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Leia's silhouette in The Last Jedi

There are few properties more universally loved than the Star Wars franchise. The galaxy far, far away has appealed to generations of moviegoers, many of whom pass on the tradition to their kids. But with so many fully grown fans of the series, there is a strange dichotomy to producing each installment. They've got to be kid friendly without being kids movies. This dynamic is also known as the Phantom Menace clause, although director Colin Trevorrow maintains that looking at the films through a child's perspective is important. And he'll be doing just that while directing the untitled Episode IX.

Colin Trevorrow recently spoke to Fandango about his upcoming drama The Book of Henry. Of course, all roads eventually lead to Star Wars. And when pressed about Trevorrow's attitude toward crafting the film for younger audiences, he said:

It's how it was with us [growing up]. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia were all characters that we were able to identify with in various ways, and especially with the character of Rey and what she means to young girls right now, and the challenges that she's up against. It is extremely crucial that I understand what actual children are feeling about these stories that we're telling them, and I think it's important that I have kids, and if filmmakers don't have kids, they should go talk to them because they don't see things the same way that we did when we were kids. So, yes, I am very dialed in to that because I think it's a requisite of the job.

This is a pretty thoughtful response by the Jurassic World director, and should be a good sign for the hardcore Star Wars fandom. The final installment in the new trilogy will presumably feature extremely high stakes, so many adult fans will want to be sure that the story carries the appropriate emotional weight. But the franchise was always produced with kids in mind, so being cognizant of young Star Wars fans' perspective is equally important.

But this line is a tricky one to walk. And we can see how going too far on one side can result in disaster. George Lucas' Star Wars: The Phantom Menace has been ripped apart for being essentially a children's movie. Between the young character of Anakin Skywalker and Jar Jar Binks' clown-like behavior, Episode I felt just a bit too family friendly. Fan backlash was so strong that Lucas all but wrote Jar Jar out of the franchise, further demonstrating how tricky it is so find the perfect balance for Star Wars films.

While I'm eager to see how Colin Trevorrow's vision affects Episode IX, we have another Star Wars installment to worry about first. Rian Johnsons' Star Wars: The Last Jedi will arrive in theaters on December 15th. In the meantime, check out our 2017 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

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