve sat down and watched them all, Sam is way, way into “Star Wars.”
Every day, he asks when we can watch the next movie. Every day, he goes into his room and stages epic battles between an army of Stormtroopers and the Rebels. (Sometimes, Vader even switches sides to be a good guy.) Every day for the last week, we’ve staged lengthy lightsaber battles in the hallway, just like Luke and Vader. (Say a prayer for my bruised knuckles and shins — that kid is vicious.)
On days off around Thanksgiving, he constantly begged me to come play with his action figures.
I’m more than happy to oblige.
And now I’m living the parenting dream: Playing with toys again. Setting up massive space battles and plotting invasion plans. Finding out how to rescue the good guys who have been captured.
And I’m doing it with the best little buddy I could ask for.
Maybe “Star Wars” is a weird family tradition to have, but it feels like a good one to pass down. Watching these films is a good way to learn about good and evil, being loyal to your friends, overcoming fear, striving for victory in the face of overwhelming odds and the value of hope. My kids will appreciate all of that someday. But for now, we’ll continue to have legendary lightsaber battles all over the house.
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Bruce Wayne, a miniature Dachshund dressed as Yoda is held by Kim Phillips, dressed as a Chewbacca, and Brody Phillips dressed as Darth Vader attend the eighth annual Growl-O-Ween sponsored by Three Dog Bakery and Spaw at Midtown Crossing, near 32nd and Farnam Streets in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday, October 24, 2015.
Zach Blum, 10, of Ralston, prepares to high-five Darth Vader during the Ralston Parade on Thursday. Several Star Wars characters including Imperial Storm Troopers, bounty hunters and Jedi marched in the parade.
His backpack's got jets, as Boba Fett, left, and Jango Fett, both characters from the Star Wars films, walk with other characters from the 501st Legion in the parade Saturday.
Aaron Hlavaty, of Lincoln, Nebraska, cradles his corn head topped with a Darth Vader mask alongside Jason Lush of Papillion, Nebraska, dressed as a Star Wars Stormtrooper during pregame festivities. The Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Iowa Hawkeyes play a college football game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015.
Nickie Bonar, of Omaha, Nebraska, dressed as Darth Traya from the Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II, alongside Tim Lynn, of Nebraska City, Nebraska, dressed as a snowtrooper with Cub Scout Pack 558 march east on Capitol Avenue as thousands line the streets during the SeptemberFest Labor Day Parade in Omaha on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017.
Robert Peterson of Lincoln, Nebraska, left, waits with Rony Ortega of Omaha, Nebraska, at the Drury Inn in Columbia, Missouri, before heading toward the pre-game festivities in Columbia on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2009. Peterson created the NU Darth Vader outfit with a garage sale find and red electrical tape.
Christian Mercado of Omaha with the Central Garrison of the 501st Legion is dressed as the Star Wars character 0-0-0 (Triple Zero) and rocking out robot style with the members of Omaha Street Percussion at the 2017 Walk and Roll for Disabilities held at Oak View Mall, 3001 S. 144th Street in Omaha, Nebraska, on Sunday, March 5, 2017. This year the event had approximately 500 walkers and raised around $45,000. Sponsored by the Meyer Foundation for Disabilities, the money will be used for the Thursday night programming at MMI, which provides recreational opportunities for adults older than 21, and also provides respite for their family members if the individual is still living at home.
Shane Schillerberg, dressed as Boba Fett, and other people who threw out a ceremonial first pitch pose for a group photo before the game. The Omaha Storm Chasers played a baseball game against the Iowa Cubs and hosted Star Wars Night at Werner Park in Papillion, Nebraska, on May 6, 2016.
Ed Barta helps his son, Nolan Barta, 4, greet Darth Vader before the game. The Omaha Storm Chasers played a baseball game against the Iowa Cubs and hosted Star Wars Night at Werner Park in Papillion, Nebraska, on May 6, 2016.
Misty Roller, left, helps John Jaeckel into his Storm Trooper uniform. Alvin Garcia Flores, a 4th-grade student at Gateway Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska, received a 3D-printed bionic arm from Limbitless Solutions, which was delivered by volunteers from the 501st Legion, the national fan organization for Star Wars bad guys on January 14, 2016.
