With Machete Order, the Star Wars watching experience gets to start with the film that does the best job of establishing the Star Wars universe, episode iv, and it ends with the most satisfying ending, Episode. It also starts the series off with the two strongest films, and allows you to never have to either start or end your viewing experience with a shitty movie. Two films of luke's story, two films of Anakin's story, then a single film that intertwines and ends both stories. Beyond this, Episode i establishes Anakin as a innocent little kid. But Episode ii quickly establishes him as impulsive and power-hungry, which keeps his character consistent with eventually becoming Darth Vader. Obi-wan never really seems to have any control over Anakin, struggling between treating him as a friend (their very first conversation together in Episode ii) and treating him as an apprentice (their second conversation, with Padme).
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We simply don't know or care who Anakin's father is, and the botched implication that Palpatine knows is gone. But like i said, booting Episode i isn't merely about pretending a crappy movie doesn't exist. Viewing Episode ii immediately after v and Episode iii immediately before vi actually tells the story better than including Episode i does. In fact, i think bss it tells luke's story better than leaving the prequels out entirely. Why does This Work better? As I mentioned, this creates a lot of tension after the cliffhanger ending of Episode. It also uses the original trilogy as a framing device for the prequel trilogy. Vader drops this huge bomb that he's luke's father, then we essay spend two movies proving he's telling the truth, then we see how it gets resolved. When Empire first came out, lots of people thought Vader was lying to luke. It wasn't "proven" true until Obi-wan confirms it in Jedi, but then it's immediately followed by Obi-wan's "a certain point of view" justification. Inserting the prequels turns this reveal into a "show, don't tell" situation - we don't just hear Obi-wan say it, we see.
No other trainer/trainee relationships exist to confuse the backstory. Fewer characters to learn about, so the story is more focused. Nothing about trade disputes. The "problem" as of Episode ii is that a group of systems want to leave the republic. This is much easier to understand for a kid than trade disputes. Seriously, who gives a shit? An action sequence for the sake of an kindness action sequence and it goes on forever. A huge number of plot holes surrounding gambling and the subsequent freeing of Anakin are removed as well.
Here's some stuff that you no longer have to see as part of your Star Wars viewing experience, thanks to skipping Episode. Jar-Jar has about 5 lines in Episode ii, and zero in Episode iii. There is only one reference to midichlorians after Episode i, and in the context it appears to mean something as benign as "DNA." no jake lloyd. Sorry about jake, your acting is terrible and I never really wanted to see darth Vader as a little boy. No confusing Padme/queen switcheroo. The whole subplot with Padme and her decoy makes absolutely no sense. It's clear that this was just so people could interact with Padme without knowing she was the queen, but it's incredibly convoluted and pointless. Less confusing master/apprentice relationships. Darth Sidious is training count dooku, obi-wan is training Anakin.
Does it ever matter that Obi-wan was being trained by qui-gon? Nope, obi-wan is well into training Anakin at the start of Episode ii, qui-gon is completely irrelevant. Search your feelings, you know it to be true! Episode i doesn't matter at all. You can start the prequels with Episode ii and miss absolutely nothing. The opening crawl of Episode ii establishes everything you need to know about the prequels: a bunch of systems want to leave the republic, they are led by count dooku, and Senator Amidala is a senator who is going to vote on whether the republic. Natalie portman is called Senator Amidala twice in the first 4 minutes of the movie, so there's no question of who's who.
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I'm not even going to try and act like episode ii is better or tell you episode i ruined my childhood or anything like that. It didn't, it's just a movie that isn't very good. The reason to skip Episode i isn't that it's bad, gui it's that it's irrelevant. If you accept my suggestion that Star Wars, the saga, is really about luke's journey and his decision to accept his hero's burden by saving not only the galaxy from the Empire, but his father from the dark side as well, then you'll find that. Seriously, think about it for a minute.
Name as many things as you can territory that happen in Episode i and actually help flesh out the story in any subsequent episode. I can only think of one thing, which I'll mention later. Every character established in Episode i is either killed or removed before it ends (Darth maul, qui-gon, Chancellor Valorum unimportant (Nute gunray, watto or established better in a later episode (Mace windu, darth Sidious). Does it ever matter that Palpatine had an apprentice before count dooku? Nope, darth maul is killed by the end of Episode i and never referenced again. You may as well just start with the assumption that dooku was the only apprentice.
