Star Wars isn’t exactly known for an abundance of kid characters. It may ultimately target children as its audience, but it took four movies before we got a kid as a main character. And we had to wait until the animated shows before we got supremely awesome kids like Ahsoka Tano and Ezra Bridger.
Look, I get it. Kids are awkward. They tend to make a lot of questionable choices. They can be annoying. And not all kids’ experiences are inherently interesting (even in the Star Wars universe). But when kids factor into the story in a meaningful way, that target audience (i.e., kids) becomes incredibly absorbed in and dedicated to the narrative.
If you’ve ever watched the Star Wars films with a child (your own or someone else’s), then you know exactly what I mean. Those characters—Anakin, Ahsoka, and Ezra—are their gateway into the saga. They see themselves in the story and know that even kids can play a critical role in events that have galactic consequences.
Unfortunately, in a universe with hundreds of characters, we know about the childhoods of far too few. I’m not saying we need to know the complete life history of every character. We don’t. However, if there’s one thing we can learn from Ahsoka and Ezra, it’s that sometimes, a well-told story about a young character can be an incredibly compelling thing. And my kids agree.
With the stories that are still on the horizon, we may yet learn about (or see) some characters’ younger years. I think it’s only inevitable that we’ll learn more about Kylo Ren and Rey. Their childhoods are critical to their characters, so it’s only a matter of time before clarity is brought to their stories and we see what happened to them during those formative years.
There are a few characters, I’ll admit, that I think probably had incredibly interesting childhoods, but I don’t necessarily want to see those stories played out on the big screen or written about at length in a novel. Yoda is one. Darth Maul is another. I prefer the mystery.
But there are some characters whose stories just beg to be told. With that in mind, here are five characters (in no particular order) whose childhoods I think are worthy of further exploration.
Chime in with your thoughts. What characters do you want to see as kids?
She was fairly young when we first met her as queen in The Phantom Menace, but what led to that point? What are the logistics behind a 14-year-old becoming involved in politics, let alone becoming queen of an entire planet? I mean, it seems as if many kids on Naboo have fascinating childhoods, but you’d be hard pressed to find another character that was quite so accomplished and experienced by the age of 10. Some of Padmé’s backstory was filled in during The Clone Wars, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions and compelling stories to be told. Padmé was already kicking butt and taking names at 14; you know she had a uniquely eventful childhood.
First of all, what kind of childhood leads to the life of a bounty hunter? Second, what kind of life experiences lead someone to accept the terms he did in order to make the clone army a reality? We’ve peeked through the window to see a bit of Boba Fett’s childhood (as well as a few other clone troopers), and in a sense, they’re all the same person. But Jango is the genetic template for all of the rest. He’s the master copy, and his life (and childhood) was dramatically different from any of theirs. We got to see how childhood trauma drove young Boba. I’m really curious to see what drove Jango.
We’ve gotten glimpses of her as a younger woman in The Clone Wars, and we’ll soon see more of her in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but I’m willing to bet that Mon Mothma was a gutsy little kid on Chandrila who was always up to something. I’d love to see where she came from, the seeds of her diplomacy, and the pack of friends she ran with.
Finn might have the most revealing childhood of any character we currently know. His childhood would be a window into the brutality and ruthlessness that developed from the ashes of the Empire. How did the First Order build an army of Stormtroopers from a ragtag band of misfits and kidnapped children? How were they made more malleable and efficient than either droids or clones? Some of Finn’s experiences as a cadet-in-training have been told in Greg Rucka’s Before the Awakening, but I’d love to see more of his life before that point. Finn’s life in particular might not be incredibly interesting, but taken in context, his story—when combined with the thousands of other kids the First Order kidnapped, brainwashed, and trained—is a fascinating insight into the distortion of power, nature of evil, and lasting effects of abuse.
Come on, you know she was adorable, and you know you want to see this too. We don’t know much about Maz, but we do know that she’s over 1,000 years old. And if ever there were a character brimming over with incredible stories, Maz is it. Without (much) hyperbole, her life encompasses the entirety of the Star Wars timeline. For fans who are desperate to know more about Star Wars “prehistory” and what the galaxy was like before Yoda was even born, Maz’s childhood is where to look. Plus, there’s no way she wasn’t mindbogglingly adorable.