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Best Viewing Order for Fans and First Timers: "THE FLASHBACK" Order

So NeverarGreat, you’re saying that A New Hope is SO good, it should just be watched as a separate standalone film apart from all its other sequels, prequels, and spinoffs? I agree it’s the best film in the franchise, but jesus, not sure that makes any kind of sense to me.

I’m still a stickler that it should be watched first and foremost, whether a longtime fan on a rewatch or your first introduction into the saga.

Best Viewing Order for Fans and First Timers: "THE FLASHBACK" Order

So you’re saying that in order to watch Solo, you’d have to watch an entire 121 episode cartoon just to have some background on a 2 minute scene? Seriously?

And in any event, if you do my order list, there’s no Phantom Menace, so naturally no Darth Maul and no confusion. When he shows up in Solo, he’s now just some random scary looking guy, so who cares.

Best Viewing Order for Fans and First Timers: "THE FLASHBACK" Order

You guys bringing up kids is something I haven’t thought about. The one thing that throws this off is if a kid is watching and really into the Star Wars vibe, they’ve likely already been shown the Clone Wars and Rebels cartoons. Since I didn’t grow up with those shows, I haven’t seen them and don’t really see myself going back to watch multi-season kids cartoons to make sense of when to logically place them.

If that’s the case though and if a kid has watched Rebels, maybe they very well could start with Rogue One as the first live action film? Only thing there is that one’s pretty dark and violent, so it may be a little too intense for a kid younger than 10. I don’t have kids but my understanding is they don’t think in viewing order terms and don’t care about anything like this. They just watch whatever appeals to them in the moment, so ¯_(ツ)_/¯.

My Flashback Order in the first post is based on older teens and adults watching that works for first time viewers or long time fans wanting to shake things up on a rewatch. I still can’t ever recommend Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones for anyone of any age or interest level. I wish somebody had told me never to see them!

Best Viewing Order for Fans and First Timers: "THE FLASHBACK" Order


The motivation of this sequence is like Machete, to have IV be the first up in the order (which I think is essential), but also account for the recent standalone films and Lucas prequel(s) to have the entire Star Wars franchise into some kind of narrative cohesion.

I think while this type of bouncing back and forth may in the past have been dizzying, I think today’s audience is used to this kind of storytelling because of how much of modern television is told. Think of “Lost”, “Westworld”, “The Walking Dead”, “The Affair”, “This Is Us”, etc.

I think this kind of flashback storytelling can sometimes enhance the character and overall narrative, and shouldn’t be confusing when it’s just one film at a time.

Best Viewing Order for Fans and First Timers: "THE FLASHBACK" Order

With Disney+ now live with just about all the Star Wars films, and in anticipation of The Rise of Skywalker hitting theaters next month, many casual and diehard fans will probably do a deep Star Wars dive and are wondering what order to watch the Star Wars saga. Needless to say, there are a lot of established orders already out there (release, chronological, Machete, etc.).

Forgive me if somebody on here has already come up with this viewing order, but I think it’s the definitive one that I call the “Flashback Order.” It’s an expansion of the famous Machete Order, but allows for almost all the films to fit in that makes some kind of whole narrative cohesion. Here it is, which I’ll explain below:

  1. A New Hope
  2. Rogue One
  3. The Empire Strikes Back
  4. Revenge of the Sith
  5. Return of the Jedi
  6. “The Mandalorian”
  7. Solo
  8. The Force Awakens
  9. The Last Jedi
  10. The Rise of Skywalker

As you can see, almost all the films in the Skywalker Saga have a “flashback” film in between. This allows the story room to breathe and enhances character development.

You should always start with A New Hope, whether you’re a diehard fan or first time viewer. It’s what started it all and is about as perfect an introduction into this world as it gets.

Next up is where it gets interesting. You then watch the immediate “flashback” that is Rogue One, which does a good job in filling in some of this new world you’ve now found yourself in and creates even more mystery and tension. Even though it was filmed relatively recently, It spoils nothing about what comes after in the saga.

We follow with Empire Strikes Back. Then, like reasoned in the Machete Order, we go to the prequels. But unlike Machete who only omits The Phantom Menace, I’ll go even further and don’t even think Attack of the Clones is necessary. IMO, it’s by far the worst Star Wars movie. Just watch Revenge of the Sith as the one “Lucas Prequel” film that counts as a flashback, which gives the only essential background on the Skywalkers’ past and enhances the next film in the saga, Return of the Jedi.

Now that we have finished that part of the saga, let’s breathe a little and watch the side-story that is the self-contained “The Mandalorian”, which is where it fits chronologically.

Then next up is Solo because it will fill in a lot of details about Han and make a more sympathetic portrait of the character, setting up who is perhaps the prime figure of The Force Awakens.

As there are no more “flashback” films produced, that’s where it ends and we continue with the Disney Trilogy uninterrupted. But with the Ewan McGregor “Obi-Wan” prequel show currently in production, I think that would fit in nicely right before The Last Jedi, as Obi-Wan’s story will likely be a great parallel what we see with Luke’s story and perhaps create a more interesting watch.

What do you guys think? Would you watch this order?

A Radical New Sequence to View the Star Wars Saga

We know there has been quite a bit of debate over the years on when to watch the PT (if at all, in many opinions). Should you watch them first so they are logically chronological, per the King Lucas decree? Or after the OT, as most fans initially viewed them and so none of the surprises are spoiled? Neither viewing is very satisfactory, IMO. If you watch them for the first time before the OT, as I said before, many of the wonderful reveals in the OT are completely spoiled. There is so much initial wonder in the OT that is completely deflated if one already knows the entire backstory. Obi-Wan should be a mystery. Ditto Yoda and Darth Vader. We get to learn along with Luke who these people are and what the story has been. Yet if we watch the PT post OT, it leaves such a sour taste for the entire Star Wars saga and likely will be jarring when paired with the upcoming films. 

What if there was another way to fit the prequel story in? George Lucas has gone on record stating the point of the PT was to depict the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker. Much of the PT is complete bloat if that was the objective. That story could have been told in 1 movie, which it pretty much did with EIII. That basis for the film also reminded me of another saga that told 2 diverging stories of a father and son: The Godfather. In Godfather Part II, Coppola (GL's close friend, mind you), masterfully intercut scenes from the rise of Vito Corleone in the early twentieth century with the fall of Michael Corleone in the 1950s. 

Now, I don't think you could (nor ever should) radically re-edit the OT movies to intercut footage from the PT. But what if you watched just ROTS post ESB to give that same powerful effect? This would come close on the heels of Vader revealing he is Luke's father, so then we could immediately jump back in time and see how he got to the point of almost killing his son. We then might have just a little sympathy for Anakin going into ROTJ and understand his ambivalence so much better. It also gives the entirety of ROTJ more weight going in, perhaps making it a much stronger film than it really is. Will Luke go down the same path as his father? That conflict is made much more immediate having just seen Anakin go down that path, making the stakes of ROTJ much higher. Watching ROTJ straight after ESB, there is little doubt Luke will always do the right thing. Watching ROTS in between, however, there is more tension. We also get to see the Emperor in ROTS as such an evil SOB, we would already have some fear for him when he is introduced in ROTJ. I’m telling you, this is the definitive way to watch the Star Wars saga. You also (thankfully) would never have to watch the first 2 prequels. 

There still are, however, some problems with ROTS (even though it’s by far the strongest of the PT), so perhaps a really great fan edit could be substituted as the definitive version of that film. 

 What do fellow fans think?

(PS forgive me if somebody else has already come up with this without my knowing! I’m not as rabid a reader on this board.)