Anakin is, at this point in the story, a personified proxy for the entire galaxy. Saving Anakin from the dark side just puts a human face on saving the galaxy from the Empire, and it proves luke right for his unwillingness to give up on his father, even though his attempts to save him risk the entire mission. Effectively, this order keeps the story luke's tale. Just when our main man luke is left with the burning question "did my father really become darth Vader?" we take an extended flashback to explain that it's true. Once we understand how his father turned to the dark side, we go back to the main storyline and see how luke is able to rescue him from it and salvage the good in him, which is the only way to destroy the Empire.
Putting the prequels in the middle in general (which a commenter has pointed out is called. Ernst Rister order) allows the series to end on the sensible ending point (the destruction of the Empire) while still beginning with luke's journey. The prequel backstory comes at the perfect time, because The Empire Strikes Back ends on a huge cliffhanger. Han is in carbonite, vader is luke's father, and the Empire has hit the rebellion hard. Delaying the resolution of this cliffhanger makes it all the more satisfying when Return of the jedi is watched. Narratively, it's just like a movie that starts with a big opening, then fades to "2 years earlier" for most of the movie, until it catches up with the present time and concludes. Look, i'm not going to sit here and bag on how crappy Episode.
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You may notice Episode i is gone. I'll get to that in a second. I've dubbed this "Machete Order" on the off chance it catches on because i'm a vain asshole. ) (please note that from this point on I'll be mentioning twists and plot details of the films so this is your official spoiler warning for a movie that came out over 37 years ago because internet commenters will complain about literally anything). George lucas seems to believe that Star Wars is the story of Anakin skywalker, but it's really not animal - at least, not effectively. Anakin doesn't have an interesting arc - he gives into what is presented as overwhelming temptation. This is relatable, but it's not terribly interesting. Anakin only has an engaging character turn at the end of Jedi when he's redeemed, but that's not as a character, it's as a goal - something for the character we've been invested in for 3 movies (luke) to accomplish.
If you're watching the riserts official releases and you view the original trilogy first, then at the end of Episode 6, luke looks over at his mentors, ben Kenobi and Yoda, and suddenly they are joined. Some random creepy looking teenager who needs a haircut. Placing hayden Christensen in the ending of Jedi, since he's not in any of the other films, turns an ending that should be celebratory into one that is confusing for the viewer. The fact that Christensen looks like he's undressing someone with his eyes doesn't help. So neither order really works. How can you ensure that a viewing keeps the twists a surprise, while introducing young Anakin before the end of Return of the jedi? Simple, watch them in this order: iv, v, ii, iii,.
a newcomer to the series has managed to avoid having it spoiled for them, watching the films in Episode Order would be like watching the ending of The sixth Sense first. The other problem with Episode Order is that the prequels don't really have a story. They're just background for the real story, which is luke and his new friends trying to defeat the Empire. Watching 3 films of backstory is boring if you've never seen the films they're the background. Hell, that's why george lucas made Star Wars (later renamed a new Hope) first - it was the most interesting story he had in his brain at the time. Starting someone off with Episode i is a surefire way to ensure they don't make it through the entire franchise. Unfortunately, release Order is also an instant failure, and the reason is a single shot.
Maybe you don't want to mess around with best fan edits or the pirate bay, and you just want to watch the official Blu-rays with your kids. Maybe you've accepted that the original theatrical editions are no longer considered canon, and you're a nerd that cares about things like that. Hell, maybe you actually like the prequels (seriously?). Whatever your reason, if you are showing someone the official editions of Star Wars for the first time, you have to make a decision about which order to watch the films. There are two obvious options for watching the Star Wars saga. Release Order - watch the films in the order they came out, recreating your experience with the films for someone new to them. Episode Order - watch the films in the order. George lucas intends, starting with Episode i and going straight through to Episode. There are two critical flaws with both of these orders, unfortunately, that prevent either from being appropriate.
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Brace yourselves, what follows story is an amazingly long blog post about the best order in which to watch Star Wars. First, let me say this: for people that couldn't care less about the prequel trilogy, i suggest. They are 720p videos that are the result of "Harmy" from. The Original Trilogy forums painstakingly reconstructing the theatrical releases of all three films utilizing a wide variety of video sources as well as custom mattes. Downloading, burning, labeling, and printing cases for these films is one of the neckbeardiest things i've done (aside from writing this blog post and I'm extremely glad I did. If the "proper order" for Star Wars for you is the original trilogy and nothing else, stop reading now and find the despecialized Editions. Harmy, king of the nerds! So, with that out of the way, what can you do if you do wish to involve the prequel trilogy?