Heather Tomasello of Omaha, dressed as Ooogie Boogie from the movie Nightmare Before Christmas, with her son Balin Tomasellos, 5, dressed as Luke as a Storm Trooper at O Comic Con held at t the Mid-America Center, One Arena Way in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Sunday, May 31, 2015.
From left: Ezekiel Pruitt, 6, Rue Pruitt, 4, J.T. Pruitt, 7, all of Ashland, Nebraska. Dean Vanek is dressed as a Jedi, John Jaeckel is dressed as a Storm Trooper and Christian Mercado is dressed as a Protocol Droid. Inside the W. Dale Clark Library, Star Wars characters visited with kids during the Wells Fargo Family Festival, a holiday celebration held at locations throughout the downtown Omaha, Nebraska, on Sunday, December 6, 2015.
A storm trooper lurks in a IT department cubicle at Senior Marketing Sales, 8420 West Dodge Road, in Omaha, Nebraska, where the entire office is gearing up to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Star Wars-style on Tuesday, March 15, 2016.
A life-size Darth Vader sporting a St. Patrick's Day hat and glasses stands behind a cartload of computer parts in the IT department at Senior Marketing Sales, 8420 West Dodge Road, in Omaha, Nebraska, where the entire office is gearing up to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Star Wars-style on Tuesday, March 15, 2016.
Jason Schuett, right, gets a hug during the Santa Goes to Space event on Saturday, December 5, 2015, at the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland, Nebraska. The event featured astronaut Clayton Anderson, Storm Troopers, and photos with Santa.
Star Wars storm troopers may have access to the latest tie fighter vehicles but none can compare to a pony in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday April 2009. The Lincoln Children's Museum held Super Hero Day. Kids got to meet their favorite super heroes including Iron Man, Spider-Man and Star Wars characters.
Conner Kellog, 15, center, plays Guitar Hero 3 with storm troopers Ian Musgrave, 22, right, and Matt Severa, 23, left, in the video gaming room during the Omaha Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival at the Comfort Inn and Suites in Omaha on Saturday, July 12, 2008. The festival featured a dealers' room, an art show, break-out sessions, a costume contest, and guest readings.
Santa is welcomed by Darth Vader and two members of the 501st Legion Storm Troopers as he climbs out of a DeLorean car at the Strategic Air & Space Museum's holiday affair near Ashland, Nebraska, on Dec. 4, 2010. About 700 kids and adults were on hand to see Santa arrive and get their photo with him in a jet. Seventeen members of the 501st Legion, including several droids such as R2D2 also stayed for photos with their fans. Jason Neurath and Todd Lauderbaugh are the Storm Troopers, Darth Vader is played by Brad Edmonds and Santa is Matt Anderson.
Darth Vader and a few storm troopers walked in the annual La Vista Daze parade on Saturday, May 26, 2012.
Colin Oestreich of Omaha, Nebraska, stands dressed as a Boba Vet after the regional chapter of the 501st Legion of Stormtroopers marched down Silver Street in Ashland, Nebraska, on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015.
Andrew Eisert, 16, donned a "Star Wars" themed costume in support of the many people in his life who have been affected by breast cancer. Participants in the 21st annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure gathered at Baxter Arena before the race on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. The race was the first event held at the Baxter Arena, which opened this month.
Beth Thomas, left, and her son Donovan Thomas, 18 months, of Papillion, Nebraska, wait in line to see Santa during the Santa Goes to Space event on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, at the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland, Nebraska. The event featured astronaut Clayton Anderson, Storm Troopers, and photos with Santa.
Alvin Garcia Flores poses for photos with Storm Troopers as he shows off his new bionic arm. Garcia Flores, a 4th-grade student at Gateway Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska, received a 3D-printed bionic arm from Limbitless Solutions, which was delivered by volunteers from the 501st Legion, the national fan organization for Star Wars bad guys on Jan. 14, 2016.
Darth Vader gives a high five to a parade goer during the Arrows to Aerospace parade on Saturday. The 501st Legion: Central Garrison featured a number of "Star Wars" characters marching down Mission Avenue.
Afton Palmer, right, interrogates Scott Meyer, who is dressed as Han Solo while Colin Oestreich, who is dressed as Boba Fett, keeps guard. All are part of a local chapter of the 501st Legion, a “Star Wars” costuming group.
A Storm Trooper takes time to give high-fives Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, during the Arrows to Aerospace Parade in Bellevue, Nebraska.
