For generations, Star Wars has captured the hearts and imaginations of so many. Parents can now share the past stories with our own kids, and experience new ones together as new media from the Star Wars universe, like comics, television shows and more movies come to life.
Not into space fights? Maybe superheroes are what your family loves. Over the past 10 years, the mammoth blockbusters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) have been weaving stories for fans on the big and small screen.
Whether parents are huge fans themselves (and still sing the classic Spider-Man cartoon show song) or are just beginning to appreciate these franchises along with their kids, there are plenty of opportunities for co-viewing, and conversing about, this media together. What Star Wars-loving family can forget how everyone reacted when we first met Baby Yoda (Grogu, of course)?
These stories, as fantastical as they can be, make for some amazing conversation starters with your kids. And as parents of teens, we know sometimes that quality conversation about shared interests is a treasure to discover. When you watch the latest three-minute trailer for an upcoming Marvel movie together, you start to pick it apart to guess what may be happening since we last saw our heroes and what’s to come (no spoilers, only speculation). It gets interesting around the dinner table when you ask your kids about which trilogy holds the ‘best of them all’ record and there are dissenting opinions!
And as successful as these franchises have been, they aren’t without issues and are far from perfect. This realization, though, can lead to relevant, timely conversations with your kids. We’ve seen time and time again the behaviours from toxic fandom members within the Star Wars universe (including current racist fandom comments online that the franchise itself issued a statement about), or casting controversies Marvel has faced. We can’t dismiss that these problems and concerns exist, even as we embrace our love for the media.
Stories from Marvel and Star Wars seem to endure and can create lasting connections for many families who unite around these interests, or have thoughts about media consumption and fandom. You can also encourage kids to make and remix their own media based on favourite fandoms (some people have even gotten jobs with the companies based on their fan work).
By returning to a one-episode-a-week schedule, streaming services have created something that many families haven’t had in a long time – destination TV. Every week, at a specific time on a specific night, you come together to watch your favourite program (or, wait to binge it all at once - but no one wants spoilers!).
There are only more stories planned for these universes. As a family, will the force pull you in?
- Diversity in the media
- Co-viewing with your kids
- Managing superhero play
- Talking to kids about gender stereotypes
- Talking to kids about racial stereotypes