Monday, October 6, 2014

Garazeb Orrelios From Star Wars Rebels

Ansel has been resistant to all things Star Wars for so long that his burgeoning enthusiasm for  the new Disney incarnation of the franchise, "Star Wars Rebels," is slightly disconcerting for me.

His older brother was a Star Wars obsessive for several years, but mostly back in his early childhood before I started posting napkins online. There were many, many Clone Wars themed napkins, as Archer was a big fan of the earlier animated series by Genndy Tarakovsky. Those shorts were released on Cartoon Network from 2003-5 back when I was a virtuous new mother and Archer was not watching any television beyond the occasional "Baby Einstein" video. He got to know them later on DVD.

We conscientiously held off on letting Archer see even "A New Hope" (The original 1977 movie, for those who are not within the fold) until he was almost six years old.  This feat of superior parenting was immediately rendered pathetically laughable as Ansel, still a toddler, was in the room for that first viewing. 

During the period while we were admirably sparing Archer's tender young imagination from the overwhelming pressure of the movie itself (and sparing ourselves all of the "pew-pew-pew"-ing and "light saver" slashing that was to come), I worked hard  to find age appropriate books  that would scratch the Star Wars itch and provide Archer with enough information to allow him to keep up with his cool friends who had already seen the whole series of movies by ages 4 or 5.  I found the original manga series based on the first two movies, and we read the near dozen Dark Horse produced Clone Wars graphic novels by the Fillbach brothers until their pages fell out.  Archer knew as much or more about the "expanded universe" than most of his friends who had just been allowed to see the damn movies.  He was able to pick the words "Luke Skywalker" out of a dense block of text long before he officially even began to try to read.

Archer was further incited to encyclopedic knowledge of all things Star Wars because his best friend's father plays a not in substantial role in the Star Wars pop culture empire as a successful writer of reference coffee table books and fiction.  Archer could go over for an afternoon playdate and hang out in an apartment that had a life-size storm trooper lurking in the corner and an exhilaratingly extensive selection of action figures thoughtfully curated by an educated adult proponent of the franchise. The two boys had hours long discussions of the minutia of the various powers and fates of obscure characters.  All questions, like the correct pronunciation of the name of the planet "Coruscant" could be answered.

Spectating on years of all of this Star Wars obsession, Ansel decided he wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.  Ansel is usually pulled helplessly along into whatever topic his big brother is focused on this particular week, but apparently he had to make a stand somewhere. Dislike of Star Wars had been his one significant rebellion.

Beaten down by two maniacally contrarian sons and eleven years without a full night of sleep, I have long ago abandoned the parenting high ground of offering edifying age-appropriate books in place of television and movies.  However, I still find myself advocating for Star Wars because we do have several bookshelves of the stuff, and much of it is at a good reading level for a second grader.

Unfortunately, Ansel remains exclusively interested in "Rebels," perhaps because his brother seems completely unmoved by it.

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