Parental Guidance

Solo May Be Too Intense for Your Kids, So Here Are 3 Star Wars Alternatives

by | May 25, 2018 | Comments

The only big release this weekend is Solo: A Star Wars Story, and if you’ve introduced your kids to the Star Wars universe, chances are they’re going to be interested in this one. That said, it may not be entirely suitable for the youngest viewers, so Christy offers up three much more family-friendly alternatives within the Star Wars universe that should be just as satisfying to watch at home.


Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) 70%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of sci-fi action/violence.

If you love hearing about how many parsecs it took Han Solo to make the Kessel Run, this is the movie for you. It’s an origin story, showing us how one of the most iconic characters in the galactic saga became the swaggering rogue we’ve come to know and love. Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) stars as the young Han, a plucky street urchin who dreams of becoming an ace pilot. Ron Howard’s film shows us how Han meets the gambler and raconteur Lando Calrissian (a charming Donald Glover), teams up with his loyal Wookiee pal and co-pilot, Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), and acquires the Millennium Falcon, the legendary ship that will factor so prominently in so many subsequent adventures. This probably all sounds fun, and it is; Solo is one of the lighter Star Wars films in recent years. But it also has some major action sequences that could be too frightening for very young viewers. After surviving a Dickensian childhood on the streets, Han signs up for the military, where he’s involved in some intense battles. He then joins a group of criminals (led by Woody Harrelson) for a daring train heist, which not everyone survives. Some characters are killed, while others sacrifice themselves. It’s the film’s most thrilling sequence. Later, he and his crew on the Millennium Falcon traverse some dangerous territory in space, which includes trying to evade a ferocious, tentacled monster. And Han tries to outwit a fearsome crime lord (Paul Bettany), whose face flashes with bloody red slashes when he gets angry. It’s easy to see why your kids would want to see Solo – especially if they’re already big Star Wars fans, like my 8-year-old son is – but this might be too much to handle for viewers much younger than that.


If Solo seems too intense for your kids – but they’re understandably curious about the Star Wars universe – here are some entryways that might be more family-friendly.

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) 93%

Rating: PG, for sci-fi violence and brief mild language.

You may as well start from the very beginning – at least, in the order in which the original films came out. The first Star Wars movie is a complete blast, full of swashbuckling adventures, cheeky droids and snappy banter. Its visual effects look very of-its-time; after all, Star Wars does take place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The aesthetic is tactile and rough-hewn, not shiny and perfect, which gives the film as a whole an accessibility that’s missing in George Lucas’ CGI-heavy prequels. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) are young and full of promise here, the droids R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) provide plenty of comic relief amid the heroics, and “big walking carpet” Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) is always good for a wail and a laugh. Even Darth Vader won’t seem scary at this point, given that he’s probably all over lunchboxes and backpacks (and T-shirts and hoodies…) at your kids’ schools. Fine for viewers around 5 and up.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOW, iTunes

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) 81%

Rating: PG, for sci-fi action violence.

Whether or not they’re ready for The Empire Strikes Back in between, your kids will be just fine watching what was – at that point – the end of the Star Wars saga. One word: Ewoks. This time, Lucas co-wrote the script with Lawrence Kasdan, with Richard Marquand directing, and he was at his most playful. Return of the Jedi tends to lapse into the cuddly and silly, for better and for worse. It still features a lot of action, including thrilling speeder bike chases through the forest moon of Endor. The climactic father-son showdown between Luke and Darth Vader is both intense and emotionally satisfying. And the hulking bad guy Jabba the Hutt may seem like an intimidating force at first, but he’s also such a ridiculous figure that he’s likely to inspire giggles. But the film’s furry inhabitants are what make Jedi so kid-friendly. Expect plenty of Ewok antics as well as an overall cartoonish tone – especially in the interactions between Leia and Han. Fine for kids around 6 and up.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOWiTunes

Star Wars Rebels 100%

Rating: NA

This smart, exciting and well-acted television series is a great way to introduce your kids to the larger Star Wars universe. The fact that it’s animated might make it more appealing in some ways. Rebels lasted for four seasons and takes place chronologically between Episodes III and IV, just as the Empire is gaining strength in the galaxy. The series recently wrapped up, so you could very easily start at the beginning and follow the episodes through to the end for a satisfying journey. It follows a group of rebels (voiced by Taylor Gray, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Tiya Sircar, among others) on a freighter ship who conduct secret operations against the Galactic Empire. The main character, Ezra, is a scrappy orphan teenager who has the makings of a great Jedi. There are plenty of brave and strong female characters, too, which is one of the many factors that make it worthwhile. But Rebels also features some intense battles with lightsabers and blasters. I recommend this show highly for viewers around 7 or 8 and older.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOWiTunes

