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“Yoda on top of the Christmas tree”: Star Wars Families in the United States

“I was raised in a home where I couldn’t have the volume on when I watched TV, if I got to watch TV [at all]” says Milan Nguyen. “So when my cousins took me to this huge movie theatre, with these loud, amazing battles going on…it was pretty awesome.” Milan was eight when she watched Star Wars for the first time. Now, she shares her appreciation for the Skywalker saga with her kids: Brandon, Jacob, Paul, and James. Years ago, the Nguyen family story was very different. Milan was living in Washington DC with Jacob, then aged three, and was pregnant with James when she left their father and moved in with her parents. “Grandma and Grandpa said, ‘Come and live with us, and we’ll help take care of you,’” she describes. “They were great to take us in and help us out, and made it a warm and loving place for us.” They built a gym at the back of the house for Milan to use to train her clients — she works as …

A rock band and a newborn in the desert: Star Wars Families in Dubai

Musicians Will and Gill Janssen have spent the last few years living the rock’n’roll dream. Expats from Canada and Scotland respectively, the couple live in Dubai and play keyboard and drums in The Boxtones, one of the city’s leading bands. Signed to Universal Music MENA, they have toured the world and played support slots for some of the world’s biggest artists, including Liam Gallagher, The Stereophonics and Bryan Adams. Yet while their lives revolve around playing music, the Janssen’s Dubai Marina apartment suggests there is another prominent passion in their lives: the Force. Boxes of Star Wars jigsaw puzzles sit alongside Star Wars vinyl records and read-along cassette tapes, while Darth Vader’s cloak and headpiece hang ominously in the corner, overlooking a pristine collection of Stormtrooper helmets. The room’s light switch reads ‘LIGHT SIDE’ and ‘DARK SIDE’, and their cats are named after characters in the films. You might even hear John Williams’ iconic score playing. “It gives me peace,” says Will. “You sit back after a long day, you put on some music, no …

The Sikh family living a Jedi lifestyle: Star Wars Families in Australia

Amarjit Singh was the one who initiated his family into a love of the Force. “The first time I watched Star Wars was when it initially came out in 1977. It just blew us apart,” he describes. “It was beyond its time. I just fell in love straight away, and it’s been a part of our lives ever since.” The films are a mainstay of Singh family life. “All of the recent movies that have come out, we watch a few times,” says Updesh, “but the first time is always as a family.” The Singhs are a Sikh family living in Melbourne. Amarjit, 57, is a nurse; his wife, Gurmit, works for a textiles company; his children, Kirtan, 20, and Updesh, 23, both work in retail. Updesh has just completed her studies in psychology and Kirtan is pursuing a degree in education, which he hopes to switch to media. Together, they share a love for the galaxy far, far away. There are parallels in the power of the Force and the religion practised by the …