As my daughter and I walked out of the theater after watching Star Wars: Episode IX—The Tears of the Ewok, I couldn’t help but feel that I would never be the same. Maybe it was because the series that had been such a cherished part of my childhood was finally over. Or perhaps it was because those three massive tubs of popcorn coated in yellow axle grease had done irreparable damage to my arteries.
But, if I had to guess, I’d say it was because watching Luke and Rey brutally torture Ricket the Ewok for two and a half hours had caused me deep psychological trauma.
“Why would they do that, Daddy?” my daughter asked, tears streaming down her little cheeks.
I couldn’t bring myself to look at her. What could I even say about what we just witnessed? That per the guidelines established at Guantanamo Bay, the US Government would only consider about 15 minutes of that to have been actual torture?
That, had Rey not messed up and kidnapped the wrong Ewok, those atrocities might have proved effective in figuring out who came up with the nickname ‘Puke Skywalker’?
That Rey had shown that women can excel in a traditionally male-dominated field?
I was trying to come up with an explanation that would minimize her emotional scarring when I heard a small, deranged voice in the back of my head. “No, try not. Explain, or explain not. There is no try.”
Then it came to me. “Leia,” I began, looking my daughter in the eye, “there is an important lesson you should take away from this movie: trust your feelings. Sometimes in life, your heroes may try to lead you astray and convince you to do horrible things. They may even have convincing explanations justifying their actions. But, if you listen to your feelings and know what they’re saying is wrong, then you’ll avoid crossing over to the dark side. Don’t make Rey’s mistake.”
“No, Dad, that’s not what I was asking,” Leia said, her eyes leaking enough tears to turn Tatooine into a tropical rainforest. “I meant why would they bring back Jar Jar?”
Her words hit me like a charging bantha. I had managed to completely block that part out, but now I was forced to face the dark truth. “Leia, the Star Wars franchise gave us some of the greatest films of all time. So, now they needed to bring balance to the Force.”
Karl Lykken writes both fiction and software in Texas. His writing has been featured in Theme of Absence, The Big Jewel, and The Flash Fiction Press.