My first exposure to Star Wars as a child was when the original trilogy was released on VHS, and I fell in love. The space combat, cool characters, incredible action, force powers, Darth Vader and of course lightsabers. It’s all my little head could do to not explode from all the awesomeness I was witnessing on the screen.
Fast forward a few years, to when I became a Dad, and I just knew that I would be introducing our kids to the Star Wars Universe. I can now safely say that we are a Star Wars family…for the most part, it seems Amanda has not accepted her fate to join us fully yet, but I’m sure we can tempt her over to the dark side soon enough, after all we do have cookies.
This Halloween we’re working on creating Jedi and Sith outfits to go out trick or treating in, we watched Star Wars Rebels every week (and now we eagerly await Season 3), we’re working our way through Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Netflix and we’ve watched all 7 of the movies. I take it a big further and have read many of the Star Wars novels (both canon and Legends) and my son and I even have started playing the X-Wings Miniature game.
Yep, I’ve helped raise 3 big geeks and I couldn’t be prouder.
As I mentioned, we’ve seen all 7 movies, but did you know that as with everything in the Star Wars Universe, even the viewing order is open for debate. Now, when I introduced the kids to Star Wars I started with Episode IV – A New Hope, then Episode V, Episode VI and then we went back and watched I – III and then A Force Awakens when it hit theaters. But this is not the only way to experience the Star Wars Saga, in fact there are several other viewing orders and each presents both pros and cons. These viewing orders were all considered relevant for the 6 movies but with the release of The Force Awakens might need to be adjusted to accommodate that movie into the mix.
To save on typing titles over and over again I will just label the movies with their Roman numerals and that corresponds like this:
I – The Phantom Menace
II – Attack Of The Clones
III – Revenge Of The Sith
IV – A New Hope
V – The Empire Strikes Back
VI – Return Of The Jedi
VII – The Force Awakens
Let’s get started.
The easiest way to enjoy Star Wars is to watch them in the chronological viewing order from Episode I thru VII. Die hard fans of Star Wars will question starting this order because of the intense hatred for The Phantom Menace, but my kids love the pod racing scenes and as we get to see the story of where Anakin began his journey we might as well star there.
The other way to watch Star Wars is by original release which means you watch episodes IV, V and VI followed by episodes I, II and III. This is a great way to introduce people unfamiliar with Star Wars to the universe, as it gets right into the characters we love, introduces big bad Darth Vader immediately and as we know Vader is the gateway drug into more Star Wars. Watching it this way does ruin a few of the surprises and watching The Force Awakens after Episode III may seem odd. You might have to then watch IV, V, VI, VII and then I, II, III.
I’ve never watched it this way before but the Machete Order goes like this: IV, V, II, III, VI the reason to skip Episode I is because a lot of people hate the movie, they feel that it’s a bad movie or that the Anakin origin story is just not very interesting. If you’ve seen Star Wars before then this may be a good way to watch and get a new take on the story, but if you’ve never seen Episode 1 I think it’s worthy of watching just once to see where Anakin started before becoming Vader. To insert The Force Awakens I would just go IV, V, II, III, VI and VII.
The Machete Order leaves out Episode 1 but The McWeeny Order puts it right back into the mix and looks like this IV, V, I, II, III, VI. This is a great way to show off the Saga to those new to the universe as it keeps the spoilers hidden to maximize the impact they will have and tells the complete story. With the release of The Force Awakens you would then just add it in after watching VI.
There you have it, 4 different viewing orders to watch the series, each way will bring a new viewing experience and a new way of looking at the Star Wars saga. I personally have watched them Chronologically, by Original Release and soon to be the McWeeny Order.
In your opinion, what is the correct viewing order to experience Star Wars?