As Father's Day approaches, one StarWars.com writer comes to understand that passing on what you have learned isn't always easy.
Trust me, a surprised “Oh!” isn’t what you want to hear when the ultrasound technician scans your wife’s pregnant belly. My wife and I exchanged concerned glances and then quickly looked at the technician. With a smile, she added: “There are two heartbeats.” Stupefied, I asked, “How can a baby have two hearts?” “No,” she explained, “there are two hearts, because there are two babies -- you’re having twins!” After the initial shock, which was followed by the news that we were expecting a boy and a girl, my wife and I reacted true to form: her with logistics and me with Star Wars.
“We’re not naming them Luke and Leia,” my wife decreed unprompted outside the hospital. I know a hopeless battle when I see one, and since galactic freedom wasn’t in the balance, I wisely decided not to rebel. However, it was -- as I’m sure the readers of StarWars.com would agree -- a missed opportunity.
Despite my wife’s short-sightedness, my head immediately filled with lists of all the fun Star Wars-related activities I would share with our twins: movies, TV series, books, comics, toys, costumes, board games, video games, action figures, clothes, LEGO. The possibilities were endless!
I dressed them up as Luke and Leia for their first two Halloweens; Lola was Boba Fett for her third. When they were four, we watched the original trilogy together, all three movies over a month-long stretch, in 10 to 15 minutes segments pre-bedtime. I know, sacrilege; but it was the only way I could get them to commit.
After a year of lockdown -- which resulted in me watching countless hours of the twins’ favorite cartoons -- we watched my favorite Star Wars film: The Empire Strikes Back.
It’s a funny thing, being a dad. You know you should meet your children where they are but often you really can’t help yourself. I wanted to share the things I loved with my kids, particularly the things I loved when I was their age.
In 1991, when I was a Star Wars obsessed nine-year-old, there actually wasn’t much Star Wars anywhere (I had been born a few years too late to experience the first wave of Star Wars mania). There were the original films, the documentary From Star Wars to Jedi, and the Ewok movies -- and that was pretty much it. In fact, the only time I ever saw Star Wars action figures in a store as a kid was when I came across a clearance basket full of them in a pharmacy. Star Wars merchandise was so rare that when I was in fourth grade, I sent a handwritten letter to the Kenner Toy Company asking if I could buy their old stock of Star Wars figures; I was convinced they kept a horde in a Raiders of the Lost Ark-style warehouse. Someone at Kenner actually wrote back telling me that they had discontinued the line years before.
Despite my best efforts, or perhaps because of them, the twins haven't embraced Star Wars as fast as I did. As kids grow up, they want to discover their own likes and dislikes and will define themselves partly in opposition to their parents. After all, I wasn’t interested in many of the things my own parents enjoyed when I was a kid. It’s only as an adult that I began to share my father’s interest for The Hunt for Red October and my mother’s love of Spanish cooking. “Every generation has a legend,” and if the twins’ is not meant to be Star Wars, then so be it. Theo and Lola were happy, funny, quirky, curious, and healthy -- I couldn’t ask for anything more.
A few days after we watched Empire, I wandered into the kitchen, half asleep, to brew that morning’s first double macchiato. As I assembled the coffee maker, I could see the twins out of the corner of my eye. They were in their pajamas, sharing a couch, totally ignoring me while they casually browsed the Star Wars channel on Disney+.
“Who are they?” Theo asked his sister.
“Clone Force 99,” Lola answered with all the confidence in the galaxy. “I read about them. They’re on this show called The Bad Batch. We should watch it, I bet we’ll like it.”
As you can imagine, my heart filled with joy. There was, after all, hope...
Need some last-minute gifts for the Star Wars dads in your life? Check out our Father's Day Gift Guide for a galaxy of ideas.