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Star Wars and moms. I don’t think there’s a more personal subject for me in Star Wars. My mom bought me my first Star Wars toy (a Princess Leia action figure). Decades later she walked into a Taco Bell and asked the cashier, “What do I have to buy to get the Boba Fett toy?” for her college-aged, toy-collecting daughter. To say that she was (and is) supportive of my love of the galaxy far, far away is an understatement.
Over the last few decades, I’ve fallen in love with a lot of Star Wars stories that included mothers. And I became a mother around the time Star Wars: The Clone Wars premiered.
A few years ago I remember bursting into tears watching the scene in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace when Anakin left his mother Shmi to go with Qui-Gon Jinn to train to become a Jedi. After a few moments of confusion (Amy, you have seen this movie many times, this was not a surprise twist!) I realized my son was Anakin’s age. My focus was much more on Shmi than during earlier screenings when I was focused on Anakin. My overall feelings about the Jedi taking such young children away from their parents also started to shift around this time. How could this be right? What does this say about this society? Did Shmi do the right thing? What would I have done in her place?
I’m happy that over the years Star Wars stories have introduced some wonderful new moms who have played larger parts of the story. I would argue that Hera Syndulla was a mom to the crew of the Ghost well before she became a mom to Jacen. But I hope we can see more stories of Hera with Jacen in the future.
Norra Wexley, Iden Versio, Ursa Wren, and Venisa Doza have all been powerful, loving mothers in the Star Wars: Aftermath books, the video game Star Wars Battlefront II, and the animated series Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars Resistance, respectively. It means a lot to see moms with their kids on screen and in the pages of books and comics trying to balance loving and supporting their families — while fighting against the Empire or the First Order. Any mom who has tried to juggle a work deadline, volunteering at a school fundraiser, buying groceries, and getting their child on time to a gymnastics meet can relate to this kind of multi-tasking.
Leia Organa’s relationship with her son in the sequel trilogy connected with me because it showed that love can remain even in the most strained of parent-child relationships. I’m not saying either of my children has turned to the dark side, but there are days they look at me like I’m the Palpatine figure in their life. Growing up, no character was as perfect in my mind as Princess Leia. But motherhood is messy and painful and unbelievably wonderful all at the same time, so I appreciated that Leia’s experience as a mother was more challenging than picture-perfect.
One of the things I was most looking forward to as a mom was introducing my kids to Star Wars. The results have been a bit mixed. It turns out when your mom is really into Star Wars, that isn’t the best selling point for some teenagers. But my son fell in love with The Mandalorian at the same age I was when Return of the Jedi super-charged my Star Wars fandom and we all had a blast during our first Star Wars Celebration in Chicago in 2019. Part of me wishes that my kids loved Star Wars as much as I do, but in the end, I’m proud to be raising rebels. And like the best Star Wars moms, I’ll support them no matter what direction their lives take them.
Amy Richau is a writer, lifelong Star Wars geek, and diehard Denver Broncos fan. You can find her on Twitter @amyrichau and more of her writing on FANgirl Blog.
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