May the Fourth be with you all.
On this day I feel compelled to share what is my current belief in how you should watch and experience Star Wars. Be warned, it is unique and likely to be contentious.
Phase 1: Entering the Star Wars Universe
- Phantom Menace
- Rogue 1
These movies support or are disconnected from the main plot. Starting with Phantom Menace is a risky gambit since the movie is so widely derided (with good reason) but I continue to believe it is superior to the other two prequels, even if it is the least connected to the core plot.
If you step back and frame it for the viewer as a welcome to the SW Universe, I think it does a good job. Jedis & Sith, multiple planets, crazy scenarios, pod racing.
Add in Rogue One and Solo for further stories which support the upcoming marathon but which aren’t integral to it.
FWIW, Rogue 1 is not as smooth a transition into A New Hope as I had, well, hoped.
Phase 2: Luke’s Story
- A New Hope
- Empire Strikes Back
Once we’ve introduced them to the Star Wars universe, it’s time to begin the core plot.
Phase 3: Anakin’s Story
- Attack of the Clones
- Revenge of the Sith
- Return of the Jedi
Make no mistake, I hate Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. They are two of my least favorite movies in the entire series, but they are integral to the long plot which is being told. And, per the Machette order’s original purpose, integrating them into the movie watching after the reveal at the end of Empire Strikes Back, provides a nice tie-in.
Phase 4: Rey’s Story
- The Force Awakens
- The Last Jedi
Now we come to the sequels, well, most of them. As a continuation from Return of the Jedi, the shift to Force Awakes is a rough one. It becomes best connected through the story of the empire.
I leave The Rise of Skywalker off the list for two reasons. Firstly, because I hated it. It undid so much from Last Jedi with deus ex machina. Secondly, it’s plot is dependent on that deus ex machina that creates a wild plot which seriously makes no sense. It isn’t needed. You can end on The Last Jedi and what is left unresolved is not overly troubling.
And there you have my morning ideations on May the Fourth.