‘Star Wars’ Now Banned For Children

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A young boy in a beige outfit walks next to a large, rounded building on a sandy surface, with the "Star Wars" logo prominently displayed above.

Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

A recent revision in age ratings means Star Wars is off-limits for children.

Since debuting in 1977, the Star Wars franchise has established itself as a favorite with young and old viewers alike. While the series contains some extremely adult elements – such as, you know, patricide, the murder of younglings, and Obi-Wan leaving Anakin to burn to death – the series as a whole remains universally accessible, which is just one of the reasons why fans of all ages still flock to see it in theaters nearly 50 years later.

Kylo Ren and Rey fighting in Rise of Skywalker
Credit: Lucasfilm

When it comes to the big screen, we’re currently in a Star Wars lull. The next film – The Mandalorian & Grogu (2026) – isn’t set to hit theaters for another two years, which means there will have been a seven-year gap between that and the last film, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker (2019).

However, there’s still plenty of Star Wars content on Disney+ to keep us going in the meantime – and we’re about to receive a rerelease of every installment of the Skywalker Saga in theaters to mark the 25th Anniversary of Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace (1999).

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) ready to battle with their lightsabers in Phantom Menace
Credit: Lucasfilm

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For younger fans, there’s just one issue. One film has just received a brand-new rating, meaning Younglings will be prohibited from theatrical screenings.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has upgraded the age rating of The Phantom Menace from U (suitable for children aged four and above) to PG (suitable for children aged eight and above with parental guidance) ahead of these screenings and added a warning for “moderate violence, mild threat.”

Jar Jar Binks talking to Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon in 'The Phantom Menace'
Credit: Lucasfilm

BBFC reportedly changed the age rating due to the “strength of violence” in the film. The scenes that influenced this decision included those in which Darth Maul (Ray Park and Peter Serafinowicz) is sliced in half with a Lightsaber by Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), and Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) is stabbed through the chest.

The scenes in question include Darth Maul being sliced in half by a Lightsaber and Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn getting stabbed through the torso. The new Star Wars: The Phantom Menace rating is accompanied by a “moderate violence, mild threat” warning. The BBFC’s full description for the film reads: “A pair of Jedi warriors escape a planet amid failed trade negotiations and encounter a highly gifted enslaved boy in this 1999 sci-fi adventure prequel. Comic interludes counterbalance slightly intense fight scenes.”

Ray Park as Darth Maul in 'The Phantom Menace'
Credit: Lucasfilm

This isn’t the first time the BBFC has retrospectively decided a Star Wars film is inappropriate for younger viewers. In December 2023, it revised its rating for Star Wars Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) from U to PG. Research by the BBFC has recently indicated that audiences are becoming increasingly concerned about the level of violence in movies, which has influenced its decision to revise its film classification standards this month.

The new age rating only impacts British venues. In the U.S., The Phantom Menace has always been rated PG. Some countries boast even higher age ratings, with the likes of Brazil, Poland, the Netherlands, and Norway only recommending the film to those over the age of 12 and Thailand to those over 13.

Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) mourning over Qui-Gon (Liam Neeson) in 'Star Wars: The Phantom Menace'
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Disney Is Changing ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace’

For those old enough to attend, Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace will see a young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) and the iconic Jar-Jar Binks (Ahmed Best) return to theaters with the rest of the Skywalker Saga beginning May 4, 2024 (AKA Star Wars Day).

Do you agree with the new age rating for Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace? Let us know in the comments!

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