'Last Jedi' director discusses whether kids should see it

Director Rian Johnson tells an Australian dad on Twitter that there are "intense" scenes in the upcoming Star Wars film.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

There are some tense moments coming in "The Last Jedi."


No question, the Star Wars saga has some disturbing scenes, from Anakin's limb-losing volcanic nightmare to Han Solo's horrific carbonite freeze frame.

But grim or not, the saga is a favorite with many kids, some of whom began watching the films (and playing with the assorted toys) in toddlerhood.

On Thursday night, an Australian fan and father of a 7-year-old wrote to podcast host David Chen, asking how old a child should be before watching the Star Wars movies.

"I have always known and been well aware of (creator George) Lucas' vision and constant maintaining that these are kids' films," wrote Nathan, who asked that his last name not be used. "But with the war themes, mass murder and genocide with the basic concept of the Death Star, I see material that is highly inappropriate for most children."

Chen passed the ball to the one person who might know better than anyone -- Rian Johnson, director of the upcoming "Last Jedi," and Johnson tweeted a reply.

While "The Last Jedi" hasn't been officially rated yet, its predecessor, "The Force Awakens," was rated PG-13 "for sci-fi action violence," and the Internet Movie Database expects "Last Jedi" to follow suit, noting that the film could be darker than the acclaimed but serious "The Empire Strikes Back" from the 1980s.

Other Star Wars fans weighed in after Johnson's reply, with many sharing their own mature-movie childhood experiences.

"The Last Jedi" comes out on Dec. 15.

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