Luke Skywalker went from a bumbling farm boy to a Jedi Knight in front of audiences’ eyes in George Lucas’s original Star Wars trilogy. His father, Anakin, took a slightly darker route, but he still did his own version of a coming-of-age story. The heroes of the newest Star Wars trilogy, which will end with the Colin Trevorrow-directed Episode IX, will probably end their adventures in a similar way, especially with Trevorrow involved. Coming-of-age stories and the kids affected by them are the bread and butter of Star Wars.
Trevorrow told Fandango that understanding the way children respond to the Star Wars films and stories is “extremely crucial” to creating the stories in the first place.
It’s how it was with us [growing up]. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia were all characters that we were able to identify with in various ways, and especially with the character of Rey and what she means to young girls right now, and the challenges that she’s up against. It is extremely crucial that I understand what actual children are feeling about these stories that we’re telling them, and I think it’s important that I have kids, and if filmmakers don’t have kids, they should go talk to them because they don’t see things the same way that we did when we were kids. So, yes, I am very dialed into that because I think it’s a requisite of the job.
Granted, the last time there was a gathering of children in the Star Wars universe, it, uh, didn’t go so well. The younglings Anakin took out in Revenge of the Sith would probably agree.
The prequel trilogy was well known at the time as being a kid-friendly endeavor, with Star Wars: The Phantom Menace revolving heavily around a pint-sized Anakin and including the laughable (often offensive) Jar Jar Binks as childish comedic relief.
But the latest Star Wars trilogy has already proven itself to be focused on moving forward. The three main characters, Rey, Finn, and Poe, are portrayed by a woman and two men of color, respectively. And while some fans and various trolls online have taken it upon themselves to point out, again and again, that Star Wars “isn’t about being politically correct,” Trevorrow taking stock of what younger generations are looking for can only enhance the saga’s reach. As Trevorrow points out, kids these days “don’t see things the same way” as kids in the 1970s, and that can only be a good thing.
Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to premiere in theaters on May 24, 2019, with its predecessor, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, premiering in theaters on December 15 of this year.