There are no hard and fast ways to watch the entire Star Wars saga – unless you’re doing it wrong, that is.
Star Wars fans are living in a golden age at the moment. There are multiple movies to watch, plus spin-off films, live-action and animated TV shows, interactive video games and so much more. However, that wasn’t always the case and life in a galaxy far, far away was certainly a lot simpler during the time of the original trilogy.
In some ways, Star Wars fans growing up in the late 70s and early 80s had it much easier. There were only three big screen movies to watch and keeping track of all of the characters in George Lucas’ universe didn’t require a scorecard. However, on the downside, they were left waiting three years between films in a pre-internet era where details on new releases were a lot harder to come by.
With the nine-film Skywalker Saga now complete, that raises an interesting question regarding how the movies should potentially be watched. Those who were around decades ago are likely to have viewed them in the order in which they were released, so Episodes IV-VI, then Episodes I-III and finally Episodes VII-IX.
If you were a child of the 90s, you will most likely have watched the Star Wars films chronologically, which also makes a lot of sense. One key negative with that approach though is that a number of the saga’s most powerful moments will then lose most of their dramatic weight. In following young Anakin Skywalker’s journey, you’ll know that he eventually falls to the Dark Side and is Luke’s father, instead of being shocked by the massive revelation as fans watching The Empire Strikes Back for the first in 1983 would have been.
Interestingly an alternative way of watching the Star Wars saga has emerged in recent years with the concept of the Machete Order. Created by Rod Hilton in 2011, this is a unique viewing experience that removes The Phantom Menace altogether and rearranges the films into the following sequence:
Episode IV: A New Hope
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
The results of this method shift how the story is told, focusing on Luke Skywalker and retaining the twist of Darth Vader being his father. The two prequels therefore function as flashbacks to Anakin’s rise and fall before returning to wrap up the original trilogy with Return of the Jedi. Of course, another option is to add Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Solo: A Star Wars Story into any of the mixes listed above to present the ultimate saga viewing experience, if you have the time, that is.
Of course, the order in which you view all of the Star Wars films is entirely up to you and depends on your point of view. It’s ultimately a personal choice and one that will undoubtedly be debated for many years to come. Essentially though, it’s a win-win situation, as the Star Wars movies continue to exist as standalone pieces of entertainment and also function as a unique and sprawling cinematic tapestry of films that can be enjoyed by fans of all generations.
Images: Star Wars