Parents try, with varying degrees of success, to shape our kids’ pop culture tastes. For many a geek mom and dad, this extends to Halloween — or as I like to call it, a day of nationally sanctioned cosplay.

Of course, even the gentlest suggestion is a form of projecting. (“What’s not to like about this Wolverine costume?”) But even if they bite, it’s only a matter of time before they start, you know, thinking for themselves.

My son and I were on the same page when he first discovered the original Star Wars trilogy a few years ago. He latched onto those movies in a major way and displayed the all-too-familiar enthusiasm that drove my mother nuts from roughly 1977 to 1983. In ways good and bad, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

Enter the Prequel Years. Slowly but surely, he began to fall for the despised “Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones” and the slightly less awful “Revenge of the Sith,” which he’s only seen in parts because of that whole leg-amputating, flesh-burning thing. These films are watchable only because Ewan McGregor did such a solid Obi-Wan, but they nevertheless became his favorite of the six. Anakin — I’m sorry; “Annie” — was his ace and there was nothing I could do about it. I let it go.

Or at least I thought I had.

When the annual Halloween costume catalog arrived recently, both kids dove into it and homed in on the good stuff. My daughter stuck with her earlier decision to go as Uhura (#win), an excellent choice that had nothing to do with me. My son went to the Star Wars section and we spotted a seriously sharp X-Wing fighter pilot jumpsuit. Battle of Yavin, yo!

Me: “This is a great costume for you.”

Him: “Oh, yeah. It’s cool. I think I want to go as Anakin, though.”

Me: “But it’s got a helmet and everything! It’s a little more expensive, but I don’t mind.”

Him: “It’s not that I don’t like it. I’d just rather have the Anakin costume.”

After my pitch failed, I had to accept that the Halloween costume of my childhood dreams was not necessarily his. Each generation gets to decide what it likes, and I don’t want to be the cranky oldster who can’t see past 1985. At least I could relate, unlike my poor mother who was utterly baffled by my tendency to say “I have a bad feeling about this” at random times.

Though Anakin strikes me as whiny jerk with impulse control issues, I sort of get why a kid would like him. He thinks the authority figures are holding him back, gets into trouble constantly, and reacts based on emotion instead of logic. From “Attack of the Clones” on, he’s essentially a big child with amazing powers and the coolest accessory ever. (And to be fair, Luke could whine a blue streak, too.) I also must admit that the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” series is good, as was the previous Cartoon Network show that chronicled Anakin’s padawan period.

So, fine. He gets to be Anakin and express his love of Star Wars his way. Mom will keep her comments to herself and let the youngsters take the wheel.

But I just might get that jumpsuit for myself. Dragon*Con is only a year away.

16 thoughts on “The Star Wars Divide: A Tale of Two Costumes

  1. Boy’s the same way. I recently gave my kids some of my old figures (okay, the X-men figures I purchased in college and some of the Star Wars figures from the re-release in 98…..what?) but his Clone Trooper figures are still his go-to. He does have an appreciation for the classics though. He’s got my Back to the Future series loaded onto his iPod and his reaction to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was “that movie was awesome Dad”.


  2. That is way nifty Erika! Your son’s and daughter’s choices are great!
    I actually love Anakin in the Star Wars The Clone Wars cartoon series. That show is FABU/STELLAR! : )
    And I love the “first three” movies because I adore Obi-wan Kenobi, I always had a crush on him for his gentlemanly charm in the “last three” movies mores so than Luke or Han. And when Ewan played young Obi for me it sealed the deal because he was yummy, and he also is quite delicious in the cartoon too!
    I also like the “first three” movies and the cartoon because the females are move involved, and they do things. All Leia did was snark and get them into a trash compacter, snark and get romanced by Han, and yes I was not impressed, and besides her there was only one female shown in power the lady who discussed the Death Star plans. I found that rather lame, why were there no females in the X-wings, they were all guys?!!!
    As much as people deride the “first three” movies I love them because there are female Jedi, and pilots, and they actually fight and do things, and Padame is far more nifty than her daughter Leia I would rather have her on my side than Leia any day!
    Star Wars finally made sense to me in those films, yes Leia does do things in the “Return of the Jedi” but by then it was a little late in the game for me to be honest, and despite all the things she does do in that “sixth film” all she is remembered and celebrated for is the Jabba slave girl outfit.
    So I say good on your son on representing Anakin Skywalker be he the film version or the way nifty cartoon version!
    Your kids are going to look great and have lots of fun! : )


  3. Those of us who remember seeing the original trilogy in theaters with our parents and other family members often regard those movies as somehow inherently “better” than the next three. But really, that’s just the nostalgia factor talking. We thought they were great because we were kids when we saw them. The latest trilogy has no different an effect on kids. If we’d been adults the first time we saw Empire or Jedi, we would have realized they kind of suck, too – like many comic books we read as kids and still irrationally revere as totally awesome.


    1. I hear you. A lot of it has to do with being young, for sure. I was an adult before I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark, and it wasn’t nearly as satisfying as it would have been if I’d seen it when I was 10. Nostalgia is powerful!


      1. Yes that is an excellent point Mars will send no more! My nephews love the new films more so because of all the different Jedi involved, the other day my four year old nephew told me that “today my name is Kit Fisto” he would answer to nothing else all day!
        (somedays he likes to be addressed as Batman) : )


        1. You have a huge responsibility as a parent: you are one of the few who know his secret identity!

          Our mother still remembers that we had a Star Wars blaster that made laser sounds when you pushed a red button. Because when it ran out of batteries, we would tear around the house making blaster noises on our own! And let’s not get into breathing like Darth Vader at the dinner table…

          Fond memories!


          1. The force is strong within you, Erika! We recently bought a Taun Taun figure out of nostalgia for our original. But the new ones don’t have the ‘trap door’ in Taun Tuan’s back where Hoth-outift Han Solo’s legs used to slide in so he looked like he was riding. We may be asserting that the new movies are equal to the old (as far as kids are concerned), but one thing that has deteriorated is the quality of the action figures. Most of them don’t even stand up very well. What kind of cheap figure can’t stand up? Many things have improved since the 1980s, but Star Wars action figures are not one of them. —Whoops we almost ranted there!


          2. I couldn’t agree more. It seems to me that the SW figures of old had a level of detail (and sturdiness) that is lacking in the new ones. You are a geek after my own heart. :-)


          3. I love all this going down the Galaxy far far away! : )
            I remember that my little brother ( he is now full grown and a lawyer) was enthralled with Darth Vader! He cared not a jot for Han or Luke, he felt sad for Ben when he disappeared but it was Lord Vader to whom his heart fell.
            My parents bought him the soundtrack and he would walk around his bedroom with a long bed sheet tied to his back to the Imperial/Empire theme!
            I thought it all hilarious, nifty and troubling, and to be honest I think that it foreshadowed his future career as a lawyer. : )


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