This post is in the theme “A Long Waltz Through Nerddom”. Read the first.
July 27, New York: How does one rewatch Star Wars? Think about it, it’s a complicated question. You could watch them in release order (4,5,6,1,2,3) or you could watch them in chronological order (1,2,3,4,5,6). Imagine you were showing them to a child for the first time. What a conundrum! The good news is, the Internet has a lot of opinions about this. From these opinions, I chose “Machete Order” (4,5,2,3,6).
— Andrew Fitzgerald (@magicandrew) July 19, 2014
Why Machete Order? If you’re interested in the details please read the very long blog post explaining it. But here are the basics:
- Episode 4 is the best entrance into the universe, but Episode 6 is by far the best ending.
- Vader’s big reveal in Episode 5 does not get spoiled by Episode 3, and instead 2 and 3 serve as an extended flashback supporting Vader’s assertion. It’s possible to believe, ignoring the cultural weight that that reveal has garnered, that Vader is actually lying to Luke at the end of Episode 5 in order to further manipulate his emotions. Then, watching 6 after watching 2 and 3, you’re even more invested in Vader’s internal struggle.
- Episode 1 is wholly unnecessary. I watched the five films in this order and was not at all confused at any point. It literally makes no difference that it’s gone. Also, Episode 1 is a terrible film. And while 2 might not be great, 3 is actually pretty good.
The one suggestion in Machete Order that we did not follow was to get Harmy’s Despecialized Editions. Lord, I wish we had. The widescreen versions released in the 90s have all sorts of additional CGI shots (and whole scenes!) or worse, CGI elements plastered into existing scenes. And every single addition is painfully obvious and ridiculously distracting. It makes watching the originals so much less enjoyable.
Otherwise, though, rewatching Star Wars was a blast. It took Jill and I a weekend and change to get through the whole thing, but it was so. much. fun. Star Wars is so pervasive in our culture and so ever-present in reruns on television that you perpetually feel like you just saw the movies, like, last year. Sitting down and watching the whole thing you realize how untrue that feeling is. There was so much I didn’t fully remember, especially from 5 and 6. Rediscovering those scenes and reliving the favorites was awesome. And how cool is Han Solo? I mean, come on.
I would normally link here to an Amazon page to buy these films, but I went through a whole thing with these where I only wanted to digitally rent them and they were unavailable anywhere! So I am going to use this space to recommend you do what I did and borrow them. Special thanks to @hwilson and @suits from my office.