With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on the horizon, it’s time to bust out the annual discussion around the best way to watch the films. Here’s Mike from Chin Stoker VS Punter‘s preferred order.
First off, a couple caveats. Objectively, the best way to watch the Star Wars films is in the order they were released. But actually, the prequels only really make sense in a world where the original trilogy exists.
Self aware moments like Obi-Wan’s comment: “Anakin, you will be the death of me” pepper the three films and were clearly written to play to our familiarity with the original trilogy – so don’t give me this ‘They were designed to be watched in this order’ poodoo George.
And finally, this is a list that that ignores the TV stuff, as well as any video games or other mediums… as let’s face it, that would open up a whole other can of worms. Anyway, here we go…
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) Works pretty well as an introduction to the universe or as a prologue, without spoiling any later events, and leads very neatly into…
- A New Hope (1977)
- Empire Strikes Back (1980)
- Phantom Menace (1999) This is where the placement of the prequel trilogy works best. It essentially works as a flashback that delves into the revelations from the closing act of Empire. This is where I both echo and digress from the much cited Machete Order which eschews this entry. I include Episode One as it is the strongest of the prequels in my opinion, with a more cinematic scope than the later entries, and a colourful, energetic aesthetic that feels more in line with the original trilogy (yes I realise I am in a minority on this one). Plus, there is a lot of exposition that I have reason to suspect may come into play in the forthcoming Episode 9.
- Attack of the Clones (2002) There is no way of avoiding this one I am afraid.
- Revenge of the Sith (2005)
- Return of the Jedi (1983) Here we return to the original trilogy and get a satisfying resolution to the first two OT films as well as seeing the resolution of the Anakin, Obi Wan, Emperor and Yoda stories from the prequels)
- The Force Awakens (2015)
- The Last Jedi (2017)
- The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
I’ve not included Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) as enjoyable as it is, it is far too peripheral to include along with the Skywalking main entries. But I guess if you really wanted to include it, it would play quite nicely after Revenge of the Sith (when it is set) and before we circle back to the OT for Return of the Jedi, where we see the conclusion of Solo’s story arc. There is a strictly chronological case to be made for having it before Rogue One but starting the rewatch with Solo would feel very weird.
So there it is. Feel free to share your preferred order or hit us up on @podsyndicate on Twitter