The Star Wars movies have given me much entertainment over the years (as well as plenty of frustration!), so I’ve been meaning to add my own conclusions to the whole ‘marathon’ viewing order conundrum for a while now…especially with so many movies being part of the picture nowadays.
My main stipulation to myself was that I had to come up with a viewing order which INCLUDED the Prequel Trilogy…no matter how I felt about them! 😉
So here’s the final conclusions I’ve come to, for both myself and for complete ‘newbies’ to the whole franchise…
MY SUGGESTED VIEWING ORDER FOR COMPLETE ‘NEWBIES’, AND WHY -
For a whole heap of reasons, I will ALWAYS recommend that someone new to the saga begins with Ep. IV: ANH, no-matter-what…but mainly for it’s unsurpassed ‘mid-adventure’ opening, and it’s great introduction to the droids, and Vader, and the princess…and the fact that they will also get great introductions to other major characters along the way too…all wrapped-up in one enjoyable package which works as a satisfying ‘standalone’ experience for them to kick things off with.
(sorry George, but I’m afraid that I can NEVER suggest to any ‘newbies’ that they watch Ep. I: TPM as their FIRST taste of the franchise…and if they decide that Ep. IV: ANH is not their thing and never watch another instalment, at least they will have gotten a better sense of what the franchise involves!)
…but assuming they want MORE of Luke & co’s adventures, then it’s onto Ep. V: ESB and Ep. VI to round this trilogy off for them at this point…with ALL the further character introductions and surprises kept intact…
(apart from Jabba’s original ROTJ appearance unfortunately, as I’ll assume it’s the standard ‘official’ special edition versions our ‘newbie’ is having to watch for the purposes of this scenario…so therefore Jabba’s reveal is now telegraphed early during ANH:special edition, sadly)
…but hopefully they’ve had a really good time with this first trio of movies, and consider themselves ‘fans’ of the franchise now, and want to see ‘everything else’ too…
…well thanks to the fact that there’s a ‘continuation’ of the ‘Luke Skywalker’ saga with the Sequel Trilogy nowadays, it’s safe enough to introduce the whole Prequel Trilogy at this point in their overall viewing order - as a ‘flashback’ back to earlier events in the overall storyline - WITHOUT having to complicate things with a ‘machete order’, knowing that there’s better movies to come again, once they are out of the way!
…and then we’re back to conclude Luke’s journey with Ep. VII: TFA, Ep. VIII: TLJ, and Ep. IX respectively…with all it’s further revelations…
…and it’s only once our ‘newbie’ has FINISHED watching Luke’s storyline, that I’d recommend that they THEN GO ON to watch the likes of futher ‘Star Wars’ movies such as SOLO or OBI-WAN or BOBA FETT or JABBA or WHATEVER OTHER ‘standalone’ or FURTHER SEQUELS that are out there at the time…while leaving the ROGUE ONE movie until the very last for themselves…
…as an intoduction to REWATCH Ep. IV: ANH all over again…and then either do the whole SAME ‘marathon’ viewing order all over again…OR just include their favourites this time around…and REPEAT this process every year! 😉
So to recap -
Start off with Ep. IV: ANH
Ep. V: ESB
Ep. VI: ROTJ
‘Flashback’ to Ep. I: TPM
Ep. II : AOTC
Ep. III: ROTS
Resume Luke’s storyline with Ep. VII: TFA
Ep. VIII: TLJ
Then watch the likes of SOLO etc. from here onwards…as long as you leave ROGUE ONE until the very last for yourself at this point…
…and finally it’s time to REWATCH Ep. IV: ANH, and start the whole process off once again - in ANY order you prefer this time around, now that you’ve seen them all!
HOWEVER, HERE’S WHAT MY OWN IDEAL FUTURE ‘MARATHON’ VIEWING ORDER WOULD INVOLVE, AND WHY -
(but when I say ‘marathon’, I mean spreading them out over a few days or so for myself…as I certainly wouldn’t attempt literally watching one-after-the-other…no way!)
- ROGUE ONE - seeing as I’ve already had the good fortune to have been introduced to STAR WARS ('77) and the other 2 Original Trilogy sequels as my very first experience of the franchise…I’d now be content to start off my own viewing order with this particular movie.
