As a fan of the Star Wars saga, you’ve probably found yourself faced with questions from newcomers to the movies, wondering: what’s the best order to watch these iconic films? With the release of the prequels, sequels, and standalone stories, there are numerous ways to embark on your journey through a galaxy far, far away. You might have your own views, and if it’s little ones that you’re introducing to the series, you could potentially make the case that starting from The Phantom Menace sets the right tone, but in this editorial, we’re going to make a compelling case for one optimal viewing order that we believe offers the most satisfying and coherent experience for both newcomers and seasoned fans alike.
Introducing the “Flashback Order”
Fans and newbies, allow us to present the “Flashback Order.” This sequence places the original trilogy (Episodes IV, V, and VI) at the forefront, followed by the prequels (Episodes I, II, and III), and culminates with the sequels (Episodes VII, VIII, and IX). In this order, you’ll have the opportunity to relive the charm of the original films, explore the backstory of key characters, and witness the thrilling conclusion to the Skywalker saga – all without having key events and relationships spoiled.
Here’s the recommended viewing order in detail:
- Episode IV: A New Hope
- Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
- Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- Episode VII: The Force Awakens
- Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
- Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
Now, let’s delve into the reasons behind this order and why it makes for the most rewarding Star Wars experience.
Preserving the Iconic Twists
The original trilogy, particularly Episodes IV and V, contain some of the most memorable twists in cinematic history. By beginning with A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, you preserve the suspense and the impact of these revelations. By contrast, watching the prequels first would spoil these surprises and diminish their emotional resonance.
Exploring the Origins After the Classics
By the time you finish Return of the Jedi, you’ll have witnessed the original saga and the redemption of Darth Vader. This is the perfect moment to jump back in time and delve into the prequels. This order allows you to explore the origins of iconic characters like Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Emperor Palpatine while maintaining the emotional investment you’ve built up in the original trilogy.
As you watch the prequels, the knowledge of what will eventually happen to these characters adds a layer of dramatic irony that enhances the story. You’ll also gain a better understanding of the broader Star Wars universe, including the rise of the Empire and the fall of the Jedi Order.
The Sequels: A Fitting Conclusion
The Flashback Order wraps up with the sequels, which focus on the next generation of heroes and villains while paying tribute to the legacy of the original cast. With the backstory of the original trilogy and the prequels fresh in your mind, you’ll be able to appreciate the narrative connections and thematic parallels that span the entire saga.
By the time you reach The Rise of Skywalker, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of the Star Wars mythos, making the film’s conclusion and the cameo appearances of a number of legacy characters all the more poignant and satisfying.
An Inclusive Experience
While we stand by the Flashback Order, we mustn’t forget the standalone films and animated series that enrich the Star Wars universe. We recommend watching Rogue One and Solo after you’ve completed the Flashback Order, as they provide additional context and depth to the saga. Additionally, if you’re up for more adventure, consider diving into the animated series like The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, which further explore the galaxy and its diverse cast of characters.
TL;DR: The Flashback Order as the Ultimate Star Wars Experience
The Flashback Order offers a well-rounded and comprehensive Star Wars experience that honors the original trilogy’s charm, dives into the prequels’ rich backstory, and delivers a fitting conclusion with the sequels. By preserving iconic twists, exploring character origins, and celebrating the legacy of the original films, this order ensures that both newcomers and longtime fans will find something to love.
With the standalone films and animated series as complementary additions, you’ll be immersed in the captivating galaxy of Star Wars, leaving no stone unturned in your interstellar adventure.
So, gather your friends, grab some popcorn, and embark on the ultimate Star Wars journey with the Flashback Order. May the Force be with you!