Star Wars Toys, Childhood Totems

Like many children in the 1980s I grew up with Star Wars figures as my toy of first preference. It is difficult to think back to those days now and recall exactly what was going through my mind when I played with them, but I know that I spent countless hours engrossed with that activity. It would be a joy to go back now to experience the imagined adventures held within concentrated daydreams.

Those Star Wars figures were carried with me in childhood hands and accompanied me everywhere. I have a distinct memory of even bringing them into the bath with me to recreate the cold snow-filled Hoth landscape in a warm bubble bath and having the intrepid duo of Han and Leia traverse the treacherous white peaks of bubbles.

It makes me glad to think that this childlike attachment to toys is even reflected at times within the saga itself. In the very first film to hit our screens Luke plays with a toy a T-16 Skyhopper. Likewise there’s some speculation from eagle eyed fans as to whether he even had a toy Maz Kanata. Even in the most recent film seen in cinemas young Jyn Erso is seen to have abandoned her own toy, named “Stormie”. I think it is intriguing to have an in-saga acknowledgement of the attachment to these childhood toys.

The phenomenon of strong attachments to objects such as toys tends to be confined to the western world, where children usually sleep apart from their parents at an early age. A study of the attachment was conducted some years ago by Bruce Hood, of the University of Bristol, and Paul Bloom of Yale University in the US. It noted the following in relation to the attachment to specific toys in childhood,

If there was a machine which copied a favourite object in every way down to atomic level, we would still prefer the original. It has an essence to it…We anthropomorphise objects, look at them almost as if they have feelings. The children know these objects are not alive but they believe in them as if they are.”

I thought that this was a particularly interesting observation in the context of Star Wars given that saga’s focus on the role of the Force. Although as adults we feel forced to dismiss such notions as silly, there is an essence or preciousness afforded to these objects as a child through our close connection. Any parent whose child has lost their particular favourite toy can attest to the sense of panic that is experienced if such a treasured toy is lost on a family day out.

Now I’m conscious of the fact that Star Wars toys are and always were a consumer driven phenomenon. So it’s nice to appreciate that for some children Star Wars toys go on to become that very special totem that they carry with them everywhere and that are bestowed with that special connection at an “atomic level”.

I know that the possession of such items, and the attachment to them, may seem like a luxury in the Western world. To that end I would recommend that you pay close attention to the Imperial Talker website on Force Friday this year. 

That site is be putting forward a very special Star Wars Toy Giveaway challenge; a challenge that will endorse and assist the type of connection to Star Wars toys that I formed with mine a long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away. 

Save the Dream. Save the Rebellion. 

A @PartisanCantina post. 


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