The Valentine Menace


About four score and seven years ago, when we could still go to conventions, I found a relic of a bygone era in a bargain bin. As a scavenger and hoarder of all things Star Wars, this artifact called to me, and with 20 Swedish krona (~$2.40, which, adjusted for inflation, is only about 41¢ cheaper than if I had bought it new – not that much of a bargain, looking at the state of it) in hand and ready to spend them, I answered the call with delight. Yes, Valentine’s Day had already come and gone that year, but surely, you can see why I absolutely could not pass these up. I mean:

A tattered carton with motifs from The Phantom Menace. Star Wars Episode I Valentines - 8 different card designs!

I had to have them, obviously.

When The Phantom Menace opened in 1999, I was 11, and the kids I might have given Valentines to were, in hindsight, wholly undeserving of these wonderfully nineties-looking Valentines. The heart wants what it wants, but had I searched my feelings, I would have known this to be true. In fact, looking back, few of my erstwhile paramours would have deserved any of these, to be perfectly frank. Well, perhaps the Maul one, but we will get to that.

Since today is Valentine’s Day, 21 years later (obligatory sense of existential dread and rapid onset old age incoming), I felt like it was time to finally open the carton. And because I am who I am, I will go through these cards one by one, judging them on their viability both in and out of universe. Let us see how well these nineties/early noughties Valentines hold up today.

“Mighty blasters! It’s Valentine’s Day!” 

This might have been age-appropriate for me when I was 11, I will give it that. I can also imagine little Anakin giving this to Padmé, with her gracing him with an angel’s smile and a “how thoughtful of you, Ani” in return (which, ouch). “Mighty blasters”, though? It kind of sounds like something a marketing person came up with, without really knowing much about Star Wars beyond “things go pew pew.” For the disingenuous taste this leaves in my mouth, it is a no from me. Sorry, Ani.

“To someone I can always count on!”

I am not sure about this one. True, reliability is great in a partner, but on a Valentine’s card, it feels a bit less like “I love you”, and more “I love what you can do for me.” This is Padmé saying, “You are such a very good friend, Anakin”. Which, yes, is absolutely in line with The Phantom Menace canon. He is a good friend to the Queen of Naboo, and a cute kid, but he is not her Valentine. Not yet. As for myself, I could maybe stow this one away in some drawer for when my partner and I have been together for another thirty years, at which point I imagine I will have run out of other cards to give. This is just too bland for me, even though that picture of Padmé is divine. Next.

A Valentines card featuring an image of Darth Maul looking very menacing holding his iconic double-bladed lightsaber, with the text "Here's hoping someone's after YOU this Valentine's Day!"

“Here’s hoping someone’s after YOU this Valentine’s Day!”

This is someone’s idea of romance, I am sure, and who am I to romance-shame? However, to me, this is a card I would passive-aggressively send to my hypothetical nemesis as a barely concealed threat. Top tier menace, if that is what you are going for. Alternatively, it is a card I would send to someone who had nurtured hopes of romancing me, in order to effectively spurn their advances. I wish you all happiness with that certain someone who is most definitely not me. Thank you.

A Valentines card featuring an image of the unfinished, "naked" C-3PO that we meet in Episode I, with the text "It's what's on the INSIDE that counts!"

“It’s what’s on the INSIDE that counts!”

So, let me get this straight… not “you are beautiful, inside and out.” Not “without you, I am unfinished.” And not, hear me out, a play on a classic Threepio line: “We seem to be made for each other. It’s our lot in life.” I mean. This card. This card, to me, could just as well have said “hey, you’re not ugly, you’re really nice!” Swing and a miss, friend.

“Trust your feelings on Valentine’s Day!”

Well, now we are getting somewhere! This is a very nice way of saying “you might not feel the same way about me, and I respect that, but here is my unconditional Valentine if you want it,” and “follow your heart, whether it leads you to me or to someone else entirely.” There is no demand here, like “be my Valentine!” or “be mine!” There is no question that needs to be answered, like “will you be my Valentine?” Just “trust your feelings,” which, apart from being a very smooth pick-up line (hey, it would work on me!), is always good advice, whether in a romantic or platonic context. A+ for a surprisingly progressive Valentine, Master Qui-Gon.

A Valentines card featuring an image of a charmingly smiling Jar Jar Binks with the text "Mesa wish you maxie big Val Day!"

“Mesa wish you maxie big Val Day!”

Now, I do not know if you have seen what I have seen on TikTok, but Jar Jar thirst traps, gleefully shared by my beloved fellow Stardusters, have scarred me for life. Thus, while I could absolutely be funny and make some off-color jokes here about wanting something else to be big, besides just the day… or “you know what they say about sentient amphibians with large ears”… for the sake of my sanity, I will just say: Jar Jar is cute. But he is not my kink. If he is yours, mazel tov! As for in-universe Valentines, I am unsure whether this “line” would work on another Gungans, no matter their… proclivities. Personally, I think Jar Jar would have better luck telling his crush that he would like to braid their silky whiskers.

A Valentines card featuring an image of R2-D2, cute as ever, with the text "Hope your Valentine's Day is something to whistle about!"

“Hope your Valentine’s Day is something to whistle about!”

This is harmless and cute, as far as Valentine cards go – harmless, and utterly bloodless. For a character as loud, opinionated and passionate as Artoo, I would have expected a bit more “oomph.” It is not really authentically Artoo unless you have to beep something out, right? “You are in my very soul, tormenting me” this ain’t. 

A Valentines card featuring an image of young Obi-Wan Kenobi, sporting his lovely little Padawan braid, with the text "I've got a GREAT feeling about your Valentine's Day!"

“I’ve got a GREAT feeling about your Valentine’s Day!”

Finally, we have Obi-Wan who, following in his Master’s footsteps, comes through with a hopeful, yet respectful Valentine’s wish. Is it perhaps a bit on the meek side? Sure. However, I would argue it is perfectly in line with what a young, beardless Padawan would give to his secret sweetheart. Or, if we are being real, to someone like Master Jocasta Nu, signed “your secret admirer,” just to make her feel special. Because Obi is a precious, good boy – everyone knows this. I dare you to challenge me on this point.

Now, wasn’t that something? Please stop by our Instagram and tell us which Valentine is your favorite out of this stellar bunch. I need to know. For science. And no matter where you are, whether you are alone or with your special someone (or someones!), I hope you have all trusted your feelings, as Qui-Gon would have wanted you to.