Earlier this week, Disney revealed that a new Star Wars Kids YouTube channel and website would be launching to provide online venues for younger fans to explore the franchise without slogging through the 2-plus hour long live-action films. These venues will be home to a new animated series of shorts called Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures, as well as other content meant to expose the world of Star Wars to those wanting to soak it all in. These are projects that are meant to help parents get their younger kids into Star Wars without going right into the long live-action films, which I think is a great idea.
I’m a Dad myself and my 2.5 year-old has thankfully taken interest in Star Wars without me having to force it upon her, so she has dictated how I expose her to all of the things that made me love Star Wars when I was her age. Luckily for me, she decided on her own just a few weeks ago that she wanted to start watching the live-action Star Wars movies starting with the originals, so I lucked out and got her right into to the best content.
My experience in getting my kid involved in Star Wars may be unique though, and I do admit that her age helped, because her infatuation with the franchise started through kids books, but she really didn’t give two craps about anything else until earlier this year. I started her on the Star Wars Forces of Destinies animated shorts, because I knew they were quick, and featured the heroines of Star Wars, so I figured she’d get into them. That she definitely did, and we probably watched the available episodes at least 10 times a piece, but out of the blue, she started demanding to see Darth Vader. I think like me she’s drawn to his costume, but I may have also been piping the Imperial March into her ears since birth, so she digs the Dark Lord’s theme song if anything else.
I decided to give the originals a try, because I knew she’d get her Vader fixed, but I was skeptical that she’d make it through a 2-hour long movie. Well, to my surprise she did, and has done many times since first starting her journey with live-action Star Wars. It’s been a blast, but at times I know she doesn’t really understand everything that is going on, and how the characters and world are all tied together. I’ve tried to explain the concept of the Force, Force ghosts, Sith, and Jedi in a variety of ways, and while she nods and repeats what I tell her, I know the message isn’t setting in, which is completely fine considering her age.
It’s this conundrum, as well as Star Wars parents who struggle with how to introduce their kids to the franchise, or even fans who wish their friends would get into Star Wars as much as themselves, that I believe Disney’s new kid-centric Star Wars series will be great for. I do believe, at least for exposing your kids to Star Wars early, that the children books available are a great place to start, because they can be digested when they’re very young, which in turn will imprint some form of connection to the franchise. But if you really want to get your young ones into the franchise, or those humans who have somehow ignored it for whatever reasons, then I think you should opt for the new Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures shorts, and their Fun Fact video companions.
The shorts are about 1-minute long and employ dialogue and soundbytes from the live-action films. Each one focuses on a major moment from the movies, but does so with a killer animated visual style that is hard not to drool over. Plus, since these could be considered Anime, the animation is also a bit over-the-top, making the iconic moments feel even more epic than they originally did. The visual design is just so unique for Star Wars, that it alone may suck kids or non-fans in.
Plus, thanks to their short runtime, they’re easily consumable for little ones with zero attention spans. In fact, I wish these were around when I first introduced my kid to Star Wars Forces of Destiny, which are great, but they don’t explain the core Skywalker Saga very well, and considering that is the plot arc that defined and kicked off Star Wars in the first place, I would have preferred my kid to get schooled in the main lore before exploring some of the new stuff, or even seeing extensions of moments from the movies.
While the Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures are fantastic to look at, and they do provide great recaps of key events and characters, I think the Fun Fact companion videos may be even better at exposing Star Wars lore to kids and non-fans. These featurettes employ the same visual style as the shorts, but they’re more educational focused. They breakdown a character all the way to their beginnings and show how they became who they are when we see them in a particular movie. They even provide stats for characters, such as faction, weapon, skills, etc. Think of them as animated Star Wars encyclopedia entries. They don’t really tell a story, rather they tell the story of a character, or in some cases, of a vehicle.
Disney plans to release the shorts and other educational Star Wars content from now until the release of Star Wars: Episode IX, but I hope they keep them alive after, because based on what has already been released, I find them to be Star Wars lore gems. They’re definitely great for getting younger kids into the franchise, as well as non-fans who may not care about ever watching the films, but maybe they’ll get into the shorts so you can at least talk about your passion with them without them looking at you like a total nerd.
I will also say that they’re great for hardcore fans, so give them a try and check out Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures and the Fun Facts companion pieces today! Make sure to stay tuned for new episodes!
How to Get Your Kids or Non-Fans Into Star Wars
- For really young kids, start with any of the Star Wars children books to begin the osmosis process.
- Once they get into videos, try starting them with the Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures shorts. If those are too intense, try the Forces of Destiny series.
- If they’re cool with the shorts and want to learn more about the characters, then move into the Fun Facts featurettes.
- At this point if you did your job as a Star Wars parent or fan, your kids and/or your non-fan friends may start asking to watch the actual movies.
- From here I suggest starting with whichever trilogy you think your could will enjoy the most. For me it was easy because my daughter just wanted to see Darth Vader, so we went OT. With that being said, if your kid is screaming for Jar-Jar or Kylo Ren, then go with the PT or NT. As much as I dislike the Prequels, I would have let my kid watch them first if that’s what she wanted, so don’t try to force a viewing order early on. If you’re dealing with an older kid, or a non-fan, then by all means bypass the prequels and start with the OT.
- Rinse and repeat.
“There’s always time for Star Wars Time!”