Star Wars: Luke Skywalker's Amazing Story looks innocent enough — an easy-reader take on the Star Wars saga — but inside these pages is the father of all spoilers. Literally.
It's hard enough raising a child to be a responsible geek. It's a lot like curating a museum — gathering the right materials, arranging them properly, creating a narrative flow that will gently open their eyes to the glory of the imaginary. And, for geeks like me — geeks for whom Star Wars is a primal influence — George Lucas' saga is a waypoint in that flow of unparalleled importance.
So imagine my surprise while reading a book called Star Wars: Luke Skywalker's Amazing Story to my six-year-old son — who has yet to make it past A New Hope — and I come upon the following the bit:
Luke's father is called Anakin Skywalker. Anakin Skywalker was once a Jedi, like Obi-Wan Kenobi. But Anakin turned to the Dark Side of the Force. Then he became known as Darth Vader.
Just like that, this book tosses off the most potent revelation in the entire Star Wars saga. A revelation that, as a Builder of Young Geeks, I hoped would carry the same unspoiled charge that detonated my brain when I was his age. Now, the most I can hope for is that he'll forget when we get around to watching Empire.
I'm all for simplifying a story so that beginning readers can make it through without too many hurdles to understanding. But, sweet jeebus, a little care to protect but the inherent value of the franchise — as well as the eventual enjoyment of said franchise — would be nice.