We’ve usually experienced Rebel losses in the context of starships exploding, and in Return of the Jedi the only battlefield melancholy was a single fallen Ewok mourned by a fellow furball. In Rogue One, there is much greater emphasis on the cost paid by noble people (and aliens) while trying to do what’s right.
It’s a bloodless movie, for the most part. (We’re dealing with blasters, not bullets.) But death is death. Younger kids may have a harder time seeing characters risk and (mild spoiler) sometimes lose their lives for a greater good.
Last year, I described The Force Awakens as the darkest Star Wars film yet, and I still think that was true at the time. The themes of abandonment, brutality, and death were much more intense in J.J. Abrams’ film than previous installments. But after seeing Rogue One, that title of “darkest Star Wars movie” has been usurped. This is the more “grown-up” movie that longtime Star Wars fans have been wanting – so we shouldn’t be shocked that it may not be ideal for the very youngest fans.
Still, every kid is different, as is every parent. One size doesn’t fit all. Some may decide to keep the kids home, others may simply want to know what to expect beforehand so they can manage their children’s reactions.
In that spirit, here’s a guide to prepping your younglings for what’s to come, and suggestions for how to talk to them about the emotions may linger after the credits roll.
I’m going to try to keep it spoiler free, but … in order to talk about these things, I have to touch on them in a general way. I won’t give away specifics, but I’m going to hit on a few themes – most of them, frankly, have been suggested by the trailers.