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What is Your Preferred Watch Order, and Which Versions (Fan edits/official releases)?

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Personally, this is me (assuming I have to watch all the live-action, theatrical releases):

‘Phase 1’
Star Wars (4K77 or Despecialized)
Empire Strikes Back (4K80 (when released) or Despecialized.)
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (octoroxx’s ‘Sanded Down’.)
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (HAL9000’s ‘Labyrinth of Evil’.)
Return of the Jedi (4k83 or Despecialized.)

‘Phase 2’
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (HAL9000’s Cloak of Deception.)
Solo: A Star Wars Story (Theatrical/Bluray)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Theatrical/Bluray)

‘Phase 3’
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Theatrical/Bluray)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Theatrical/Bluray)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Theatrical/Bluray)

If I’m doing a marathon, I have a little break between phases. Phase 2 is skippable, especially since I don’t like Solo at all.


Phase 1 - Star Wars
Experience the story of Luke Skywalker, his journey from farm boy, to war hero, to Jedi Knight. Witness the shattering revelation that Luke’s own father is the dark lord Darth Vader, the man who was once Anakin Skywalker. See Anakin’s tragic fall, and his final redemption at the hands of his son.

[This is the ‘main story’ of Luke Skywalker, with a delve into the prequels to answer all the questions we are left with at the end of Empire. This is the classic Machete Order.]


Phase 2 - Star Wars Stories
How did Anakin, powerful Jedi and dark lord of the Sith, come to join the Jedi order? How did the Rebels acquire those fateful Death Star plans? How did Han and Chewie come to meet? In these films, we delve into those areas of the Star Wars universe unexplored by the central films.

[If I want to watch all the films, this is where I put the odd ones out. It effectively distances those with different tones (Solo, Rogue One) to the saga films, and it means you don’t have to derail the Machete Order by watching Episode I. It also puts a bit of distance between the ‘main story’ and the Sequels, which reckon with the originals in a way that is more impactful if a bit of time is spent between 6 and 7. ]


Phase 3 - Star Wars Legacy
After the destruction of the Empire, tales of heroes and of the force have faded into myth. A new threat presents itself, and new heroes must reckon with the legacy of the old.

[I personally don’t like TRoS, and can happily end with TLJ as a ‘and some stay the battle continues today - the light will always resist the darkness’ kind of ending. I’m looking forward to Lifeincontext’s The Last Jedi: A ST One-Film Edit as a very promising solution to my Sequel problems.]

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 (Edited)

I usually prefer to watch each trilogy as its own self-contained three-part story. So:

The main story:
Star Wars (4K77)
Empire Strikes Back (4K80)
Return of the Jedi (4K83)

(Optional stopping point)

The backstory:
The Phantom Menace (Blu-ray or 4K99)
Attack of the Clones (Blu-ray)
Revenge of the Sith (Blu-ray)

(Optional stopping point)

The appendices:
Rogue One (Blu-ray), Solo (Blu-ray), Kenobi, Mandalorian, etc. (Order doesn’t really matter here.)

(Optional stopping point)

The legacy era:
The Force Awakens (Blu-ray)
The Last Jedi (Blu-ray)
Rise of Skywalker (Blu-ray)

Basically, I just watch the OT first, then watch the rest of the films in more-or-less chronological order. I enjoy watching fan edits, but I usually don’t include them in a saga marathon.

If I’m watching the Special Editions of the OT, then I’ll usually watch the episodes in chronological order (with Rogue One sometimes placed between RotS and ANH), though I think I’ll try Machete Order next time to see if I like it.

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I usually watch the films in chronological order, excluding both the Sequel Trilogy and Solo. So:

The Phantom Menace (Blu-ray)
Attack of the Clones (Blu-ray)
Revenge of the Sith (Blu-ray)
Rogue One (Blu-ray)
A New Hope (2011 Special Edition)
The Empire Strikes Back (2011 Special Edition)
Return of the Jedi (2011 Special Edition)

Sometimes I also like to watch the films in the Machete Order (without excluding The Phantom Menace), but most of the time I watch them in chronological order, because I am a very meticulous person and I prefer the chronological order.

