Star Wars Viewing Order

Sun 7/29/2012

About six months ago, Joe Lambert mentioned to me that he had "never really" watched Star Wars before. He had seen the prequels when they came out, and he had watched a version of Return of the Jedi that had been recorded off of TV when he was a kid, but he had never really sat down and watched A New Hope or Empire Strikes back without distractions, from start to finish. He said he wanted to watch them with me, because I deeply love Star Wars.

I was so down with this, it's not even funny.

Unfortunately, when Joe sprang this idea on me, I was neck-deep in my Acting Director, teaching and freelance duties. We literally tried four different times to set up a plan for watching the films, but we couldn't get our schedules to match up. When I came back to Vermont this summer, I knew we'd finally have the time, so I brought them with me.

A week or so before we started, Claire sent me a link to this excellent blog post, which examines in great detail all of the possible viewing orders and their strengths and weaknesses. After reading it and discussing with Joe, we decided to watch 4, 5, 1, 2, 3 and then 6.

We started when I got back from Belgium, and we have been watching one or two of the movies each weekend, along with Joe's wife Becca. We just finished today, and I have to say, I 100% approve of this viewing order.

It provides the proper introduction to The Force, doesn't ruin the surprise of who Yoda is, or that Darth Vader is Luke's father. Then when you dive into the prequels, it's like one big flashback where you learn all of Anakin's back story, and how Palpatine came to power. Revenge of the Sith is such a downer, but instead of being the last thing you watch, you then get to watch Return of the Jedi, which ties up all the loose ends. Plus, it is so much more powerful watching the final scenes of Return of the Jedi with all of Revenge of the Sith fresh in your mind.

Anyway, every once in a while I meet someone who has never seen Star Wars, and I feel obligated to FORCE them to watch it. This will be the order I use from now on, and I suggest you do the same!

2 comments on this entry

Alec, I have been thinking about this ever since I saw this something about this in Wired and I'm really glad you put in the work and confirmed that it's worthwhile. Thanks!

Josh Kramer Jul30

Have you seen "Star Wars - Revisited"? It's a fan-edited version of Ep. IV which is reeeally good and available for free. More info on the project (he wants to "revisit" all the movies) is here- You can see the revisied Battle of Yavin on YouTube -

As for this new viewing order, I'll have to try it out!

Max Ink Aug01

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