Eli Baumgart 3, center, his mother Niki Baumgart, second from right, and Zachary Baumgart 14, right, pose for a family photo during the Santa Goes to Space event on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, at the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland, Nebraska. The event featured astronaut Clayton Anderson, Storm Troopers, and photos with Santa.
Travis Zimmerman, left, from Lenox, Iowa, and a fan, talks to Don Bales, of Denver, Colorado, outside the Convention Center during Alphacon. Bales is dressed as a Star Wars stormtrooper and was taking a break from posing for pictures.
People lined up to see the new Star Wars Phantom Menace Movie at Oak View AMC and Cinema Center in Omaha on May 12, 1999, in Omaha, Nebraska. Devon Hargrove,18, waves a light saber with friends who spent the night in tents. The theatre left the marquee lights on for them.
People lined up to see the new Star Wars Phantom Menace Movie at Oak View AMC on May 12, 1999, in Omaha, Nebraska. A group of friends play Star Wars Trivial Pursuit while in line with nearly three hundred other fans. The tickets go on sale at 2 PM.
A line of about 400 people works it's way past Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Gill Medina at about 9:15 Tuesday night, May 18, 1999, for the midnight start of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace at the AMC Oakview 24 in Omaha, Nebraska. The earliest people arrived about 11 a.m. Tuesday for the show. Medina was working security for the theater which added an extra officer for the crowds.
Omaha Children's Museum reopened Saturday, Feb. 3, 2007, after new displays were added. Imperial scouts from the 501st Legion of Star Wars reenactor pose with Jagged Jaeckel, 2, son of John and Misty Jaeckel of Omaha, Nebraska. John is the scout at right.
Erin Halligan, 21, a University of Nebraska student from Ogallala, Nebraska, trains with Aikido dojo instructor Ray Silverstrand and wooden swords Thursday afternoon at Silverstrand's gym in Lincoln, Nebraska. Aikido students train and try to harness Ki, the same thing as the Force. The techniques for using a light saber are the same as using a Japanese sword, according to Jedi experts.
Don Kohrt of Omaha, Nebraska, stops to take a picture of the young Skywalker model standing guard at the full size mockup of the Pod Racer from Star Wars on view at the Sac Museum.
Taken me to the dark side I think my owner has..... Two-year-old Nase, owned by Chad and Lisa Scribner of Lincoln, Nebraska, is dressed as Yoda from Star Wars at the Midwest Pug Rescue's Pugoween party at Chalco Hills recreation area in Omaha, Nebraska. The event included a contest for the top three male and female costumes and the top two best homemade costumes followed by a bone hunt.
WELCOM TO WALMART, WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE CRUSHED? A storm trooper and two biker scouts entertain fans as 501st Legion, Star Wars fans made an appearance at the Super Wal-Mart in Bellevue, Nebraska, for an event celebrating the new Star Wars movie.
Landry Cormier, 4, dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi for his visit to Wal-Mart is a bit scared of Darth Vader as 501st Legion, Star Wars fans made an appearance at the Super Wal-Mart in Bellevue, Nebraska, for an event celebrating the new Star Wars movie. Landry is the son of Michael and Jennifer Cormier of Council Bluffs, Iowa.
This is a scan from a 1977 Omaha World-Herald file photo. From left: Characters from "Star Wars", Tessa Schultz, 8, is Luke Skywalker and her brother, Fred, 10, is C-P30. Darth Vader is 6-year-old Eric Swenson. Tessa and Fred are the children of Mr. and Mrs. Fred B. Schultz. Eric is the son of Mrs. Donna Swenson.
Amber Whelan, 108th and Maple, folds up her sleeping bag after spending the night in her car at Cinema Center waiting for tickets to Star Wars movie. The theatre gave her and Rob Williams another friend the leftover popcorn after the last movie.
Amber Whelan, left, and Rob Williams, wait outside the CINEMA Center for tickets for the new Star Wars movie. The waited all night and slept in their respective cars.
A storm trooper stands guard during the Ralston 4th of July parade July 4, 2007 in Ralston, Nebraska.
Ed Journey of St. Louis, Missouri, drove to Omaha, Nebraska, to see the new Star Wars movie with his brother at the Oak View 24 movie theater Wednesday night. His costume is that of a "Mandalorian Jedi" with "Boba Fett" style armour from the original series.