Alright geeks. We’re in the home stretch. Less than two weeks until the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” première! Do you know what that means?
It means that now’s the time for a Star Wars marathon!
What better way to get hyped up for the season than by reliving the saga one more time? If every generation has a story, then the best way to experience “The Force Awakens” is with the last two generations in mind.
How, then, to marathon the series? Do you watch it in release order or numerical order? Do you decide to be a hipster about it and skip the prequels? Do you dig up your VHS tapes of the original trilogy, free from digital edits?
Let me make a recommendation: try Machete Order. Invented by programmer Rod Hilton in 2011 on his blog Absolutely No Machete Juggling (for which it is named), it proceeds thus: IV, V, II, III, VI.
In title form: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, Return of the Jedi.
His explanation is pretty long (13 pages in Word), so let me tell you briefly why this order is the best:
It takes out Episode I, which doesn’t serve the series in any real way—every important character who isn’t killed off is is reintroduced in Episode II (You don’t have to cut it out altogether if you like it that much… just watch it as “dessert”).
It keeps Luke your protagonist throughout the thing; and he is much more likable as a protagonist than Anakin. It’s easier to invest in Luke as your hero, and watching him redeem his dad is more powerful than watching from Anakin’s point of view.
It turns the prequels into a flashback to provide background, and it allows you to both start and finish the marathon on a good movie. (In either release or numerical order, you must bookend your experience with one of the prequels. Blegh.)
It preserves both major surprises and gives us a MUCH more satisfying “Leia is Luke’s sister??” moment.
It heightens the tension for Luke’s final confrontation with the Emperor; having just watched Anakin go to the Dark Side and the Emperor take over the galaxy, you feel a new tension in that scene that wasn’t present before. COULD Luke be turned? IS the Emperor all-powerful?
Give Machete Order a try! I’ve introduced 2 newbies to the saga this way, and found it a rewarding experience both times. What has your experience been? What’s YOUR favorite order in which to watch the saga?