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The Heroics of Parenting

Discussion in 'The Mandalorian' started by Logray Ewok Medicine Man, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. Logray Ewok Medicine Man

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    Everyone knows that parenting young children can be one of the most trying efforts on earth. That’s why I’m so pleased to see Lucasfilm treating it so seriously these days.


    Before explaining this statement, I think it is useful to point out how Lucasfilm treated the subject in the recent decades, especially with regard to the Hero’s Journey.


    While the Original Trilogy is deeply concerned with the subject of parenting, the films largely disregard the importance of raising young children. The parents that raised young Luke and young Leia are quickly dispatched in the first act of the first film. While Uncle Owen, Aunt Beru, and The Organas may have reared the Skywalker Twins, they only factored into the Heroes’ development through their deaths. The critical parental reconciliation came in the relationship between Anakin and Luke (and indirectly with Leia). While I have zero issue with the outcome of the Original Trilogy, it did drive home the point that the most important element of a parent-child relationship takes place when all are adults. Anakin never changed any of Luke or Leia’s diapers, but he could die completely reconciled with them as a “good” father. Ben Kenobi served as Luke’s alternative father figure, but he did minimal work raising him, and re-entered his life on the cusp of adulthood. Perhaps the upcoming Kenobi series will feature this, but I don’t expect to see him changing any of Luke’s diapers either.


    Now let’s shift to the other great Lucasfilm franchise, “Indiana Jones.” “The Last Crusade” showed us a great father-son duo, but in the film we learn that Henry Sr. was largely absent from Henry Jr.’s upbringing. It is in their adulthoods they reconcile and form a meaningful relationship. (The “Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” does of course show some mildly entertaining adventures that the two had at one point, but it, too drives home the theme that Henry Sr. was mostly hands-off). “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” drives this theme home even further: Our hero Indy was completely unaware of his son’s existence until he is at the cusp of adulthood, at which point they begin a healthy relationship. (On a related note, I’m still hoping for a “Mutt Williams” Disney+ Series).


    Now let’s go back to “Star Wars.” The relationship between Ben Solo and his parents are absolutely at the crux of the Sequel Trilogy. But again, we learn that Han Solo was very “hands off” with the rearing of his son, and yearned to reconnect with him after he fell to the dark side as a young adult. Rey is adopted by Han, Luke, and Leia, but again, they connect with her once she is an adult.


    So while there is plenty of parenting throughout these films, we see minimal parenting of young children by the heroes of the story. Anakin, Han, and Indiana all conclude their franchises as “good” fathers, yet they barely spent any time parenting little ones. Luke and Obi Wan end as “good” father figures, yet they too barely spent any time parenting little ones. There is zero glory in these films for wiping runny noses and changing diapers. This isn’t shocking, as it’s hard to make exciting blockbusters featuring heroes caring for little ones.


    Which brings me to “The Mandalorian.” It is so refreshing to see the hero actually taking care of a little one! I haven’t yet seen Chapter 12, but so far this franchise is treating with reverence the act of raising a little child. While real world parents may not necessarily see themselves exactly as Din Djarin shooting off a flamethrower, I think most of us aspire to the seriousness he puts into caring for the Child. Part of this may be due to smart market research, as the original generation of Star Wars fans are firmly in middle age now, but regardless, I’m thrilled to see how Lucasfilm is now treating the subject.


    I would be remiss if I didn’t also give an “Honorable Mention” to Rey’s birth parents and to Shmi Skywalker in the films. While none of them are featured very heavily in the films, they do give a touching portrayal of caring parents. I’m hoping we learn more about these three fascinating characters in upcoming projects.


    In the meantime, I’m looking forward to watching Chapter 12 of “The Mandalorian” tonight with my little ones.
     
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  2. Baba_Fett

    Baba_Fett Clone

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    It"s hard to be a parent when you have to hurry up to be a politician or smuggler or Jedi or everything else ... With adults it's easy, they can fight next to you.
    Just joking :)
    This is a great thread and a great thought.
     
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