A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away – Real paternal love was and is vulnerable. Fatherhood was and is a universal issue. The animated series Star Wars Rebels, which can be viewed on Monday evenings Disney XD and associated networks and smart apps, has vulnerability and fatherhood at its axis – or should I say fulcrum. In a real – though imaginary – way, Kanan, voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr. and Ezra, voiced by Taylor Gray, are dealing with serious paternal growing pains. Master and padawan in essence are young inexperienced dad and teenaged son. A rebel raising a rebel.
Imagine a party animal, whose own parents are dead and gone, trying to mature and raise a son but having missed the early part of his son’s life, the son is a teenager who up until now fended for himself. Most, if not many, dads today in reality can painfully relate to the difficulty of transitioning from selfishness to sacrifice, given we live in an age of break ups and premarital sex, where information has made the jump to light-speed and morality is hiding in the outer rim somewhere.
Even rebels in a space opera caught between two trilogies and an Inquisitor cannot escape the juxtaposed issues of fatherhood and fatherlessness. It is impossible to escape the leadership and crucial topic of fatherhood and, with that, the abandonment scars of fatherlessness. Star Wars Rebels is no exception. The fantasy space animation, Star Wars Rebels, aimed at youngsters and adult Star Wars fandom (while canonically based in a larger George Lucas inspired, Disney controlled universe) cannot escape dealing with patriarchy and generational preparation.
Kanan, a Jedi Knight who had not completed his training is partially a cross between a karate movie’s avenging hero and Robin Hood and Ezra, a cross between Jungle Book’s Boy, Aladdin and Peter Pan, become paired to together amid the backdrop of overarching and seemingly overwhelming evil and odds trying to flip/turn the tables in a very Biblical sense on an unjust and cruel Galactic Empire. Interestingly, Kanan like Canaan in the Bible is simultaneously the name of Noah’s fallen son left to repopulate with less guidance and the name of the Promise land; and, Ezra is the name of the high priest in the Bible who re-established the temple, while Israel was enslaved in Babylon.
Though there are other character vital to the story and plot – like Hera, the pilot of the Millennium Falcon-esque (but more equipped) Ghost, Sabine, the Mandalorian bomb expert and artist, Zeb, the rough yet childish former royal guard and sole survivor of his species and Chopper the smart Alec droid, the Inquistor commissioned by Darth Vader to hunt Jedi and agent Kallus of the ISB – the fatherhood issues are squarely in Kanan and Ezra’s arena. Rebels, based between the prequel trilogy Star Wars episodes 1, 2 and 3 and the classic trilogy, episodes 4, 5 and 6, Star Wars Rebels aims to answer some of the questions about how the ragtag Rebel Alliance that blew up two Death Stars was formed and how strong committed families thrive against all odds.
Kanan, whose Jedi Master was killed in Emperor Palpatine’s Order 66 aka the Jedi Purge is ultimately fathering Ezra, whose apparently force-sensitive or force aware parents were sympathetic to the Rebellion and have been either captured, dead or hiding in exile have been missing since he was 8 years old. Kanan, then is an orphan raising an orphan. Fatherlessness has the very same effect today as young dads are raising their kids vowing not abandon them but lacking the requisite observed behavior to know where and when to start, hold on or let go. Parents are the book on parenting and Kanan vaguely remembers his training but has to guide Ezra to the right things the right way for the right reasons.
We will follow the development of this father-son relationship in Star Wars Rebels and others in the Star Wars universe in future articles…
For dads who like Star Wars, watching this series with your kids can be enjoyable and will give plenty of teachable moments.
The premise is when it comes to fathering and training a boy to be a man, there is no try, only do as Master Yoda said.
Information attributed to and gathered from: Disney XD, Starwars.com