The first time I shared one of all time favorite movies, Star Wars (the original) with my son was shortly before he turned two years old. I was just about nine months pregnant with my daughter and had finally gone on maternity leave from my job. I wanted to spend as much quality time as I could with my little toddler before the baby came, but as any pregnant working mother of a toddler knows, that once you cross the gate of maternity leave it’s hard not to muster up anything more than a strong desire to nap.
My son had a pretty strong aversion to napping and in the first week of my maternity leave I knew that the only way to get some much needed rest was to have him lay down with me in my room and watch a movie. I couldn’t bear any more Barney or Wiggles and really wanted to find something we could both enjoy. I took a chance despite knowing Star Wars would probably be lost on my little guy at that point.
But I put it in anyway and we cozied up on the bed. As soon as that all so familiar opening theme song came on I saw my son’s face change. He was transfixed by the music and then the movie. By the time it was over he wanted to watch it again, and another Star Wars fan was created.
Over the course of the next year he would watch all of the movies, including the commentaries and interviews with George Lucas about the making of the films that were included on our special edition versions. By the time he was three he declared that when he grew up he was going to work for George Lucas. Not be a Jedi. Not fly a ship like Han Solo; my son was going to make more Star Wars movies with George Lucas.
In the years since that declaration my son’s love for Star Wars has only grown. With new shows and toys every year and now being old enough to read the many books about Star Wars, his hunger for all things Star Wars is always satisfied.
Except for the fact that there has not been a Star Wars 7, 8, or 9. He began reading up on the Star Wars saga and even borrowed one of the books that follow the adventures of Leah and Han Solo’s twin siblings. Then he decided on a plot premise for three new Star Wars movies and started to write them down.
“What are you going to do with it?” I asked. “Well, I’m going to send these to George Lucas” he stated matter of factly. I knew there was nothing I could do to help make these movies happen and agreed that Lucas was probably the man to talk to. So we found the address for Lucas Films in nearby San Francisco and mailed his letter to George Lucas. I made sure my son understood that sometimes people like George Lucas are way too busy to read the many many letters he gets every day. So there was a good chance he might not hear back. “It’s worth a try though, right mom?” he asked. Of course it was I told him, so we mailed it out the next day.
The first few days after his letter had been mailed out he would come home and ask “Did I get anything from George Lucas yet?” I would tell him no and remind him that he might not; I didn’t want him to be disappointed. Then finally last week I checked the mail before heading out to pick up the kids from school. And there was a manila envelope addressed to my son from Lucas Films. I could feel that there was some sort of trinket or treasure in there and that it was not just a letter.
I snatched it up and headed to the school and waited for him to come out of the classroom so I could surprise him with his very important piece of mail. Plus, I was dying to know what was inside myself!
He tore the envelope open to find a letter from Lucas Films, his letter returned (which had been opened) and a Star Wars pencil and keychain that included a membership into the Star Wars fan club.
Though the letter was from a woman in the business affairs department and written on a computer, it was obviously not the basic form letter. She thanked him for the letter and for being a fan. And commended the time and effort he put into his letter. She politely explained, in a way that an 8 year old would understand, why they cannot accept “unsolicited artistic submission” (something I suspected might be an issue). Then she went on to say, “Not many people are blessed with creative talents and you should definitely continue to express yourself artistically” and signed it, “May the Force Be With You.”
For an adult this letter might have been a bit of a let down, but for my 8-year-old future Lucas Films employee, it was exactly what he hoped for. He’s proud of his ideas, and is sure that George Lucas himself read them. He feels important and special and is even more determined that a career making movies is in his future.
Someday maybe he’ll have that letter framed and hanging up in his office at Skywalker Ranch. Right next to a photograph of him and George Lucas on the set of Star Wars Episode 7…