“For me, now, Star Wars (SW) is a familiar universe where you know the rules,” reflected Mackenzie Grant. Since Mackenzie’s birthday is May the 4th, perhaps Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi would say it’s part of Mackenzie’s destiny to become a Star Wars fan. Mackenzie discovered the world of Star Wars as a kid, through his older brother’s toys, and remembers having SW trading cards and the occasional die-cast toy with them “in the bush.”
I recently had a delightful conversation with Mackenzie, his wife Geneviève Grant, and their nine-year-old son, JP Grant, over Geneviève’s fabulous lemon cake in their Whitehorse home. Also present was the family dog, a floppy, adorable little guy named FN-2187 (or “Finn,” for short), after the SW character, of course. All of us are SW fans, so fueled by cake and tea, we covered a lot of ground in the conversation.
We talked about some of the things we think make Star Wars so darn cool: the humour, the strong female characters, Han Solo’s wisecracks, the depth of the characters in the books, and the meditations about trust, love and friendships. Geneviève and Mackenzie noted enjoying and appreciating the themes of light versus dark/good versus bad, and a love of the mind-blowing artwork. Everyone expressed their love for the range of the toys, from die-cast to the deep and detailed world of Star Wars Lego. We chatted about the thrill of the hunt for SW toys and the exciting ever-shifting market for SW collectibles.
Chatting with the Grants, I felt the warmth of being in a non-judgmental space. When I expressed some criticism for the prequels, Mackenzie offered, “I’m never going to criticize these movies; you can’t criticize it. I love them all. A bad Star Wars movie is still a Star Wars movie.”
JP weighed in on the fun of watching space battles that are exciting but never too scary. JP Also reflected on the power of friendship, in the SW world, and a desire to see sneaky George Lucas cameos in the films. We all marvelled at the depth of the worlds created. We also talked about the pitfalls of hiding your kids from the bad guys on other planets, and about the excitement for the new Obi-Wan video game. You know, we “got our fan on” … though some of us weren’t always fans.
“I didn’t start liking Star Wars until I married Mackenzie,” said Geneviève. “I’m not usually a sci-fi person because I feel it can get really unnecessarily complicated. In Star Wars, there is none of that; it is just another world.”
Geneviève reflected, “I like how it’s something the family does together; it’s part of our day-to-day. I like to talk about it with my son, and I love the story of good versus evil, a lot. I love the really powerful female characters in the series lately, with Rey, and especially Ahsoka Tano.”
Mackenzie fondly remembered watching A New Hope, when JP was a new baby, and said, “Holy smokes, this movie is still amazing as an adult.” Then he continued, “Watching it from the angle of considering, When would JP be ready to watch it? I knew in advance all the parts he would find funny.”
Mackenzie turned to JP and asked him, somewhat rhetorically, “Do you remember a world without Star Wars?” JP reported being into Star Wars since about age four, perhaps a little unsure if he could remember life without Star Wars.
I was a little older than JP was when Star Wars entered my life, but it still made a huge impact, especially the concept of The Force, which, for me, was and is very real. For those of you who are unfamiliar, in the words of Obi-Wan, to Luke, “The Force is what gives a Jedi his [or her] power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” In Star Wars, characters are either “force sensitive” or not, and those who are force sensitive tend to have rather-exciting lives and can often do the seemingly impossible by harnessing the power of The Force.
I asked the Grant family if they think The Force is real or how it plays a role in their lives. JP has not been able to lift spaceships using The Force, yet, but offered, “I think The Force could be real. I think The Force could be like air, because air is in all living things.”
Geneviève quipped, “Well, The Force is not in my life, not the way I want it to be … I’d like to be able to move boulders and stuff! So, it’s not real to me in that sense, but in the way JP describes it, ‘like air’ or connection between us.”
Mackenzie agreed he would also like the handy ability of using The Force to move things or get stuff done. On a more mystical level, he offered, “I was born and raised Catholic, so it’s as real to me as Jesus.”