In the Whirled: The staying power of Star Wars

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16 2013 5:05 a.m. MST

Actors Liam Neeson, right, as Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, and Ewan McGregor, as a young Obi-Wan Kenobi, are shown in this undated handout photo in a scene from "Star Wars: Episode 1, The Phantom Menace." (AP Photo/Lucasfilm Ltd., Keith Hamshere, File)

KEITH HAMSHERE, AP

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We did something this year that has tilted the Lewis world on its axis.

We introduced our children to Star Wars. Life will never be the same again.

Lego building will never be the same again. Or dress up. Or scripture study. Even mealtime has been altered by The Force.

We used to have regular conversations at the dinner table. Now they all involve distant galaxies, strange ships and names that involve a lot of Fett and Sith and Darth. We used to come home from the library with heaps of classics. Now it’s all “Clone Wars” and “Anakin Rises Again.”

My children and I don’t even speak the same language anymore. They used to ask questions about why snow falls. Now they ask, “Do you think the Battle of Naboo would have turned out different if it had happened on Coruscant or the moon of Endor?” They might as well be quoting Dante’s “Inferno” in the original Italian. I have no idea what they’re talking about.

What astonishes me most is the urgency of this story, the need for them to connect it all in their heads. My 9-year-old calls to me after I’ve put him to bed. “Mom, Mom!” He is frantic.

I run in and kneel by his bed. “What is it?”

“Would you rather live on Cloud City or Alderaan?” he asks.

I slow my breathing. “Go to bed,” I tell him.

Even the 3-year-old, Asher, who has not seen the movies, is in on the action. One day he was bouncing around on his giant red ball — the kind with a handle on top for gripping. His older brother grabbed it away. Asher yelled, “Give me back my Bouncy Hunter.”

I stepped into the living room. “What did he just say?”

My older son grinned. “Bouncy Hunter. He named his ball after the bounty hunter Boba Fett.”

I’ve been doing little experiments around the house to see how long it will take to steer the conversation toward Star Wars. I think the max lag time so far is five minutes. If we are reading scriptures, they want to know if the prophets would have talked about Star Wars. And wouldn’t Heavenly Father want to create a world just like Star Wars? And could they ask him that in their prayers?

I sat my kids down to dinner the other night, intent on having a real conversation, the kind that happened B.S.W. — Before Star Wars.

“We’re studying the prophet Lorenzo Snow in Relief Society,” I tell them. “He lived on a farm, and because his dad was gone so often, he had to do all the work. Can you imagine?” Their interest is piqued. “He lived during the time of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young,” I continue. They are listening. This is going to be a great discussion. We’re going to talk about hard work and conversion and the powerful choices you can make at a young age.

There is a pause. My 7-year-old pipes up: “So if Lorenzo Snow lived that long ago, I guess he wouldn’t have known George Lucas?”

You see what I’m up against here. I feel like Princess Leia single-handedly fighting off an army of Storm Troopers.

I keep expecting this to wear off. We’ve been through waves of Bob the Builder, Thomas the Train, Pokemon and Ninjago and Hero Factory. I knew those were phases. Star Wars, on the other hand, seems to be a lifestyle, or perhaps an alternate form of oxygen — something that must be breathed on a daily basis for the rest of your life.

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