Tag Cloud

Western slashers green book Kids & Family Shondaland crime thriller Election Dark Horse Comics Captain marvel foreign Spectrum Originals Binge Guide AMC unscripted award winner historical drama festivals TruTV travel Sony Pictures nature Creative Arts Emmys Reality police drama robots GLAAD Pride Month YA Reality Competition FX witnail GoT singing competition Disney Plus Mystery Masterpiece facebook Oscars Hulu BBC Sneak Peek DC Comics SDCC Infographic Christmas TIFF psycho VICE Emmys video TV renewals TBS natural history Heroines Drama Freeform The Witch 2015 Netflix DGA richard e. Grant MCU Awards Tour Disney streaming service Best and Worst X-Men Holidays Arrowverse doctor who Toys Esquire 2016 science fiction docudrama ABC Family Syfy PBS revenge theme song Sci-Fi social media SundanceTV vampires USA Network Box Office 2018 Tomatazos Premiere Dates YouTube Premium LGBTQ History Peacock Sundance Now Horror adventure Mary Poppins Returns finale Watching Series Photos mutant dc comiccon ratings VH1 quibi Apple TV+ dragons 20th Century Fox Pirates HBO PaleyFest USA 007 San Diego Comic-Con Women's History Month TCM Television Academy talk show Sundance hist Year in Review BET book spinoff crime drama Columbia Pictures aliens space anthology Set visit CW Seed DC streaming service Starz CBS All Access Animation IFC 21st Century Fox crime Paramount The Walking Dead Podcast Walt Disney Pictures TLC WGN Rocketman 71st Emmy Awards streaming dceu ABC politics 2017 movies hispanic President Warner Bros. anime Anna Paquin cooking Marvel boxoffice Interview sequel Mary Tyler Moore cults Lionsgate Spring TV Superheroes BBC America Comic Book Opinion Adult Swim Rock Writers Guild of America tv talk Red Carpet Marathons TNT Mudbound Country Musicals Star Wars IFC Films RT21 TCA FOX free movies sports sitcom Polls and Games Video Games NBC New York Comic Con Chilling Adventures of Sabrina RT History cancelled TV Land based on movie serial killer canceled MSNBC supernatural Schedule Stephen King true crime strong female leads NYCC diversity OWN Ghostbusters Nat Geo renewed TV shows Trophy Talk mockumentary Trivia harry potter disaster elevated horror DC Universe spanish language cats Acorn TV south america Lucasfilm Mindy Kaling E! Ellie Kemper GIFs Paramount Network cancelled television Film Showtime Disney Channel First Look Bravo psychological thriller biography Tarantino dramedy cops children's TV E3 cinemax Certified Fresh Pet Sematary Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Rom-Com Teen Winners FXX Epix Character Guide thriller Cannes discovery animated Apple The CW Chernobyl Film Festival APB joker what to watch HBO Max Family LGBT CNN ghosts Nominations Fall TV cancelled TV shows Emmy Nominations Song of Ice and Fire Extras DirecTV 2019 The Purge Summer Super Bowl Quiz Rocky Mary poppins Music The Arrangement blaxploitation Star Trek Ovation Lifetime Disney CMT Superheroe cancelled TV series Trailer technology Britbox Black Mirror spain romance Winter TV game show Martial Arts Crackle Grammys YouTube Spike Action Brie Larson Valentine's Day Calendar crossover Amazon 45 WarnerMedia breaking bad American Society of Cinematographers zero dark thirty toy story A&E 24 frames composers halloween TV golden globes casting See It Skip It Cartoon Network First Reviews Pixar period drama political drama Tumblr adaptation transformers National Geographic stand-up comedy Elton John ESPN ITV Pop Biopics Thanksgiving television Comedy latino kids war Universal Nickelodeon batman Fantasy spy thriller binge YouTube Red Amazon Prime Vudu zombies teaser miniseries Food Network Logo spider-man canceled TV shows TCA 2017 comic jamie lee curtis Awards Comics on TV MTV cars zombie Shudder justice league Cosplay Amazon Prime Video medical drama Musical CBS Fox News game of thrones Countdown series El Rey SXSW Comedy Central