Star Wars is not above criticism. There are plenty of valid criticisms against the franchise. Star Wars as a film, television, and literary saga does a lot of things very well, but there are also plenty of issues that still need to be addressed. However, one I simply can not get behind is the idea that certain elements are less valid because they are “kiddie stuff.”
There is nothing wrong with saying that a story is just for kids. But to use it as a negative against something or someone else is just wrong. Plenty of things are just for kids but are enjoyed by those of all ages. Disney, Pixar, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, The Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, and The Muppets are just a few things that are meant for kids but it’s not a bad thing. Just because something is aimed at a younger audience initially doesn’t mean that the story lacks any value or substance.
Recently, we had the second season of the LEGO Freemaker Adventures and the first installment of the Forces of Destiny animated shorts. I saw people complain about both that it’s just silly stuff for kids and wasn’t worth their time. People saying that these items are somehow inferior to other items or that the value is diminished based on the target audience is, at its worst, a way of gatekeeping others in fandom. We should not let our enjoyment of something be affected by corporate marketing strategies.
So, when I hear someone complain that some piece of the saga is not as good because it’s “too kiddy” or “they just did that to appeal to the kids” frankly I want to scream at them. The whole saga is meant for kids. Ask anyone on the street when they first experienced Star Wars and the overwhelming answer will be when they were kids. We are now in the fifth generation of kids that will have grown up with the saga. The stories of fathers and sons, space wizards, and space battles continue to pull in generation after generation of kids. I’ve seen it at Celebrations, in stores, and when out trooping with the 501st Legion.
I’m very happy that Star Wars has maintained it’s kid focus. While there are certainly darker chapters in the story, it always maintains a family-friendly direction. I would really hate to see Star Wars go the same way that comics have gone with superheroes. Instead of keeping the focus on pulling in those same younger audiences from each generation, they have instead darkened their stories to have them reflect an older, more mature audience. While I know it’s only one of many reasons, I can’t help but think this is a significant factor in why comic book readership has declined.
Star Wars as a saga is a lot of things, but it’s safe to say that there is one overriding principle behind it all. At its core, Star Wars is an adventure saga. It’s a fairy tale in space. Like all good works of art, it works on different levels, but first and foremost, it’s an adventure story for the whole family to share in.Powered by Sidelines