Adam Driver: “With Star Wars, I had one piece of information of where it was all going, and that’s where it has been in my head for a long time, and things were building towards that.”

I think kid viewers are a lot less delicate than that. In fact, liking gory, horrible stories is often a thing kids do? I remember how popular the Animorphs series was when I was young. Some of the stuff in those is really disturbing. Personally, I was being raised in an often very harsh religious environment and some of the stories we heard from the Bible were hair-raising lol. One of the most standard narratives is about the guy who popularized and set the foundations for the religion, St. Paul, who was a bitter and cruel man who tormented and imprisoned Christians--an oppressed religious minority at the time--ripping families apart. I recall picture book images of sad crying families even. And then he has a change of heart.

Of all the bad things involved in my upbringing, hearing about the idea that someone could be committed to cruelty and wickedness and then, in a moment, repent of that evil and from there change their whole life for the good of those they'd harmed, wasn't bad at all.

As I've grown and changed and my politics has become nearly diametrically opposed to the politics I was raised with, that kind of basic idea that there's always hope, that you can always stop and listen to the voice telling you something is wrong and change for the better, has been a good thing.

Zooming out from me, Neil Gaiman has talked about how parents find Coraline scary but, for their kids, it's about being strong and defeating the monsters. Kids already feel the world is a scary place and bad things happen that they can't control. So a story with that in it isn't surprising; the chance for a kid character to put things right is new and surprising in a good way though.

To quote one of my other faves, G.K. Chesterton: "Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

Kids already know that bad people exist. That they can do bad things and it makes people angry. If there's a redemption arc, it could basically just convey that it's possible to fall in with bad people and do bad things but still change your heart too.

Considering how easily kids can get confused over disapproval for a bad thing they did--or even failing to meet parents' high expectations--meaning they're a bad person forever, that's not an unhealthy message in my book.

/r/StarWarsLeaks Thread Parent