Update: Representatives from Disney have contacted Fatherly and disputed the validity of what was allegedly said. The original Newsweek report also reflects this and contains an amended statement from Disney. According to Disney, this word is not banned.
Where in our culture, do you find the difference between the artistic freedom of Star Wars and the commercial viability of Star Wars? The answer is clearly what you can and can’t say at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland. After an extremely busy opening of the hugely anticipated theme park attraction, one small detail emerged relevant for parents and children. Do you remember what Yoda and Obi-Wan call children-Jedi-in-training in the Star Wars prequels? Well, if you do, don’t expect the in-character staff at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to say that word.
That’s’ right, according to early reports, you can’t say “younglings” at Disneyland, and that’s because of one line for Revenge of the Sith. On Thursday, Newsweek reported that according to Star Wars YouTuber Jenny Nicholson, staff will no longer say “younglings,” and instead say “kids” or “children.” The reason why is: “Parents didn’t like it because one of the only times you hear it in the movies is the phrase ‘killing younglings.'”
Also a cast member said "kids" and I jokingly said "oh, younglings?" and she blindsided me by telling me they're already scrubbing "younglings" from the vocab. Parents didn't like it because one of the only times you hear it in the movies is the phrase "killing younglings." Fair.
— Jenny Nicholson 🔜 Galaxy's Edge (@JennyENicholson) May 31, 2019
Now, this isn’t an officially confirmed press release from Disney or anything like that, so it’s not clear that this is 100 percent true. And though Obi-Wan does say “I’ve seen security footage of Anakin killing younglings,” in Revenge of the Sith, Yoda also warmly and affectionately calls the smallest Jedi Padawans “younglings.” It’s also notable that the word “younglings” is spoken with affection and reverence relative to young Jedi children throughout the popular animated cartoon series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Also, at some point, before George Lucas sold Lucasfilm and the Star Wars IP to Disney in 2012, he was considering a spin-off series just about younglings.
If parents really are objecting to the use of the word “younglings” at Disneyland because it triggers the line “killing younglings” in the minds of their younglings, then two things become true right away.
First: these parents are letting their kids watch Revenge of the Sith enough times that this “killing younglings” line is burned in their brains. This is a dubious parenting decision. You could argue that Revenge of the Sith shouldn’t really be a movie kids should watch until they are at least in their early tweens, perhaps later.
Second: Despite the huge hoopla made in the fandom about the return of The Clone Wars, families maybe don’t really care about Star Wars cartoons? Because if their younglings were watching the programming aimed at younglings and not the murder-fest that is Revenge of the Sith, then they would know “younglings” is a word to be celebrated.
Update 2: Because Disney now claims “younglings” is a word that is uttered by staff at Galaxy’s Edge all the time, it seems like Disney agrees with our assessment. The word should be celebrated; Anakin’s dark deeds notwithstanding.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is open now, and you can start making new reservations in early July.