Deano’s answer to: “Why do parents let their kids watch Star Wars at such a young age (4-7 years old, for example)? Isn’t all the Darth Vader / killing stuff psychologically not good for little kids?”

My daughter is currently rolling along just fine with old Tom Baker Doctor Who episodes… Which fall around the same era/level of violence. Based on her total lack of reaction to the violence and “scary monsters”, I’ve settled on her turning three as the time most appropriate to opening the original trilogy can of worms.

Far more than the content, though, is HOW it is consumed. When she watched Ghostbusters the first time, we stopped it twice when it got too scary – and we talked through the story whenever she was confused or had questions. We do the same with Doctor Who, and now she’s the one explaining the basics of time travel to mommy whenever we’re watching a 20 minute episode while waiting for dinner to come out of the oven.

Watch it with your kids, watch their reactions, and be ready with a pause or stop when things need explaining, or get to be overwhelming. And yeah, if they start having nightmares, or freaking out their teachers/fellow students at school, maybe tone things down for a bit. 😉

UPDATE:

After her birthday, my daughter was home sick from preschool for a few days, and we went ahead and tested the waters, watching Star Wars. I told her as we started, and consistently during the tense parts of the movie, that she could let me know, or just turn away from the screen if it got too scary.

Her thoughts on Star Wars:

  • the only things that are definitively killed are robots (Storm Troopers, droids) bugs (Greedo) and maybe Obi-Wan Kenobi (though she also theorized that he simply jumped out of his clothes, and was running around the Death Star naked).
  • Darth Vader dresses a lot like Batman, and might be a ninja.
  • “When the orange guys go ‘pew-pew’ on the skeletons house, and they fly in the hole, and then the other man and his doggy comes in and scares away Darth Vader and he spins and spins, and then and then it all goes boom and the doggy doesn’t get a medal from Princess Leia.†

In short, kids often make different connections with narrative works, and Star Wars is no different. Where you may see a movie depicting at various points

  • planetary genocide,
  • good guys shooting first (if you still watch on VHS, anyway),
  • and of course adults playing in wet garbage,

it’s more likely that your kids are seeing something else (okay, they probably also see the garbage thing, and are plotting how to replicate it on trash day using the garden hose and a city sanitation vehicle). The key job for you as a parent, is to understand what it is they see, and help “nudge” their potentially harmful interpretations back on track.

Again, as I mentioned prior to my update, it’s much more important that whatever you let young children watch, you watch together. Even something seemingly innocuous like the Berenstain Bears(*) can off “go off the rails”, or significantly diverge from what you would consider “healthy messaging” on a given topic, so simply looking for and relying on a movie rating or age advisory is bad, lazy parenting, and often worse than letting your kids see fictional battle stations housing thousands of living beings blow up to the cheers of the protagonists.

(* see: http://www.toplessrobot.com/2008… for the proof)

(† that part still pisses me off, every time, and she noticed it too! Made me so proud…)

This answer originally appeared on Quora: Why do parents let their kids watch Star Wars at such a young age (4-7 years old, for example)? Isn’t all the Darth Vader / killing stuff psychologically not good for little kids?

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Deano’s answer to: “Does Luke Skywalker have a middle name?”

You would initially think, as an attempted assassin of the Emperor, he would need to follow the standard “three names” rule, at least for the intergalactic evening news. Especially given the vast number of inhabited planets in the galaxy, you’d think there’d be hundreds, if not thousands of people with the same first-last combination among the stars.

But you’d be wrong, for two simple reasons:

  • It is Darth Vader who actually kills the Emperor, though it’s fair to assume no one but Luke actually knows this and lives to tell the tale.
  • This all happened a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Before the three name rule went into effect.

This answer originally appeared on Quora: Does Luke Skywalker have a middle name?

Deano’s answer to: “During the battle on Hoth between the rebel forces (who are trying to protect their evacuation) and the imperial troops, why doesn’t Han help Luke and the others defend against the AT-AT Walkers?”

Great question!

There are several reasons for this:

  • Han Solo has a death mark – he is currently being pursued by Jabba the Hutt‘s bounty hunters – and through various interactions at the beginning of Empire, it’s clear he is a “reluctant rebel”, falling in with them mostly as the safest place to be for the moment, not his ideological/spiritual home.
  • Chewbacca is still (with the help of various rebel repair-droids) fixing the Millenium Falcon to ensure its effective escape.
  • Han Solo has (for mostly personal reasons) to ensure that Princess Leia (who is manning the command center to help direct the defense of the Hoth base) gets safely to the evacuation ship.