«This is where the fun begins!»
(Anakin Skywalker)

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Here’s how I’d subject a complete newcomer, mythical creature though they be.

ANH (OOT)
(wait like a week)
ESB (OOT)
(wait like a week)
ROTJ (OOT)
(wait like a week)

Then wait a few months or something. Let it sink in.

Ep1 (my edit, I guess)
Ep2 (my edit, I guess)
Clone Wars microseries part 1
The shortest run-through of EddieDean’s TCW project
Clone Wars microseries part 2
Ep3 (my edit, I guess)
Kenobi series
Solo
Rogue One
ANH (my custom SE)
ESB (my custom SE)
ROTJ (my custom SE)
Mandalorian Trilogy (?) (smudger9’s film edits of Mandalorian and TBOBF)
TFA (my edit, I guess, but Nev’s works)
TLJ (my edit, I guess)
TROS (my edit for sure)
The Holiday Special

I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently.

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Darth Malgus said:

I usually watch the films in chronological order, excluding both the Sequel Trilogy and Solo. So:

The Phantom Menace (Blu-ray)
Attack of the Clones (Blu-ray)
Revenge of the Sith (Blu-ray)
Rogue One (Blu-ray)
A New Hope (2011 Special Edition)
The Empire Strikes Back (2011 Special Edition)
Return of the Jedi (2011 Special Edition)

Sometimes I also like to watch the films in the Machete Order (without excluding The Phantom Menace), but most of the time I watch them in chronological order, because I am a very meticulous person and I prefer the chronological order.

Out of curiosity, why the 2011 Special Editions, specifically? Is it just that they’re the ones you happen to own, or do you consider those in particular to be the best/definitive versions?

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Out of curiosity, why the 2011 Special Editions, specifically? Is it just that they’re the ones you happen to own, or do you consider those in particular to be the best/definitive versions?

I prefer the Special Editions of 2011 because they are the most recent ones, and also because they are the first Special Editions I watched, so I’m more fond of them. I think despite some small bad changes the Special Editions of 2011 are the best ones.

«This is where the fun begins!»
(Anakin Skywalker)

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Darth Malgus said:

Out of curiosity, why the 2011 Special Editions, specifically? Is it just that they’re the ones you happen to own, or do you consider those in particular to be the best/definitive versions?

I prefer the Special Editions of 2011 because they are the most recent ones, and also because they are the first Special Editions I watched, so I’m more fond of them. I think despite some small bad changes the Special Editions of 2011 are the best ones.

The 2019 versions are the most recent ones. The “maclunkey” versions.

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I don’t know if this is my “preferred” order, but one experimental order I’ve come up with recently is watching the theatrical OT, followed by the entire rest of the franchise (including the Special Editions) in chronological order. This is how it goes:

Star Wars (theatrical)
Empire Strikes Back (theatrical)
Return of the Jedi (theatrical)
The Phantom Menace
Attack of the Clones
The Clone Wars (until s7e9)
Revenge of the Sith
The Clone Wars (s7e10 onward)
The Bad Batch
Solo
Obi-Wan Kenobi
Andor (when it comes out)
Rebels
Rogue One
A New Hope (SE)
Empire Strikes Back (SE)
Return of the Jedi (SE)
The Mandalorian (s1 and s2)
Book of Boba Fett
The Mandalorian (s3, when it comes out)
Ahsoka (when it comes out)

This way, you get to see the Oscar-winning original classics in isolation, followed by the massive movie and TV universe that Disney has made based on those classics. The sequel trilogy can go in three different places: at the end of the viewing order to continue the chronological theme, after the theatrical trilogy to emphasize the nostalgic inspiration the filmmakers took from those movies, or removed completely to have the era that Disney is currently focusing on (Mando and its spinoffs) be at the end of the chronology.

