You may know from my post on weird Christmas traditions about the annual Star Wars viewing that happens in my house in the lead up to Christmas. If I mention this to anyone who is a fan of Star Wars they will ask which order we are watching it in, because there are more than one ways to watch Star Wars. In fact there are four main ways! Oh, and spoilers, obviously. But if you don’t know the big twist of Star Wars yet, I have to wonder where you’ve been hiding!!
So, on to my four ways to watch Star Wars:
This is the order my husband and I have traditionally watched it in, but we are trying a different way this year. Episode order is simple, I, II, III, IV, V, VI. It means you watch the story unfold in order, which helps things make sense, but it also means the plot twist of Darth Vader being Luke’s father is ruined for you in Episode III.
It also adds an odd look because you have really amazing CGI in the prequel trilogy and then back to the 70s and 80s effects, which were groundbreaking for their time but don’t quite mesh with the leaps and bounds that graphics and special effects took in the late 90s and early 2000s.
I don’t know if someone watching the films for the first time would be able to stick out the whole six if they start with Episode I, I just don’t know if it is compelling enough.
This is the order considered the only real order by purists, IV, V, VI, I, II, III. The whole point of the prequel trilogy is to provide backstory to the original trilogy though so it seems a bit weird to watch the backstory after the main story. I totally get why they were released in this order (I don’t think the franchise would have survived if they started with Episode I) but there is very little payoff to watching it this way now.
Also, in the remastered version they replaced Sebastian Shaw as ghost Darth Vader in the final celebration scenes with Hayden Christiansen, which is just confusing if you don’t know that he was the young Anakin.
Ernest Rister Order
This order has the prequel trilogy sandwiched into the original trilogy, so you watch IV, V, I, II, III, VI. This maintains the surprise of the Darth Vader is Luke’s father revelation, as well as the Palpatine is the Emperor revelation.
This viewing method has the advantage of ruining none of the plot twists and treating the whole prequel as a flashback immediately after the ‘I am your father” moment and shows how Luke’s father became Darth Vader.
A variation on the Ernest Rister Order is the Machete Order, which is fast becoming one of the more popular ways to watch Star Wars and the way we are trying this year. The Machete Order is IV, V, II, III, VI, which is in essence the same as the previous order but omitting Episode I entirely. There isn’t a great deal of plot value in Episode I and it is widely agreed to be the worst of the six films (let’s hope Disney don’t see that as a challenge and completely ruin the sequel trilogy!).
Getting rid of Episode I gets rid of annoying little Anakin (although he’s annoying in Episode II as well), gets rid of the weird age gap between Anakin and Padme, gets rid of most of Jar-Jar Binks and gets rid of midichlorians, the bane of Star Wars fans the world over. It doesn’t really leave any significant plot holes, but you do miss out on the awesome Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn so you win some, you lose some.
Do you know of any other ways to watch Star Wars? Which order would you choose?
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