Star Wars: Flashback Method
Let me preface this by saying that A) I’ve been watching a lot of Star Wars lately and B) I’m completely aware of how geeky this discussion is- but I don’t care. I spend a lot of time thinking about a proper Star Wars viewing order. I spend a lot of time thinking about a proper Star Wars viewing order. That is… the correct way in which you should see the 6 Star Wars movies. Especially if you are a Star Wars virgin. For the uninitiated, the original 1977 Star Wars is episode 4.
I truly want to impart an optimal viewing experience onto a newbie. This is important to me. I want you to feel the same way I’ve felt for years. The wonder. The amazement. The unadulterated geekery. While it is impossible for a virgin (or anyone else who hasn’t seen it) to consume Star Wars in the same way I have, since so much of the fun is locked up in nostalgia, I do of course think anyone can still enjoy it. As long as they watch it properly.
***SPOILERS AHEAD*** If you are indeed a Star Wars newbie. Do not read any further. Contact me directly and I’ll set you on the path to the light side. It is your destiny. The following discussion is aimed at people who have seen all 6 movies and who are nerdy and brilliant enough to read on. ***SPOILERS AHEAD***
Up until a few days ago there was only one way to view these films. Original Trilogy (OT – Episodes 4, 5, & 6) first, Prequel Trilogy (PT – Episodes 1, 2, & 3) second. That’s it. No question. Watching them chronologically from Episode 1 to Episode 6 is simply out of the question. DO NOT try this. Horrible idea.
The OT is parsecs better than the prequels and will encourage any virgin to actually stick with it. These movies are all classics and not crushed under the weight of their special effects. They’re actual movies, not video games. Furthermore, the twists stay in tact. All the fun shit- like Luke finding out that Vader is his father or that the little green guy is actually the greatest Jedi ever- is not disrupted. And while I do think the prequels do have some merit, watching them first ruins all of this.
There is a distinct story-telling and special effects gap between the OT and the PT. Watching the originals first will make this transition less jarring. This is how the majority of people over 15 have seen Star Wars in the first place and it most likely still remains the best way to watch these movies. At least for a newbie. Besides, I submit that this is how Lucas intended it anyway. He could have started from the beginning if he wanted to. But he didn’t. The series is supposed to be non-linear… so why change it?
There is another. In doing a little research on the topic, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is in fact another viable way to watch the Star Wars films.
Yes this method essentially shortens the series to five films, but you’re basically trimming the fat. Most of the twists of the OT are preserved here I believe, with the exception of the Skywalker siblings being born at the end of Sith. (Luke and Leia were originally revealed to be brother and sister in Jedi) However, this revelation is simply moved up in the story. You know Anakin is Luke’s father, but when Padme announces she’s having twins in Sith, you’ll wonder who Luke’s twin is! Is it Han??? So it’s not spoiled, just relocated. Additionally, after the drama of Empire and Han’s imprisonment in a coffee table, he’ll be gone for two movies, which will only increase our concern as to what happens to our favorite scoundrel.
Method 1 (Traditional)
456123 – Still the best way. OT first, PT second.
Method 2 (Flashback)
452361 – Pretty good option. Episodes 2 and 3 become a flashback.
Method 3 (Chronological)
123456 – Don’t even fucking try it.
The more I think about it, the more I love the flashback method. But I don’t know if I’d go through with recommending it to a newbie. Might only be a recommendation for Star Wars fans who are re-watching. Thoughts?