If Star Wars were like Battlestar…

… Empire would end a bit like this.

Luke disembarks on the rebel command ship only to face a firing squad. He went AWOL in wartime to pursue a spiritual quest, handed his fighter to the enemy, and then gave the co-ordinates of the fleet to a known imperial collaborator.

Leia saves him by pointing out that executing the hero who blew up the Death Star would smash the morale of the rebel fleet. Mon Mothma relents and allows him a proper court martial.

Half the jury see Luke as a kind of messiah, half want him pushed out an airlock. Tensions within the fleet threaten to tear the rebellion apart. Just as sentence is about to be passed the empire attacks.

Luke manages to redeem himself by saving the fleet. Mon Mothma agrees to spare him on the condition that he stand down as Rogue Leader.

Meanwhile, everyone suspects Lando sold them out to the empire. Nobody suspects the true culprit, Threepio, who fell for the imperial propaganda line that droids would be granted citizenship under the empire’s rule. Artoo wipes Threepio’s memory to protect him.

There is no proper conclusion, and a bunch of intriguing mysterious stuff happens which is never properly explained.

The end.

A lesson from Star Wars

Salvete, readers!

Just a short post tonight, as I’m juggling a couple of deadlines and need to focus more on writing.

A few weeks ago, I watched Star Wars with my boys for the first time. This was a big moment for me, as I’ve loved Star Wars since I was seven years old. The kids were enthralled right up until the medal ceremony at the end. It went like this:

Master N: Do the good guys get medals, Daddy?
Me: Yep!
Master T: Even that guy? (Points at Han) But he’s a scaredy cat who ran away!
Me: Yeah, but he did come back at the end.
Master N: But the robots didn’t run away and they don’t get medals. That’s not fair. They all helped.
Master T: The princess should get a medal too, and she’s definitely not a scaredy cat!
Master N: I’m Luke.
Master T: That’s okay, I’m Chewie. He’s my favourite, except I can talk. RaaaAAAAAaargh!

There are a few important lessons here for a children’s author.

  • Kids will usually identify with the marginalised characters and the dorks, rather than the suave ones.
  • They also have a strong sense of justice and will call out unfairness if their favourite characters get short shrift.
  • Children can spot nonsense a mile away. Han is a scaredy-cat in Act 3. He’s willing to let his friends die to save his own hide—I think he mostly comes back out of guilt. But he’s uber-cool, so most of us still cheer for him.
  • Boys will absolutely identify with a female heroine until some idiot tells them they can’t. Kids are less worried about the gender of the character than their achievements.

Until next time,

Valete