Francis Sparks

Francis Sparks


I feel like I missed something. I am a fairly recent father. My son is two years old and my daughter is four months. When did Darth Vader become a children’s teddy bear?

Why not an actual teddy bear like creature like Wicket the Ewok? Or Chewbacca? He is a fine Wookie and a class act.

Here is an example of what I’m talking about.

WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD (from a thirty-year-old movie)!!!!

Photograph via Jeffrey Brown

First off, spoiler alert! Darth Vader is Luke’s dad. I would like that to be discovered by my son as he watches Return of the Jedi, please!

Second, this is actually my main beef with the whole Darth Vader thing, anyone recall a very dark and horrific scene in Revenge of the Sith called the Great Jedi Purge?

All of the padawans are murdered by Anakin/Darth Vader!!! You don’t come back from that, ever!

I am not innocent in this, my son has the golden books for the first six episodes and Star Wars pajamas with little images of Darth Vader and several shirts depicting the old evil Jedi. He also has a Yoda shirt but in his words “I not like him.”

A few things to consider. Disney bought Star Wars/Lucasfilm in late 2012. My son was born in late 2013. I barely watched the last Lucas Star Wars film, I’m not sure I saw it all. To say the least, I had checked out for a few years. I reconnected when I heard my favorite TV show creator and resurrector of Star Trek J.J. Abrams had joined on for the new Star Wars film.

So before that, maybe Lucas was pushing Darth Vader merch, but I was not aware of it and now it is certainly ubiquitous. In Disney’s defense, they have put some distance between them and Episodes 1-3.

“The only real mandate we had was what delights us. We treated the films, especially 4, 5, and 6, we treated those as canon.” J.J. Abrams.

Photograph via Daniel Cheung

So maybe Darth Vader is innocent and had just fallen off the path for a few years before he was redeemed by killing Emporer Palpatine and taking off his helmet. If so I’m still not buying it (except in the form of merch for my son and soon my daughter). I wish there were more R2D2, Chewbacca, and Wicket options instead of the many Vader and Storm Trooper items.

A quick tip for new parents. Do not call the Death Star Vader’s house!!! This relates to the little golden books. At some point, a while back my son figured out Han and Luke were not friends with Darth Vader anymore when he put two and two together after a page showed the Death Star exploding and soon after his mind did the same.

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More About Francis Sparks:
Francis writes all types of adult fiction from short story to novel length. At the moment, the voices of the characters in his mystery/suspense and high fantasy novels have clamored their way to the front of his writing queue.

Francis grew up on a farm in Iowa where he spent his days avoiding bulls and other livestock as he created castles in the pasture made of fallen trees, twine pilfered from his father’s hay baler and his imagination. In fifth grade, he discovered TSR/Wizards of the Coast and their treasure of fantasy novels. Ever since he’s been chasing the writing dream. His mystery/suspense novel Made Safe was signed by Pandamoon Publishing in September 2015 and will be published in the fall of 2016.