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Interesting order to watch the Star Wars films

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Showing 1-14 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 20, 2011 7:44:58 AM PDT
Kirksplosion says:
How about a break from all this Blu-ray-specific jibber jabber? I think most of us have had our fill of that by now. Let's talking about Star Wars series viewing order.

If you're like me, you've considered how you would show the films to your loved ones that haven't seen them. In particular, I've considered how I'll be showing the movies to my kids when they're old enough. I've weighed the pros and cons and in my head between having the prequels or the original trilogy first, and I just could never land on a perfect solution for myself.

I came upon the website below that breaks down the main viewing method pros and cons, as well as introducing an all new method to me. I'll be using this new order myself with this Blu-ray set (which I've only just received), but it sounds like it solves many of the issues I have with the other orders. What do you think?

"The Prequels as Flashback

This viewing order is really interesting. You begin with the Original Trilogy and watch Episode IV, 'A New Hope' followed by Episode V, 'The Empire Strikes Back'. But instead of watching Return of the Jedi, you hold off and instead watch the three Prequels. Only after you have finished the prequels do you watch Return of the Jedi to cap off your marathon.

Why it works: This approach tries to reconcile the biggest problems with the chronological and episodic viewing orders: plot and cinematic continuity. The oldest episodes are placed first in the viewing order while the newer episodes are nested in the middle. The climactic finale provided by Episode VI, however, is still retained. Additionally, some of the key dramatic twists are still preserved such as the surprise revelation in Empire Strikes Back about Luke's parentage. The prequel is preceded by a nice cliffhanger from episode V and episode III also serves as a nice cliffhanger before the final culmination of episode VI. The special effects continuity is mostly contained since episodes IV and V have the most dated appearance (episode VI holds up relatively well against the space battles from the Prequels).

Where it fails: In this viewing order the Prequels represent a flashback. This device might be a bit confusing to some viewers. The fact that the flashback is not a short sequence but a full-extended trilogy might also present some problems. One workaround would be to skip Episode I entirely so that the flashback only lasts for two films."

Posted on Sep 20, 2011 7:48:35 AM PDT
GarionOrb says:
I watched the films this way over the weekend, and I have to say it's an excellent viewing order. It really does preserve all the cinematic plot points in the best possible way. Also, continuity is maintained in an unexpectedly harmonious way. I definitely recommend this!

Posted on Sep 20, 2011 10:57:18 AM PDT
meganick says:
My preferred viewing order is IV then V then VI...and that's it. No prequels.

Posted on Sep 20, 2011 11:53:31 AM PDT
I actually like watching the OT first, because if I watch the prequels first, all I can do is picture HC under Vader's helemt. It really "pussifies" Vader for me. On their own, I think the prequels are pretty decent, at least AOTC and ROTS are entertaining. I like all the films, but Vader is more badass if you watch the OT first, then thet PT.

Posted on Sep 20, 2011 12:25:04 PM PDT
Puggo says:
If you're watching the special editions, then I suppose the 4-5-1-2-3-6 order has its merits. But that's because the Jabba reveal has already been blown by the added scene in ANH with Han and Jabba. If you're watching the unaltered versions, 4-5-6-1-2-3 is a better order because it preserves the mystery of who Jabba is and what he looks like. His appearance in ROTJ is such a surprise (like Yoda), but not if you've already seen him.

Of course, the worst possible order is 1-2-3-4-5-6 because that blows every reveal and surprise in the OT.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 20, 2011 12:27:14 PM PDT
Kirksplosion says:
I don't know. I think the worst possible order would be more like 6-2-5-3-1-4, because it makes no sense whatsoever.

Posted on Sep 20, 2011 12:37:02 PM PDT
GarionOrb says:
Jabba is hardly such a pivotal character that he has to be revealed in a "surprise" way. Even before the special editions, Jabba is mentioned a few times in both Episodes IV and V.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 20, 2011 12:39:27 PM PDT
Kirksplosion says:
Yeah, I don't remember finding out that Jabba was a giant tub of lard to be much of a shocker. Just an, "Ah, that's Jabba."

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 20, 2011 1:24:18 PM PDT
Jack Pacini says:
I just watched them this past weekend in order 1-6. The whole time I'm thinking, if I show these to my daughter in this order, all the surprise of the OT is completely blown. There is even a chance she won't like them because there is no shock factor, that is a big part of why we all fell in love with the OT in the first place.

When I do get around to presenting them to her, this is most definitely the way I'm going to do it. Especially considering that when you come off of the dazzling visuals in RotS and go to the very dated visuals of ANH, it's enough to take you right out of the world of Star Wars, and into reality where this is clearly a movie.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 20, 2011 1:33:36 PM PDT
Kirksplosion says:

And there are some advantages to watching the series in order, but you are right in that the cool surprise element is lost. Here is what the link I posted had to say positively about that 1-2-3-4-5-6 order:

"This approach provides a strong high-level story arc centered on the rise, fall and redemption of Darth Vader. You essentially move chronologically through his life from childhood all the way to his death and final redemption by his children. You also get the added benefit of nicely spaced emotionally wrenching episodes (3 and 5) contrasted with the more emotionally upbeat episodes 4 and 6."

Posted on Sep 20, 2011 2:20:55 PM PDT
Ziggy says:
My son is 2-years-old, but when he's old enough he'll be watching them in the proper order: 4,5,6 -wait 20 years- 1, 2, 3. ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 20, 2011 2:33:39 PM PDT
Kirksplosion says:
Haha. Now that's keeping it real.

Posted on Sep 20, 2011 3:55:12 PM PDT
David Harris says:
I don't think seeing Jabba for the first time in "Jedi" is neccesarrily a "big" reveal... but it's a fun one. Preceded by the awkwardly-inserted scene in ANH would take a bit of the fun away from "Jedi"s big opener.

But the question is - to someone who hasn't seen them? I'm sure I'll do that someday. Hmmm... If I have to include the prequels then I'd show them all 3 prequels first. Like eating your liver before dessert. (And I mean watching the prequels are like eating your OWN liver, literally!)

Then give them some settle down period and watch the original trilogy (unaltered versions). Yes, it spoils the "father" reveal a bit, but it would sure lead to a lot of anticipation for the first-time viewer to see how it all works out! Incidentally, does Lucas have a preference for the order his babies should be watch in...?

Posted on Sep 20, 2011 5:00:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 20, 2011 5:15:47 PM PDT
BE says:
Of course you have to acknowledge the fact that the odds are very low that a new viewer will remain unspoiled until they are old enough to watch all of them. Star Wars is too embedded into our culture for us not to know. I knew long before I saw Empire about the epic reveal.
Assuming these are my future kids, I would probably show them 1-2 and then show The Clone Wars, then Revenge of the Sith, then the originals.
Maybe I would try and show the original release of ANH and use the newest editions of the rest.
~Trent Taylor
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Participants:  9
Total posts:  14
Initial post:  Sep 20, 2011
Latest post:  Sep 20, 2011

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