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The Only Order To Watch The 'Star Wars' Movies — Yes, There's A Right Way

Ever since the incredible release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens last year, the world has been buzzing about the epic series and revisiting everyone's favorite science fiction movies. With the seventh film released on DVD just this month, many Star Wars fans are ready to sit down and watch the entire saga all over again. Even people who have never seen Star Wars before (yes, those people exist) might be ready to tackle the series for the first time. But what order should you watch Star Wars in? Is there a right or wrong order?

Technically, yes. There is both a right way and a number of  wrong ways to watch the Star Wars series. Hardcore movie traditionalists will tell you that you have to start with Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, because it was the first movie, and continue watching the rest of the movies in the order they were released.  You can't just screw up all of George Lucas's plans, you know? And for the most part, I have to agree. It's a rite of passage, especially if you've never seen Star Wars before. I call this the "right order."

The wrong order? Oh boy. Some insist on watching the movies in numerical order, starting with Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. This is no good. For starters, The Phantom Menace is absolutely terrible. But the biggest reason to avoid this order is because it spoils a number of surprises throughout the series, like Darth Vader being Luke's father. Sure, that's fairly common knowledge by now, but if you're showing these movies to a kid who's never seen any of the saga, you're taking away a lot of the fun of the movies. Plus, the prequels that were released after the original trilogy are full of back story. If you have no idea what's happened in episodes IV, V, and VI, you'll be totally confused. I call this the "wrong order."

So that means that the only order to watch Star Wars in is by watching them in release order, right? Nope. There is an alternative order to watch these epic films in and it was created by software developer Rod Hilton back in 2011. He calls it the "Machete Order" and Star Wars fans all over the world agree with him. When viewing in Machete Order, you ignore both the release dates and chronological order of the Star Wars films, giving you and any newbies the best possible Star Wars Experience.

  • Episode IV: A New Hope
  • Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • Episode VII: The Force Awakens

I know. The OCD person inside of you is totally freaking out. But here is why the Machete Order works.

You Get To Completely Skip 'Episode I'

Look, Episode I is no good. Everything you're introduced to in this movie is restated in Episode II. Machete Order rids you of the responsibility of watching it and makes your entire Star Wars viewing much more enjoyable.

It Eases The Bomb Ending Of Episode V

When Darth Vader reveals he's Luke's father at the end of Episode V, you're totally left hanging and wondering how in the world this all happened. That's why Machete Order works. By going back in time (in the Star Wars universe that is) to watch Episode II, you get all of the background on Anakin and how he became Darth Vader. It's the perfect way to hear the prequel stories and see how they connect to the later episodes.

It Keeps It Both Luke's And Anakin's Story

Episode I is all about Anakin and, no matter how much George Lucas claims that Star Wars is a saga about Anakin, we all know it's more about Luke. By following Hilton's Machete Order, you get two Luke-focused movies, two Anakin-focused movies, and then you end it with Episode VI, which combines the two characters in the perfect story.

It Doesn't Ruin Any Surprises

You don't miss a single twist or have anything spoiled in Machete Order. You won't know Luke is Darth's father until it's time and you still get the surprise of Yoda. Perfect, especially for those who have never seen it.

Images: Lucasfilm; Giphy (5)