Episode VII has arrived. It’s here. The movie event of the year is currently smashing sales records everywhere, and for good reason. The critics love it. The fans love it. And everyone’s talking about how the one of the biggest movie releases of all time seems to be living up to the hype. So the only question left is: have you seen it, yet? Probably not. Tickets aren’t exactly easy to come by at the moment. But that’s okay. Because it gives you time to do the ultimate Star Wars Pregame event. I’m talking of course about watching the previous movies in the series in all their glory, back to back, in one epic screening. Whether you’re new to the series and need to get caught up, or are the biggest lightsaber swinging fan out there, visiting these movies is a must. But here’s the thing: you have to do it in the right order.
Most people watch the series either in order of their release (the original episodes 4,5, and 6 trilogy followed by the 1, 2, 3 prequels) or they watch them in order of the episodes (a straight shot from 1 through 6). Both have issues, but there’s a better way: the Machete Order.
It works like this: Watch A New Hope then Empire then Attack of the Clones followed by Revenge of the Sith then finish with Return of the Jedi. That’s episodes 4 and 5 then 2 and 3 then 6. Skip Episode 1 entirely.
The order actually makes a lot of sense. For one it perseveres the big twist at the end of the Empire Strikes Back for anyone who somehow hasn’t already had it ruined for them after 30 years of pop culture references. Also, because Empire ends on a cliff hanger, watching Episode 2-3 in between makes the two prequels feel like a flash back that ups the tension and the ultimate conclusion to the series in Return of the Jedi. All the while, the viewer can explore the fall of Anakin Skywalker, and discover the truth of about Luke’s father to see it for themselves instead of simply being told about it in the next chronological movie. It provides a much better perspective into the seductive nature of the dark side, and sets up stark parallels between the journey of Luke’s father as well as his own. After watching Revenge of the Sith, viewers won’t be able to ignore the similar themes in Jedi; particularly on the topic of anger and fear for the well being of loved ones.
The best part? It cuts Episode 1 which is easily the most panned entry in the series. But it doesn’t hit the chopping block because it’s terrible (even though it is), it ends up there because it doesn’t actually add anything to the series. Nothing that happens in The Phantom Menace matters or has any impact on the future. The plot is mostly confined within the movie as are most of the sticking points fans complain about. Midi-chlorians and heavily hinted immaculate births, anyone?
With the Machete order, a New Hope establishes the universe and the basic plot, Empire introduces us to the story ark of Luke’s father which gets fleshed out in Episode’s 2 and 3 and then Return of the Jedi wraps everything up. It’s the perfect way to spend a weekend; especially if you’ve got the Force Awakens on your horizon. What are you waiting for?