This week at the Official Star Wars Costumes blog, we’re tackling an age old question for Star Wars fans. What’s the best order to watch the Star Wars movies, from start to finish?
We’ll explore the options, including one lesser-known option.
The first option is to watch the movie in the order they were released, i.e. IV, V, VI, I, II, III.
This is the simplest, and the way many people experience the movies the first time, especially those that enjoyed the original trilogy before the prequels came out. The greatest strength of this order is that it allows a new viewer to see the original trilogy without knowing the twists.
However, this order presents several issues (we’re sure you know them). First, once the original trilogy ends and we get to the prequels, all mystery from the series is gone. We already know everything: Anakin becomes Darth Vader, Palpatine is Sidious, Luke and Leia are siblings, and we know the Empire has been crippled. All that the prequels tell us is how it got started. A new watcher has little reason to get invested.
There’s also the fact that, simply, the prequels aren’t that good. We’re looking at you, Phantom Menace. Young Ani, Jar-Jar, Watto, the love story, midischlorians, the dialogue, podracing . . . the list goes on. Episode III treads water, but isn’t free of its own issues.
The second prevalent order, and the one that George Lucas himself says is the right one, is to watch the prequels first, then the original trilogy.
For a first time viewer, this is hardly better. By watching the prequels first, we are told how Palpatine rose to power, how Anakin become Darth Vader, and the relationship between Luke and Leia – but at that point, none of it means anything. Only by watching the original movies does any of it begin to mean anything, but by then, the twists are revealed anyway! The only thing that we get to see is the resolution of Darth Vader and Luke, and the final battle in Episode VI.
There is one more order to watch the movies, and it’s a bit strange:
The Machete Order
This is a popular idea created by Rod Hilton, after adapting a similar idea by Ernst Rister. The idea here is to somehow show most of the movies without ruining either storyline, and here’s how:
Episode IV, Episode V, Episode II, Episode III, and Episode VI.
Wild! You’ll notice a few things. First, the list is missing an entire movie.
By removing Episode I, a lot of the sticking points for the series are removed. Podracing, midichlorians, and Jake Lloyd are gone. Jar-Jar is reduced to a small cameo in the second movie.
Rod takes the time to explain the many reasons why this order works (and the problems that come with it) but it boils down to this: In Episode V, Darth Vader is revealed as Luke’s father. It then shows Episodes II and III, which hold both the twist that Palpatine is Sidious, and that Luke and Leia are siblings. We then see the conclusion of the original trilogy with Episode VI.
The prequels come at a perfect time in the order, with a staggering cliffhanger: Han in carbonite, Darth Vader’s identity is revealed, and the rebellion scattered. Having the prequels inside the original trilogy also raises the stakes in Episode VI – the viewer may wonder if Luke is going to fall to the dark side like his father.
While this order is only effective for a first-time viewer, Rod himself tried it, and has reported that it is quite effective.
There you have it, a few different ways to enjoy the Star Wars movies. Official Star Wars Costumes watches the original trilogy every weekend. Let us know your favorite way to watch, or if you’ve tried to Machete method! Also, what will happen when episode VII is release, in what order will you watch the movies?