A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Star Wars: Forces of Destiny is a series of animated shorts starring characters from the franchise universe such as Princess Leia, Rey, and Ahsoka. Every episode features action-violence and battles, often against nonhuman creatures (a worm, a droid) or human characters such as stormtroopers. Sometimes the battles are relatively innocuous, like when Princess Leia neutralizes a bunch of stormtroopers by trapping them in a tree; in another episode Rey causes two creatures on spacecraft to crash into each other, resulting in groans and a huge fireball. Characters -- both heroes and villains -- also use sci-fi laser guns
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What's the story?
STAR WARS: FORCES OF DESTINY is a series of animated micro-adventures from the lives of female heroes of the Star Wars universe: Princess Leia, Rey, and Ahsoka. Each episode tells a short story that's connected to the larger Star Wars mythology: Leia comes across a group of Ewoks being menaced; Rey attempts to help BB-8 find his friends and fend off a junk-eating worm. Things can get a little scary in the middle, with huge, rampaging beasts and looming stormtroopers. But by the end of each episode, our heroes have set things right, and everyone's smiling.
Is it any good?
With a focus on female heroes cast in protective roles, and drawn in an anime-influenced, big-eyed style, these shorts are a bit gentler than other animated Star Wars entries. It's a good-news/bad-news story with this series. Good: Female characters are given strong, central roles. Bad: They're tokens, marooned in an otherwise all-male world. Good: These female characters are powerful. Bad: Their power is used in simplistic conflicts against faceless villains. Good: Characters like Rey are shown to be kind as well as strong. Bad: When Leia saves some Ewoks from mean stormtroopers, they give her a new dress to wear to a party.
So while Forces of Destiny is a step in the right direction, it's not perfect. Since young Star Wars fans will snap up anything related to the universe, parents may want to watch along to gently point out the problems. Each episode is less than three minutes long, so it's not a big time commitment. And if you're a Star Wars fan yourself, you may be happy to get another look at characters you already love.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why this animated series focuses on the female characters of the Star Wars series. How is this different from the earlier films?
In Star Wars mythology, the Jedi use a mental Force to protect others. Why do they also use weapons such as lightsabers, as Ahsoka uses in one episode to subdue a malfunctioning droid? How do these two fighting concepts differ?
For kids who love Star Wars
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