(ideally with the cutlist I’ve got in mind, which involves a LOT LESS Vader to begin with - and with no made-up introductory ‘scroll’ by the way…as I’d be content to hear the existing brief ROGUE ONE theme, but would simply replace the current ROGUE ONE title with the familiar receding STAR WARS title instead - so that those particular words would still kick off my overall ‘marathon’ at the point I’ve got in mind for them…and means I’d keep the ‘static’ starfield opening of the others instalments too. Also, I can’t recall if it was a concept by Hal or Dig…but I loved the idea of a more ‘sombre’ bit of music to END the movie on, as the credits roll…so would gladly include the neat idea of ‘reprising’ some of the ominous first few bars from the opening of Ep. IV: ANH…as a way to ease towards the next instalment)
STAR WARS REVISITED: HD (of course)
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK REVISITED: HD (of course)
RETURN OF THE JEDI REVISITED: HD (of course)
Ep. I: TPM - yes indeed, I’m actually willing to include the prequels into my own ‘marathon’ these days, for a bit of nostalgia(!)…as long as they’re placed into it at THIS point so that they act as a ‘flashback’ in the way I described earlier.
(ideally with the cutlists I’ve got in mind, which are extensive! - and I’d prefer to include a short, introductory ‘prologue’ to begin this first ‘flashback’…using some footage I like which reprises a moment from the previously-watched STAR WARS REVISITED - as a way of including some additional gravitas which nicely sets the scene for these ‘past’ events…and so that I’d have something to look forward to, as I stick on this movie! - basically, once the blue words A LONG TIME AGO IN AGALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY… fade away, I’d cut to a shortened BLACK & WHITE version of Luke and Ben’s conversation…which ends with Ben declaring “…before the dark times, before the EMPIRE!” - and then we’d return to colour as the STAR WARS title crashes onscreen and recedes)
Ep. II: AOTC
Ep. III: ROTS - I’ve got 2 re-structured endings that I like for this. One where Padme dies at childbbirth (though not of ‘losing the will to live!’), regardless of what Leia tells Luke in ROTJ…and one which leaves her alive, despite my reservations that she went along with the Jedi’s advice that baby Luke be separated far away from her indefinately - but which doesn’t include the ‘Anne Boleyn’ footage. I’m slightly leaning to her dying however, as it allows me to include certain additional shots I like…though NOT Vaders reaction to it! And this gives a far more ‘tragic’ feel to this overall ‘backstory’ I reckon - so I guess I’ve made up my mind about that, after all. 😃
(and the good thing about including the prequels as a ‘flashback’ during a ‘marathon’…is the fact that they allow for a certain period of time to pass since I would have watched ROTJ…which makes it seem less jarring to see such elderly characters all of a sudden, when I go to watch the Sequel Trilogy)
- Ep. VIi: TFA
(ideally with the cutlist I’ve got in mind, which keeps Kylo’s helmet on for longer…and moves the superweapon firing after Han’s murder…and which ends with the close-up shot of Rey offering the lightsaber as the credits roll, instead of the ‘helicopter’ shot from above)
- Ep. VIII: TLJ
(ideally with the cutlist I’ve got in mind, which involves making Luke admit the truth to Rey about what happened with Kylo RIGHT FROM THE START - so that he doesn’t come across as evasive to her about it - and I’m also considering another alternative which eliminates using ANY of the shots of Luke planning to kill him with his lightsaber altogether, but in a way which still shows what happened between them quite effectively - doing it either of these ways means I can re-strucure things so that I DON’T have to include the ‘shirtless’ scene of Kylo putting Luke into a bad light with Rey, as he tries to gain some sympathy - in addition, I’d prefer to end this movie on the great panning shot of the Falcon we see after Leia’s last reassuring words to Rey…INSTEAD of including the whole ‘broom kid’ sequence)
- Ep. IX - with any luck, I won’t feel the need to alter ANY scenes whatsoever in this next instalment…but I have the feeling that porgs might fly before that happens! 😉
(by the way, I’m hoping for 2 things NOT to happen in this upcoming movie - one is for Leia NOT to be re-cast by anyone else in Carrie’s place…and the other is for Kylo NOT to be ‘reedemed’ in any way from the daddy-murderer he turned into - especially as that would mess up certain ways I want to re-cut THE LAST JEDI for myself! - so don’t let me down J.J.)
- …and AFTER viewing all those suggestions in the order described above…I’d then go onto watching the likes of SOLO and any other future movies that come along - in the same way I previously outlined…ready to REPEAT this whole scenario all over again for my NEXT ‘marathon’ one day, by once again starting off with ROGUE ONE! 😃