With the imminent release of #StarWarsRebels (I do as you command Disney), we find ourselves in the middle of the myriad of social media outlet explosions over the show’s Disney Channel premier on October 3. We’ve all been slogging through blog post after blog post reviewing said Rebels, or listening to podcasts performing the same task. After all the discussions of the cast and crew of the show, speculation as to plot or Clone Wars continuity or just plain fan angst over a Mandalorian who spray paints as much as fires a blaster (you know who you are), I think that there is something that is overlooked that I had the fortune to witness yesterday.
Earlier in the week, a friend of mine sent me a link for passes to a screening of Rebels on Saturday, September 27 at a local theater. The girls & I jumped at the opportunity to go. Per the information on the printout of the passes, the actual screening would follow a time of Star Wars related fun, attendance by the Dallas 501st and swag grab. So, sabers & robe in hand, we headed out.
I had thought that this would be attended by many fans that were older, such as me, but I found that overwhelmingly we were surrounded by children (along with their parents). Furthermore, I was the only non-501st adult with any semblance of a costume (such as it is).
My kids wore their favorite shirts and took their sabers, but my youngest hid hers in the swag bag, while my oldest dueled with me while we were waiting on the show.
It seems that I have an eleven year old going on fifteen and a fourteen year old going on ten, but even my oldest was reluctant to geek out all the way in public (they both loved the Hera/Kanan tension).
Allow me to digress on a subject that everyone experiences. When compared to childhood, sometimes it sucks being an adult. Sure, there are fun things you can do that you can’t as a child, but there is a price that comes along with that. We work long hours. We have long commutes. We have bills. We have to maintain a household. We have to plan and cook, breakfast, lunch and dinner. We have to worry about staying employed during times of economic distress. A child doesn’t worry about these things (or shouldn’t have to). A child can find joy in the simplest of things. Sometimes, if we are lucky enough, we can catch a glimpse of that joy and recall ours from a simpler age.
And yesterday that is what happened to me. As mentioned above, I have been digesting hours of information about the new Rebels show. I bought the illustrated guide so I could obsess over the survival of expanded universe items into official canon. I read John Jackson Miller’s “A New Dawn,” just to get a taste of the new series. I’ve been engrossed in it as only an adult can.
And so at the theater I found myself in epic battles with little boys and girls in classic good versus evil style. It didn’t matter that their lightsabers were actually balloons, or that they weren’t dressed to the nine’s in authentic gear. What mattered to them is that they were there to see something from the Star Wars Universe and to have as much fun as possible. Suddenly, I was twenty-nine years back happily playing the bad guy in a make-believe Star Wars game with kids who didn’t care that I wasn’t some canonical character.
It struck me then. The best thing that we as older fans can do is make sure that kids get to have that same spark that we had. There is always time to analyze, over-analyze and even under analyze later! Rebels isn’t directed completely at kids, there is plenty there for us “olds.” Even so, I wouldn’t care even if it was, as long as each time the show starts up, it brings joy to them. Some children need all the happiness and joy they can find, and I think they will get it with Rebels.
So whether it was the red saber, cloak, eerily yellow, blood-streaked eyes or the years of accounting pain on my face, the kids were there to play and identified me as a bad guy. A bad guy who died… A lot… To balloons… Balloons wielded by heroes all saving the galaxy.
P.S. – Sabine was completely awesome, and you do know who you are…