Small But Mighty: Forces of Destiny
I wanted to write a piece about my family's experience with Forces of Destiny, but struggled to figure out what exactly what. I didn't want to review the shorts or toys; I didn't have any weighty thoughts about themes or content. But I can't stop thinking about Forces of Destiny, about how a microseries has made such an impact, about how I can't wait for the next batch of shorts to be released. I'm not done with Forces of Destiny. And I hope you aren't either.
The eight shorts that debuted on YouTube earlier this year were a daily highlight at my house. I'm fairly certain my anticipation and excitement was equal to if not greater than my kids'. Once we became accustomed to the animation style (and yes, my kids had many hot takes on #PrettyAnakin) and the short length, we were all equally delighted in these stories. My youngest has a significantly shorter attention span than my eldest, and these shorts captured their attention in a way that only Star Wars Rebels and Lego Star Wars Freemaker Adventures has before. This is the kid that is not as into Star Wars as I am (which is 100% fine and we enjoy many things together--don't want to make it seem like a problem when it isn't) but it gave my Star Wars inner-nerd just a jolt of happiness to hear repeated requests to watch Forces of Destiny.
I purchased and read aloud to the kids the companion book Star Wars Forces of Destiny Volume 1 Daring Adventures by Emma Carlson Berne. The book features stories about Rey, Padmé and Ahsoka, and Sabine (we haven't seen the short featuring this story yet) with interludes with Maz Kanata. The themes of friendship, loyalty, and kindness that are evident in the shorts illuminate the text--the heroines demonstrate these values in a way that isn't preachy or heavy-handed, and it doesn't talk down to kids.
Despite the price point (which was high for our family) I dug up some unused Disney Rewards and purchased Endor Leia & Wicket as well as Resistance Rey & BB8 for my kids. My husband initially asked if I purchased them as Christmas gifts, but my excitement was too high to wait that long. My kids, especially my youngest ADORED these dolls. They love changing their outfits and weapons, setting up scenarios and acting out well-known and original-to-them Star Wars moments. As a kid, I was never too into dolls or toys, so it has been a special treat to just watch them play. A couple of things my oldest noticed were that the dolls stand flat-footed "like people that wear normal shoes" as opposed to feet permanently deformed into a high-heel wearing position. Also worthy of note is that both my kids commented on the size of the dolls' bodies--noting that their legs are solid "like strong women's legs." I'll admit I had a crisis of conscience about my kids playing with Barbies, so these nods to realistic body images are truly appreciated. I also need to point out that Leia has held the light saber as much as Rey, and she may have taken a swipe or two at my Kylo Ren Funko Pop.
What I love most about Forces of Destiny though, is the focus on things like friendship, kindness, bravery, and hope. These shorts are small, and they may feature events that are inconsequential to the overall Star Wars canon; but small actions and tiny kindnesses can transform a person, a family, a planet, a galaxy.
The choices we make,
the actions we take,
moments, both big and small,
shape us into
forces of destiny.
The generations to come will have been shaped by Jyn, Leia, Padmé, Ahsoka, Sabine, Hera, and Rey. They will be forces of destiny. And that gives me tremendous hope.