It’s May 4th, also known as Star Wars Day, which got me thinking about the best order in which to watch Star Wars movies. This brought back memories of how I was introduced to the franchise. You probably don’t know this about me – I am a HUGE Star Wars fan. Allegedly, I was in the audience in a movie theater in 1977 when Star Wars first premiered (although I have no memory of this).
My introduction to Star Wars
My first bona fide Star Wars memory is going to the Cinerama in Seattle, to see The Empire Strikes Back when it first came out. I remember being there with my mom and dad, my Uncle Bryan, Aunt Pauline and cousin Brad. When I got there, I recall thinking, “Why is there a huge line, wrapped around the block, to go to a movie?” I had been to other movies and didn’t see lines like that. Even then, people were jacked to be part of the Star Wars experience.
(SPOILER ALERT: I will be referencing Star Wars plot details and some of the major twists.)
I remember sitting in the theater when Han, Leia and Chewy arrived at Cloud City and fell into Vader’s trap. Of course, I remember the huge reveal – maybe the biggest in cinematic history – when Luke confronts Vader, and I remember thinking, “Wow, I can’t possibly wait three years for the next movie.” Three years was more than half my life at that point.
Fast forward a few years, and Return of the Jedi was premiering. My brother, my Aunt Pauline and I went to the King Theater and watched Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back, back to back. The next day, the Wilder family hit the UA 150 for a showing of Return of the Jedi.
By this time, we were into the VHS era, and, of course, we had VHS copies of all the movies. You probably won’t believe this, but I’ve easily seen the movies in the original trilogy a hundred times each. My brother says it’s more likely I’ve seen them 500 times each.
So yeah, I’m a fan. I love Star Wars. It’s a part of my childhood, and, even as an adult, I still watch all the Star Wars movies at least once a year. I also enjoy the prequels, which, in my opinion, aren’t perfect but get unfairly judged. Despite wooden acting and poor writing, they have some amazing sequences.
How to watch Star Wars movies … in the “right” order
Of course, I originally watched the films in the order in which they were released. I’ve also since watched them in chronological order. (For those who have not been introduced to the amazing world of Star Wars, they were originally released in this order: 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3.) I hadn’t decided which was was better. Either way, you learn things about characters or the story along the way that spoil things in the other films.
Then someone introduced me to the “Machete Order,” which suggests the best way to watch the Star Wars movies is:
- Episode 4: A New Hope
- Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back
- Episode 2: Attack of the Clones
- Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith
- Episode 6: Return of the Jedi
You might notice in the Machete Order there is no Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. It’s not because the movie is bad or the person who came up with the machete order really hates Jar Jar Binks. It’s because it’s unnecessary to the story arc and can be watched as a standalone film, or ignored.
Watching the films in the Machete Order preserves all the plot twists and surprises, such as when Luke first meets Yoda, when Darth Vader reveals he’s Luke’s father and Darth Vader redeeming himself at the end of Return of the Jedi.
After you finish the Machete Order, check out Rogue One, which is a fantastic movie for Star Wars fans. If you haven’t seen Rogue One, I highly recommend it!
The Star Wars aficionado in me thinks the Machete Order makes a lot of sense. My wife is a hardcore chronological movie-watcher, so it may take some convincing, but next time I need my Star Wars fix, I am going to give the Machete Order a try. Maybe that starts tonight, in honor of Star Wars Day.
What order do you watch the Star Wars movies in? Hit me up in the comments and let me know what you think or reach out to me and let’s talk! And may the fourth be with you.