Geeky Parent Guide: The Characters of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe

How old were you when you first watched a Star Wars film? Was it A New Hope or some other film in the franchise? As we’re in full "Force" of the latest release, The Last Jedi, the Geeky Parent Guide wants to look at the popular franchise that many love - and want to continue seeing more of in the future - and look at the wide-ranging cast of characters that make Star Wars entertaining for almost all ages. The films’ ratings might help you determine when you’ll find it acceptable for your kids to watch.

Rating of each film, in order of release:

PG: Episode IV – A New Hope
PG: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
PG: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

PG: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
PG: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
PG-13: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

PG-13: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
PG-13: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
PG-13: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

PG Rating, via Motion Picture Association of America: “Some Material May Not Be Suitable for Children – Parents urged to give ‘parental guidance.’ May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.”

PG-13 Rating, via Motion Picture Association of America: “Some Material May Be Inappropriate for Children Under 13 – Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.”

Now, let’s look at some fantastic characters from a galaxy far, far away that you and your kiddos are sure to love (probably).

First Appearance in Episode IV: A New Hope
Friend and Co-Pilot to Han Solo

If you can understand what this tall, hairy-from-head-to-toe Wookiee is saying, then you’re already ahead of the game. Although it’s not obvious to moviegoers what Chewbacca is saying, those around him, for the most part, have a good handle on his Wookiee-speak. Or sometimes, maybe he’s only growling. A perfect example is when Chewie plays a game with R2D2, with C-3PO watching, and screams when a move doesn’t go as planned – “He made a fair move. Screaming about it can’t help you,” declares C-3PO. It is a testament to the longstanding strength of Star Wars, where the inability to immediately understand a central character doesn’t deter fans from liking him or imitating his famous voice.

R2-D2 and C-3PO (The Droids You Are Always Looking For)
First Appearance in Episode IV: A New Hope
Intergalactic Droid Tag Team

R2-D2 is another character who relies on others to translate his beeps and boops. Much like the Wookiee’s angry cries, R2-D2 has a distinguishable sound when it comes to being excited or exuding some kind of shock to a surprising situation. Perhaps it’s the droid’s size, somewhat slow-rolling speed, and the never-give-up attitude during dangerous times that makes R2-D2 heroic.

C-3PO is a master communicator, able to speak in many languages and add a bit of snark from time to time. The longstanding relationship with R2-D2, much like Chewie’s relationship with Han Solo, provides parents a perfect example of how not to talk to friends, sometimes. This droid can come with some serious attitude, and its quick (and sometimes hostile) responses can lead to the two of them parting ways after a heated discussion or thinking quickly to avoid some Stormtrooper danger.

Jabba the Hutt
First Appearance in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Big Baddy Who Hires Bounty Hunters to Get Things

Sometimes, you can just look at someone in a movie and know he or she is a villain. It’s obvious as soon as you see the large, “slug-like alien” that there isn’t an ounce of good anywhere near this slimy creature. Jabba the Hutt is trouble, and visually menacing as well, with a grotesque tongue and drool that’s repulsive. Jabba is a staple to the Star Wars universe that provides plenty of unique-looking aliens – an attribute to this film franchise that’s been appealing to this geeky parent since childhood.

Maz Kanata
First Appearance in Episode VII: The Force Awakens
The Way to Find Luke Skywalker

One of the most intriguing characters is played by Lupita Nyong’o. Maz Kanata has large spectacles, wrinkly skin, and a seemingly heightened sense of intuition. Does she have special powers or has her experiences given her insight into certain things? “I am no Jedi, but I know the Force.” Such a definitive statement in The Force Awakens draws viewers in, wondering what else she might know. The mystery behind Maz, including her being in possession of Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber, solidifies her likeability – knowing there must be more to come.

Creatures from the Cantina
First Appearance in Episode IV: A New Hope
Fascinating and All Are Welcome – Except for Droids

Walking into a bar never seemed so weird and fun when watching Luke walk into the Mos Eisley Cantina. The upbeat background music in the cantina adds a welcoming quality that’s hard to turn away from. As I imagine my own kids will enjoy one day, I loved seeing a different alien in almost every frame. The range of different creatures, seemingly limitless, showcases curved-shaped heads, large or glowing eyes, furry bodies or reptilian-like skin, horns, lobes or no lobes, and every other distinguishable feature imaginable – well, except for droids, because apparently, they have to wait outside. This seems like an excellent teachable moment for kids to understand why the barkeep dismissed C-3PO, because he was a droid. Parents can take the lead to let them know how a simple action can be hurtful, and that being different doesn’t mean that your ability to participate or voice your opinion should be hindered.

Star Wars’ characters are reason enough to watch. They’re interesting, sometimes creepy, and have a one-of-a-kind feel to them. This quality provides an opportunity for parents and kids to look at a massive galaxy, filled with a wide spectrum of interstellar travelers, and come away with their own favorites. Star Wars is, or at least can be, a bonding experience.

Yes, there are amazing headliners throughout the franchise, such as Leia, Luke, Han, Darth Vader, Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padmé Amidala, Finn, and Rey, to name a few. In the GPG’s list of characters, Chewie, R2-D2, and C-3PO might qualify as headliners in their own way, or some will view them as supporting cast, and that’s what makes Star Wars have such a devoted fanbase. What one person believes to be a main character might differ from another, and that can be a great way for families to connect. Everyone can debate their favorites, but that doesn’t mean the other person is wrong – because fandoms live and breathe with the anticipation of waiting to see that character show up on screen again. This even includes a certain bounty hunter, even after falling into the Sarlacc in Return of the Jedi.

What characters do you or your kids love? Are you waiting for Boba Fett to return? What do you think about Jar Jar Binks? Please share your thoughts, and no, it’s not a trap – this is a safe space and share your beloved, you can. Let’s get the conversation going, and I’ll start.

I grew up a Luke Skywalker fan. I remember thinking Princess Leia was one of the toughest characters I’d seen, and I started liking Han Solo after he helped pave the way for Luke at the Death Star. I couldn’t wait to see Luke return in The Last Jedi, and equally so to see Rey in action – she is amazing.

Now, your turn. Comment below or share with all of your friends on Facebook and Twitter – and if you like this content and want to see more Star Wars on the GPG, don’t forget to like and rate (5 stars, please!) this page.

Until next time, happy parenting and happy geeking.

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