As Star Wars: The Last Jedi approaches to make Christmas a bit more fun, it’s time to start the binge of watching all the Star Wars films that came before to get in the right mood. However, the question of ‘in what order to watch’ becomes more difficult to answer every year.
By Order of Release
A New Hope ?? The Empire Strikes Back ?? Return of the Jedi ?? The Phantom Menace ?? Attack of the Clones ?? Revenge of the Sith ?? The Force Awakens ?? Rogue One
Why does it make sense? That’s how the films were released, starting in 1977, so why not do it according to the studios? It’s right visually, because you go from the old-school days of the original trilogy to the more modern, sleeker look of the prequels, followed by Rogue One and Episode VII, which are from this decade, hence look very different.
The only problem here is Rogue One. It refers to a lot of things in A New Hope, and seeing it so detached from the film that picks up right where it ends might be a bit weird.
The Phantom Menace ?? Attack of the Clones ?? Revenge of the Sith ?? Rogue One ?? A New Hope ?? The Empire Strikes Back ?? Return of the Jedi ?? The Force Awakens
Why does it make sense? From a storytelling point of view, it shows the progress of the Skywalker saga, with the “interruption” of the Anthology episode, from the beginning of a young Anakin, to the days of the new characters of Rey and Finn as well as Kylo, through Luke’s heroics alongside Leia and Han Solo.
The issue here is that it feels weird starting with movies from the 21st century more or less and in the middle seeing movies made in the late 70’s and 80’s, which as magical as they are, do have a silly quality to them in terms of visuals.
The “Storytelling” Order
Rogue One ?? A New Hope ?? The Empire Strikes Back ?? The Phantom Menace ?? Attack of the Clones ?? Revenge of the Sith ?? Return of the Jedi ?? The Force Awakens
Why? There’s something to be said about going back and forth in time. The story begins with plenty of action, and then, before the climax of ROTJ, we see the story of how Darth Vader came to be, and the fall of the Jedi Order. It gives a happy ending, which isn’t taken away by Episode VII, which is just the first part of a trilogy, but has an optimistic feel at its end.
Skipping the Phantom Menace or the Prequels Altogether (Machete Order)
If you hate the prequels, this might be how you’ll do it. It does feel that since Disney took over things, they’re trying as hard as possible to erase the legacy of episodes 1-2-3, which are probably receiving more hate over the years than they deserve. Some people simply skip the most Jar-Jar heavy film, the Phantom Menace.
The suggested order here: Rogue One ?? A New Hope ?? Empire ?? Return of the Jedi ?? The Force Awakens.
It’s also shorter.