My preferred Skywalker Saga experience:
I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX

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 (Edited)

I think at the moment the best order for a hypothetical newbie is the OT (theatrical or an edit that makes the SEs less awful), then the PT (theatrical - I love fanedits but I feel like you have to see the originals first), and then just everything else in chronological order, from TCW through to TROS.

I don’t really think leaving ROTS until after TCW does either any favours. TCW pretty much assumes you’ve seen I-VI, with the Order 66 arc especially relying on the dramatic irony of knowing what Fives has stumbled upon and that he must therefore inevitably fail to stop it, and it also has a few other spoilery moments like the depiction of Anakin’s future in the Mortis arc. ROTS (at no fault of its own due to the limitations of linear time) doesn’t really line up with the characterisation of Anakin we get in TCW, and the lack of any nods whatsoever towards Ahsoka, Satine, Maul, and so on would be more jarring if you’ve just come off of watching TCW. It works much better, IMO, as a sequel to AOTC than it does as a finale to TCW. It also just feels more authentic to how those movies were originally intended by Lucas and seen by audiences.

There are admittedly a few other little niggles with watching the post-Lucas content in chronological order rather than release order, like how if you meet Hera first in Bad Batch you might be a little thrown as to why so much screentime is being dedicated to a random little Twi’lek girl, or how seeing the Inquisitors first in Obi-Wan Kenobi is probably a tad abrupt (I’ve seen a lot of people who skipped Rebels disliking them), but generally I think it works pretty well. Tales From the Jedi and The Acolyte will make it much worse though, since they feature content chronologically earlier than TCW - in the former’s case that means seeing really good modern animation and then jumping to shitty 2008 animation, and in the latter’s case that means jumping back in time to before the PT for a presumably standalone story before then returning to the PT characters… I’m sure twenty years from now when I’m showing my children Star Wars I’ll have to do some insane calculus to work out the perfect order for two hundred Disney Plus shows, lol.

I do stand by showing a newcomer the ST after all the other new content, though. I don’t even dislike (2/3) of those movies, it’s just I think the “Mandoverse” stuff will probably enhance them more if you see it before you see where’s it all leading to. I see them as an epilogue, to a degree. Also, the more Star Wars you can be exposed to before you watch TROS the better, I think - not just so you can recognise the voice cameos, but so that it forms a smaller part of your overall view of the franchise, and because I’m hoping we’ll eventually get a show that better grounds its total left-field twists like the Sith Eternal better into the larger canon. My opinion on that may change though depending on what future content we get.

For rewatches I just jump around; there’s way too much for any kind of marathon at this point IMO, it’d become some kind of long unnecessary project instead.

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Servii said:

Darth Malgus said:

Out of curiosity, why the 2011 Special Editions, specifically? Is it just that they’re the ones you happen to own, or do you consider those in particular to be the best/definitive versions?

I prefer the Special Editions of 2011 because they are the most recent ones, and also because they are the first Special Editions I watched, so I’m more fond of them. I think despite some small bad changes the Special Editions of 2011 are the best ones.

The 2019 versions are the most recent ones. The “maclunkey” versions.

Are there 2019 Special Editions? 😮

«This is where the fun begins!»
(Anakin Skywalker)

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Darth Malgus said:

Servii said:

Darth Malgus said:

Out of curiosity, why the 2011 Special Editions, specifically? Is it just that they’re the ones you happen to own, or do you consider those in particular to be the best/definitive versions?

I prefer the Special Editions of 2011 because they are the most recent ones, and also because they are the first Special Editions I watched, so I’m more fond of them. I think despite some small bad changes the Special Editions of 2011 are the best ones.

The 2019 versions are the most recent ones. The “maclunkey” versions.

Are there 2019 Special Editions? 😮

Yeah, they’re the ones that are on Disney+ and on the 4K disc versions. The changes are mostly minor tweaks that were made by George in 2012 in preparation for the 3D releases of Star Wars, so they’re still George’s versions. Besides that, the color grading is very different from the 2011 versions, and is generally a big improvement visually.