Cool hand, Luke

I finally let Thing 2 (the 5-year-old) watch Star Wars. We watched the original trilogy over a period of about a week.

We watched the movies together. I explained the parts he didn’t understand and, when things got scary, I told him to cover his eyes or reminded him that it was only pretend, and I fibbed my way through what I thought might be the really disturbing parts (I said they were only burning Darth Vader’s costume on the pyre at the end of “Return of the Jedi”).

I thought he’d have questions about Luke Skywalker being Vader’s son and Princess Leia’s brother, but he took both revelations in stride. His only question came a couple days after we watched “The Empire Strikes Back,” on our way home from preschool.

“Dad,” he said, “where’s Luke’s hand?”

“Well, Darth Vader cut it off with his lightsaber,” I said, thinking maybe I’d made a mistake and that he wasn’t old enough to watch the movies, even though most of his friends had.

“But he gets it back, right?”

“Well, they give him a new hand, remember? On the spaceship, at the end of the movie? They give him a mechanical hand.”

“But where’s his real hand?”

“It, uh, fell.”

He was quiet then, but he asked me about Luke’s hand again the next day and the next, and I then realized he wasn’t thinking about Luke Skywalker as much as he was Mark Hamill, who played him. He wanted to know what happened to the actor’s hand in the scene where it looked like it got cut off.

“That was just pretend. He just pulled his sleeve down over his hand so you couldn’t see it, but it was still there, like this,” I said, pulling my sleeve down over my hand.

He understood and demonstrated to Sweetie when she got home from work.

I thought everything was OK until a few days after we’d watched “Return of the Jedi.”

“Dad, what happened to the snow monster’s arm?

“What do you mean?”

“When Luke cut it off. He didn’t have any sleeves. Where’d his arm go?”

PHOTO: Luke’s mechanical hand, from The Empire Strikes Back. Part of last summer’s Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination movie prop exhibit at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, Ala.

30 thoughts on “Cool hand, Luke

    1. I’m in no hurray to show him the prequels. Sadly, his favorite of the original trilogy was Return of the Jedi, because it made him laugh, so he might be vulnerable to Jar-Jar.

  1. Love this post Todd and the workings of the mind of a five year old. My grandson is only 18 months and how I would love to know what he is thinking as he is processing the things around him.

  2. Too funny! Good luck explaining the snow monster. I remember being sad that when the Tauntaun died, but nothing else in the movies bothered me. You never know what will stick with some kids and what they will let go right by.

    Awesome post title, by the way!

    1. Have you seen the dead tauntaun sleeping bags at ThingGeek? You unzip them with a little light saber. It started out as an April Fool’s joke on the site, but people really wanted one, so they started making them.

  3. This is completely off-topic, but this reminds me of one of the only jokes I can ever remember (courtesy of Lamb Chop):

    Q. Where do generals keep their armies?
    A. In their sleevies!

    Glad you and Thing 2 got to watch the movies together, Todd!


    1. Jedi is a lot worse than I remember. Star Wars was amazing. Empire was incredible. Jedi played like a straight-to-video sequel. I thought it just looked cheap. Also, it had Ewoks.

    1. He’s asking all kinds of questions now about how movies are made. I’m trying to explain that it’s all make believe, but he’s just coming up with more questions. I don’t want to spoil the fun of movies for him, but I’m thinking maybe he might like a good behind-the-scenes documentary.

  4. What? Luke and Leia were siblings? How about a spoiler alert or something!
    Taking the kids through those classics is a blast. We used to have a theater in town that would show movies like Star Wars and Indy Jones on weekends in the summer just to get the original experience. Good times.

    1. The chain theater here had a thing before Christmas where they’d show movies from the ’70’s and ’80’s once a week. I found out about it too late to take the 11-year-old to Raiders and Back to the Future, but I took her to see Gremlins. I remember Gremlins was supposedly really violent when it came out, but it was fine by today’s standards (although the scene where they whip the gremlin in the food processor was pretty gross).

    2. Have you seen the Robot Chicken Star Wars special where Vader tells Luke he’s his father, and Luke screams, “That’s impossible.” Then, Vader says he and Leia are brother and sister, and Luke goes, “That’s … really improbable.” Then, Vader says he built C-3PO, and Luke’s like, “Really?” And it goes on and on until Luke says something like, “That’s enough. I’m outta here.”

  5. Great title, Todd, and great piece. It is amazing how children can get a little pebble of an idea in their minds and have it rattle around in there. Sometimes it is weeks before it shakes free and they say something about a topic again, but you wonder how much they’ve been thinking about it.

  6. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way kids reason things out. My youngest son is the only one of my children who enjoys going to church, and I don’ believe in forcing my children to adhere to any religion so none of the others attend services. So… when Jonathan was explaining to Ashlan (the four year old) about stories he had been taught at Sunday school, he got to the resurrection part. And I absolutely LOST it when Ash replied with “Ohhhhh. So Jesus is a zombie!” in an explanatory tone which seemed to settle the discussion in her mind. I don’t think Jesus wore sleeves, either.

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