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 (1977) 92%

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

Return of the Jedi (1983) 82%

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 98%

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

Grammys Emmy Nominations TIFF Superheroe TCM lord of the rings PBS OneApp DC Universe The Witch Britbox Action A&E obituary green book 24 frames kids docuseries Black History Month Universal Video Games Epix sag awards Year in Review unscripted Cannes CNN President Sundance TV Premiere Dates international 2015 franchise DC streaming service Captain marvel space zero dark thirty free movies TCA 2017 Amazon godzilla indiana jones zombie rt labs critics edition DGA cancelled social media TNT Apple TV+ universal monsters Alien stand-up comedy 71st Emmy Awards Mindy Kaling spy thriller The Arrangement singing competition Marvel Music breaking bad Turner Classic Movies child's play blockbusters prank book Brie Larson slasher criterion laika IFC Films movies APB 2018 Winter TV halloween tv young adult Elton John dark new york PaleyFest documentaries WarnerMedia know your critic Chernobyl latino canceled Toys Black Mirror YouTube Premium Holiday trailers YouTube james bond new zealand strong female leads remakes twilight BET Western book adaptation USA Paramount Plus DC Comics vampires 93rd Oscars Kids & Family witnail Heroines monster movies Comedy Stephen King Esquire Tokyo Olympics The Academy Fox Searchlight a nightmare on elm street olympics cancelled television debate Lifetime Christmas movies political drama dramedy name the review children's TV batman true crime HBO Hulu spider-man Tomatazos king arthur Food Network NBA golden globes Set visit Cosplay what to watch werewolf FX Columbia Pictures HBO Max National Geographic Mary Tyler Moore hist AMC CBS Pirates Masterpiece Marathons jamie lee curtis Fantasy Nickelodeon rt labs Tubi teaser Reality Competition Disney LGBTQ adventure Mystery hispanic heritage month natural history Nominations golden globe awards American Society of Cinematographers target Pop TV Certified Fresh nature Freeform kong Marvel Television crime thriller IFC quibi LGBT blockbuster comic richard e. Grant Syfy Watching Series marvel cinematic universe dexter Rocketman die hard reboot History Sony Pictures Spring TV mutant hollywood fresh renewed TV shows Women's History Month ID Trivia Horror CW Seed Netflix Christmas movies Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Hallmark based on movie Emmys Podcast indie Amazon Prime south america Countdown independent popular boxoffice spanish Legendary television streaming Animation NYCC basketball elevated horror Mudbound GLAAD Pop fast and furious rt archives all-time worst movies 20th Century Fox Lionsgate Oscars nbcuniversal mcc 4/20 Fall TV chucky composers Netflix YouTube Red 99% Drama sports 90s VH1 Dark Horse Comics Song of Ice and Fire Red Carpet comic books toy story 2017 NBC travel Reality TCA Awards Teen Crunchyroll MSNBC dceu YA royal family USA Network screenings documentary TV One Warner Bros. rotten movies we love Binge Guide Holidays venice Opinion MTV nfl Comic-Con@Home 2021 spinoff Adult Swim italian WGN Tarantino BBC One game of thrones best Valentine's Day blaxploitation Comic Book game show rom-coms Winners Summer marvel comics high school aapi Wes Anderson 45 Martial Arts adenture crime drama theme song The Walking Dead worst Pacific Islander Pixar 007 anthology TV renewals Nat Geo FX on Hulu TCA video on demand cancelled TV series black transformers anime Comedy Central Best and Worst legend australia aliens telelvision MCU screen actors guild Acorn TV The Purge 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards serial killer Lifetime 1990s finale GIFs Comics on TV crime Film Festival war 2020 justice league RT21 christmas movies OWN X-Men Schedule Family Spectrum Originals scary movies disaster PlayStation mockumentary Television Critics Association directors ViacomCBS Disney Plus Sneak Peek HBO Go pirates of the caribbean french Lucasfilm VOD critics festival Endgame Academy Awards boxing Hear Us Out E3 FOX BAFTA Star Trek FXX Baby Yoda doctor who video live action TV movies Trailer Star Wars Country 21st Century Fox superman Sundance ratings casting Anna Paquin cooking Shondaland TV saw movie Fox News supernatural news Avengers slashers DirecTV Amazon Prime Video E! Mary Poppins Returns biography BBC TCA Winter 2020 archives El Rey 2021 Discovery Channel crossover jurassic park comedies superhero spain comic book movies police drama critic resources The Walt Disney Company emmy awards Broadway Rock tv talk Bravo Ghostbusters revenge sequels adaptation SDCC Walt Disney Pictures psychological thriller Calendar toronto versus TLC CBS All Access new star wars movies 2016 Image Comics Crackle Travel Channel action-comedy canceled TV shows Amazon Studios Classic Film feel good classics zombies facebook satire GoT comiccon mission: impossible Logo stoner comics See It Skip It medical drama Awards Box Office halloween Musical Disney Channel CMT cars Rocky Vudu sequel Pet Sematary sitcom biopic suspense TruTV Photos cancelled TV shows thriller harry potter japan Election festivals gangster stop motion Shudder king kong Apple TV Plus science fiction romance talk show San Diego Comic-Con women ABC Family joker Apple New York Comic Con Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Interview Super Bowl reviews Sci-Fi docudrama 73rd Emmy Awards Arrowverse SXSW Turner award winner Superheroes Christmas cinemax Television Academy scene in color dragons First Look Polls and Games Paramount historical drama TV Land Pride Month miniseries Film ITV Disney+ Disney Plus diversity Quiz Ovation The CW foreign Creative Arts Emmys Thanksgiving Infographic BET Awards Showtime robots films ghosts animated Rom-Com cats ABC Signature Sundance Now series Disney streaming service period drama TBS rotten 2019 scorecard asian-american Exclusive Video Tumblr Starz ABC cops kaiju discovery First Reviews Peacock posters Hallmark Christmas movies wonder woman SundanceTV dogs hispanic Cartoon Network japanese psycho Paramount Network VICE Funimation razzies romantic comedy Musicals RT History cults politics binge Writers Guild of America A24 spanish language Trophy Talk concert dc football Extras Ellie Kemper cartoon heist movie 72 Emmy Awards Character Guide Marvel Studios Biopics BBC America deadpool comic book movie technology parents Spike Mary poppins ESPN streaming movies Awards Tour hidden camera