Breaking the fourth wall for a second, the Millenium Falcon is a plot device that must remain behind/in danger/off-screen until the last possible second to increase dramatic tension and excitement before flying to safety/saving the day:

  • In “A New Hope”, Han and Chewie fly back to knock Darth Vader off Luke Skywalker‘s tail so he can blow up Death Star Mk. I
  • Also in “The Empire Strikes Back”, the ship barely escapes between the closing teeth of the giant space worm
  • Also in “The Empire Strikes Back”, R2D2 repairs the hyperdrive mere seconds before the Falcon can be pulled in by a Star Destroyer tractor beam at the climatic end-of-movie escape sequence
  • In “Return of the Jedi”, Lando Calrissian and Nien Nunb barely pilot the Falcon free of the onrushing explosion of Death Star Mk. II at the end of that film

Ultimately, the in-plot reason can be boiled down to this: it isn’t until the third movie, “Return of the Jedi”, that Han Solo becomes a true hero of the Rebel Alliance. Throughout “The Empire Strikes Back”, or perhaps up until his first true love kiss with Princess Leia just before being frozen in Carbonite, Han Solo remains a self-reliant smuggler and rogue.

(For more details on the Millenium Falcon in particular, the Wookiepedia article is really quite interesting: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/M… )

This answer originally appeared on Quora: During the battle on Hoth between the rebel forces (who are trying to protect their evacuation) and the imperial troops, why doesn’t Han help Luke and the others defend against the AT-AT Walkers?

Deano’s answer to: “What were the battle dynamics of the Imperial attack on Hoth?”

Question Details: I don’t understand why the attack failed, and why the rebels were able to escape. Part of this involves the mistake that the general made re: pulling out of hyperspace too early. I don’t understand that element, but I think there is more to understand re: what happened.

Let me start by correcting you a bit, with a scene from The Empire Strikes Back between General Veers and Darth Vader:

VEERS
My lord, the fleet has moved out
of light-speed. Com-Scan has
detected an energy field protecting
an area around the sixth planet of
the Hoth system. The field is
strong enough to deflect any
bombardment.

VADER
(angrily)
The Rebels are alerted to our
presence. Admiral Ozzel came out
of light-speed too close to the
system.

VEERS
He felt surprise was wiser…

VADER
He is as clumsy as he is stupid.
General, prepare your troops for a
surface attack.

VEERS
Yes, my lord.

It’s glossed over pretty quickly as you mentioned, but here’s a basic tactical summary, based on my personal experiences in Extraterrestrial Defense and FTL Navigation Principles:

Hyperspace travel consumes and radiates an enormous amount of energy for even a single ship – note the bright “flash” of light whenever a ship drops back to relativistic speeds in the movies. These energy bursts should thus be easy to detect, and probably form the basis of most tactical naval intelligence in the Star Wars universe.

It stands to reason, as well, that placement of the detection equipment could have an enormous effect on the total range of such sensors… And, since the Rebel Alliance is trying to hide their presence completely on Hoth, it also makes sense that they would not use any orbital, or even system-wide detection satellites for the job – since doing so would allow the Empire to surmise a hostile presence of some kind without needing to engage in costly and time-consuming searches by Probots.

So, we’re left with the following: planetary surface dishes/arrays which, like our own Earth-side radio and optical telescopes, have a much shorter effective range compared to space-based equivalents, and which have a much harder time picking smaller, subtler signals from the noise created by the atmosphere, solar radiation, etc.

With all of the above as background, I submit the following:

By exiting hyperspace too close to the planet/system, the Rebels on Hoth were able to detect the incoming fleet of Star Destroyers, giving them time to raise their energy shield, and force the Empire into a more costly ground engagement.

If Admiral Ozzel had, instead, opted to exit from hyperspace further out – say 5-10 AU, it’s likely that the hyperspace signatures of the fleet would’ve escaped detection, which in turn would’ve allowed them to approach slowly, and fire a large, concentrated, and continuous barrage of beam and impact weaponry – or perhaps even going the most sophisticated/stealthy route, and towing large rocks from the nearby asteroid belt, and hitting the rebel base with them(*).

As for the attack itself failing:

It again is a result of poor asphyxiated Ozzel’s gaffe – the Empire went from simply interdicting/capturing/destroying the Rebels at their whim, to needing to make a more obvious frontal assault on their shield generators.

This in turn allowed the Rebels to enact counter-strategies in advance based on the most likely scenario – AT-AT walkers supported by speeders and ground troops. This may also explain why the snowspeeders are all equipped with magnetic grapple guns – if you think about it for a moment, there doesn’t seem to be too many other potential military uses for such, and if it was a wholly-improvised solution imagined by Luke Skywalker, it is unlikely that the filament cabling would’ve been “randomly up to the task” of tripping up a blaster-proof metal beast with 30′ legs.

These delaying tactics, plus a concerted defense of the shield generators, would possibly allow for the comparatively calm/orderly retreat depicted in the movie.

(* Even a near-miss by a 1km-wide boulder travelling at, say, .0001c (or, as I call it, “mach 90“) at impact, would cause such apocalyptic damage that any survivors would likely expire within minutes if not hours – and the dust and ash thrown skyward would drastically hamper the operation of any air or spacecraft which subsequently attempted to leave the surface – think a couple thousand Eyjafjallajokull-level volcanic eruptions occurring simultaneously, and you get the idea.)

This answer originally appeared on Quora: What were the battle dynamics re: the Imperial attack on Hoth?