Episodic Dilemma, Episode II: The New Revised Standard (Machete) Order

About six months ago, I wrote about one of the biggest problems die-hard Star Wars fans face: what’s the best order in which to view the Star Wars films? To recap: I’m the child of one of the OG fans (one who proudly boasts of standing in line for hours in 1977), and now that there are ten–soon to be eleven–films, what I once knew to be true (OG trilogy then the prequels aka by order of release) no longer applies.

Now Star Wars fans debate the proper watch order. The three most common orders are 1) chronological or, Episodes 1-3, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Rogue One, Episodes 4-8; 2) order of release or, Episodes 4-6, 1-3, Episode 7, Rogue One, Episode 8, Solo: A Star Wars Story; and 3) machete order or, Episodes 4, 5, 2, 3, 6, (optional) 7, 8. I would like to propose instead what I call the New Revised Machete Order.

The New Revised Machete ORder according to…me.

So, I appreciate the Machete Order because by placing episodes 2 (Attack of the Clones) and 3 (Revenge of the Sith) between 5 (The Empire Strikes Back) and 6 (Return of the Jedi), you get a true backstory to Anakin Skywalker and it makes his redemption in episode 6 much sweeter. I propose to add to that order with the more recent additions of the films.

Behold! My order for watching Star Wars along with my reasoning….hopefully this makes sense to more than just me.

Episode 4: A New HOpe/Rogue One

So, I’ve debated with myself for a long time on where to put Rogue One. Should it go before Episode 4 because the events of the film take place before the start of ANH? No, because I firmly believe in starting the franchise with the film that started it all. Instead, I’ve compromised and decided to watch them together.

Start A New Hope, watch until Chapter 42 (or, when the Rebel Alliance breaks down the plans to destroy the Death Star) then switch to Rogue One. After RO, switch back to ANH. I discovered that watching this way adds to the urgency of Cassian and Jyn’s mission to get the Death Star plans, and makes Luke, Leia, and Han’s victory in ANH much more sweet.

Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back

This is the best Star Wars film, so watch it in its entirety and enjoy. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

Duel of the Fates/Episode 2: Attack Of The Clones/Episode 3: Revenge of the sith

After ESB, switch to the prequels. I don’t really like most of Episode I, but TPM does have one of the most epic lightsaber battles in SW history. I turn on the film in chapter 39 (“The Duel of the Fates”) and watch to the end just so I can enjoy Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan’s battle with Darth Maul (by far the coolest villain in the saga, imo).

From there I continue on with Episodes II and III and really focus on Anakin’s downward spiral to the Darkside, and also the rising sense of imperialism that Padme fights against.

Episode 6: The Return of the JEdi

Finishing off the original trilogy after getting Anakin’s backstory really makes Darth Vader’s redemption much more satisfying. Padme’s insistence that there was still good in Anakin wasn’t complete bullshirt after all! Everybody say Yub Nub!

THe Mandalorian

This one is a very recent addition to the watch list, and even though the first season of the Disney+ series hasn’t finished airing, I’m still confident enough to suggest watching The Mandalorian after Episode 6 to get a good feeling of what the galaxy post-Empire looked like. Seeing the distrust and political unrest definitely makes it more plausible for the First Order to happen and also…there’s Baby Yoda. I have spoken.

Episode 7: The Force Awakens/Episode 8: THe Last Jedi (and, eventually Episode 9: THe Rise of Skywalker…)

The new trilogy wraps up what was started back in 1977 (what Disney execs are now calling the ‘Skywalker Saga’). Familiar faces and new ones still battle for dominance in the most metaphor-filled allegorical light-versus-dark struggle of all-time. It makes sense to me to keep these ones at the end of the chronological order…for now. I can’t say conclusively that this trilogy will give a satisfying ending to the saga because, well, I don’t see Episode 9 until tomorrow night, but I am keen to seen how Rey and Kylo’s story is going to end.

Well, this is the viewing order I’ve chosen and it’s the one that, to me, presents the story the most effectively and in the most engaging way. With nine-ish films and a tv series, it’s definitely more of an entire-weekend binge than a one-evening-on-the-couch. As much as I miss the simple days of sitting down and watching all of Star Wars in one go, I am glad that this world has gotten some new life in the past decade.

Grab some blue milk, and maybe some rations, and may the Force be with you as you enjoy your rewatch.

P.S. Yes, I did skip Solo….but I don’t feel like it adds to the SW universe so it didn’t make the cut. I have spoken.

What’s your preferred watch-order for Star Wars? Tweet at us! @collectivenerds