Protecting Our Children From Darth’s Secret (Star Wars Life Thoughts Part 2)

To continue my Very Deep Life Ponderings from Monday, I wanted to move to point #2. In case you forgot the important points Sarah & I came up with, here’s a refresher:

1. Boba Fett is THE HOTTEST character (possibly even more so than Han Solo)…but only so long as you ignore those silly prequels and their silly Boba Fett-backstory.

2. Darth Vader’s “secret” as Luke’s father should be protected from our children at all costs.

Okay, so we’re going to address #2 today. I know not all of you lovely readers have seen the Star Wars original trilogy, but you DO know Darth Vader is Luke’s father.

EVERYONE knows Darth is Luke’s father. It’s ingrained into our psyches…

But it wasn’t always.

When I was a kid, I had no idea who Darth Vader was, and I certainly didn’t know of his parternal relations to a certain Luke Skywalker.

And that ignorance made ALL the difference. Why? Well, indulge me for a moment as I share a story.

When I was at the ripe old age of 9, I was taking my first steps into vivid fantasy worlds thanks to Lloyd Alexander and Dianna Wynne Jones. I was HOOKED to all that EPIC-NESS that was happening on the page.

As such, it should come as no surprise that the first time I saw Star Wars: A New Hope,  I fell completely and irrevocably in love.

You see, growing up, my family always watched a movie together on Friday nights. Well, on this particular Friday, my parents had deemed it Time. Time to introduce their offspring to the greatness that is Star Wars. We would devote three Fridays in a row to watching the entire trilogy.

Well, Star Wars had me at “hello”. The music, the scrolling prologue, the DOUBLE MOONS ON TATOOINE? What was a fantasy-loving 9-year-old to do but let her imagination run wild? I spent the next days in a blur of battles against stormtroopers with an imaginary light saber in my hands…

But then my brother ruined it all, and this day–this BETRAYEL–will live in infamy for the rest of my life. I remember it all so vividly:

My brother, David, came home from a friend’s house (Brian’s, in case you were wondering) and cornered me in the front hall.

“Guess what. I saw the next Star Wars.”

“What?” I planted my hands on my hips. “That’s not fair! We were gonna watch it tomorrow as a family. You can’t just–“

“Darth Vader is Luke’s father,” he interrupted


“Yuh-huh.” A gloating grin tugged at David’s lips.

I felt the blood drain from my face. “No.”


“No!” My stomach heaved. “That’s…that’s impossible.”

“He cuts off Luke’s hand too.”

I shook my head. “I-I don’t believe you!”

“Just ask mom.” My brother’s eyes shone gleefully. “She’ll tell you.”

So I staggered around, screaming, “Mom! Mom!” Through the house, I ran–horror boiling in my throat–until I found my mother cleaning the bathroom sink.

Her head jerked up at my shrieks. “What is it?”

“Is Darth Vader Luke’s father?!”

Her eyes widened. “How…how did you find out?”

“David told me. So…so it’s true?” Tears were brewing in my eyes. How could it be that the wicked Darth Vader–the Villain to Top All Villains–was Luke Skywalker’s father.

Oh, poor poor Luke.

“David!” Mom shouted, flinging her sponge onto the floor. “I told you not to tell her!” She stormed past me and out of the room, presumably to punish my evil brother. Yet all I could do was sink to the floor, hug my knees to my chest, and ache with the pain of it…

Darth Vader…Luke’s father…No, no, no…

I swear, all that happened. I’m not exaggerating at all (well…maybe a little), but truly, learning that Darth Vader was Luke’s father stands out as one of the most devastating betrayals of my childhood.

But nowadays, everyone knows about that familial connection. They know it before they see the movie, so the full impact–the WHY THIS MATTERS–just isn’t there.

Yet I want it to be there. I want my children to see Star Wars and become as attached to the characters and the story as I was…

The only other globally-binding story and betrayal that I can conjure–one that still has a “SURPRISE!” effect–is the Harry Potter series. Specifically a certain someone’s death at the end of The Half-Blood Prince. I won’t tell you whose death just in case you haven’t read it–I want YOU too feel the depth of that moment as it was meant to be felt.

But ten, twenty years from now, everyone will know that X-character died…and when that death comes, the readers won’t be as affected as they should be.

And it makes me sad. 🙁

So I ask you, other than keeping our children locked away, how can we protect these “story secrets” from them? How can we ensure they feel the full weight of these story-events?

Short of writing our own stories with our own dramatic turning points, I honestly don’t know what the answer is–or if there even is one.

Now, enough dramatic talk. Let’s watch this scene and laugh at how MELODRAMATIC Luke’s expression is. (I’m pretty sure Sarah and I watched it at least 10 times, howling with laughter. I mean, seriously, it looks like his face is melting off…)