The release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is imminent and all fans old as well as new are getting ready to enjoy the movie. Usually, these start with marathon runs of watching all the Star Wars movie. Every Star Wars fan will have his theory on the correct order to watch Star Wars movies. New fans to the series are clueless on what order to follow when they drive into the Star Wars world. Star Wars fans are one of the most opinionated fan base around and that is not a bad thing, it comes out of the love for the iconic series.

Whatever be your reason for watching the Star War movies, it is an experience like no other. Let us first tackle the obvious options for watching the Star Wars saga.

Release Order

  1. Episode IV: A New Hope
  2. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  3. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  4. Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  5. Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  6. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Star-Wars-Saga-release order

However, release order is, in my opinion, the least preferred order to watch the Star Wars movies and fails to give a good experience. If you watch the original trilogy, after the Empire is destroyed everyone is celebrating. Luke looks at his mentors, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda and not to mention a creepy looking Hayden Christensen. Placing him in the ending of the Jedi is one hell of a confusing ride as he is not in any of the preceding films. And after watching a great trilogy, it is hard to beat, with the prequels which are an origin story.

Episode Order

  1. Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  2. Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  3. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  4. Episode IV: A New Hope
  5. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  6. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

George Lucas intended the films to be watched in this order. According to Lucas, the epic space saga is about Anakin, his rise, fall and redemption. This order works the best out of the two as the story line follows the chronological order. However, the problem with this order is that it ruins one of the most shocking reveals in the history of movies. And if a newcomer to the series has somehow managed to avoid the spoilers watching the Episode order is akin to watching the ending of a movie at the beginning. I would suggest you watch the looks on these kids’ face, beware it will spoil the shocking reveal, so discretion is advised.

So the conundrum facing us, neither of these orders work! Well, there is an order suggested by a blogger Rod Hilton in 2011. The order is called Machete Order.

Machete Order

  1. Episode IV: A New Hope
  2. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  3. Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  4. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  5. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

The first thing that you will notice is the glaring absence of Episode I, there is a reason behind it. If you want to be committed to Star Wars Saga, I would suggest the Machete order be followed as IV, V, I, II, III and VI. We will get to why Episode I can be skipped later on. We believe this is the correct order to watch Star Wars Movies.

As we mentioned earlier according to Lucas, Star Wars is the story of Anakin but it is not. Viewers are more invested in the story of Luke Skywalker and saving the Empire. The redemption of Darth Vader from the dark side puts a human face to the entire arc of saving the galaxy from the Empire. This order is Luke’s story, just after the shocking revelation that leaves Luke with a big question, Episode II and III work as a flashback to explain that it is indeed the truth. The prequel episodes give us an effective story arc of Anakin and when we return to the main story line in Episode VI, we are more invested in how Luke saves the galaxy and how Darth Vader attains his redemption.

By watching the prequels in the middle of the original trilogy allows the series to end on a very satisfactory note. Episode V ended on a huge cliffhanger with not just the reveal but also, Han Solo captured and in carbonite and the Empire having hit the rebellion hard. By delaying the resolution of the cliffhanger, we are more invested in the story than at any other point of time when Return of the Jedi is viewed.

Machete order is the correct order to watch Star Wars Movies

The Machete Order gives the best Star Wars experience as the saga starts with Episode IV, establishing the Star Wars universe and ending with the most rewarding ending in Episode VI. This order makes the epic saga a story of two characters, Luke and Anakin. Two movies of Luke’s tale, two movies of Anakin’s story and final single film that brings both stories into one by giving a proper closure to the saga.

The cliffhanger ending of The Empire Strikes Back creates a lot of tension, and the original trilogy act as a framing device for the prequel trilogy. The relationship between Anakin and Padme or Obi-Wan and Anakin does not have the weirdness due to the convoluted story lines and age gaps from Episode I.

Another big positive of this order is the added dimension to one of all time favourite characters, Master Yoda. We have a greater understanding of Yoda’s troubled past and appreciate his experience even more. As mentioned earlier the ending and the celebrations that break out have more meaning to it. The original trilogy did not have enough to set up the scale of control of the Emperor over the galaxy. Hence, the end of the Emperor and with it the end of the Empire is indeed the greatest day in the galaxy far far away. The celebrations that follow feel justified. This order has many more twists that were laid bare open by Episode I. It would be hard to talk about the wonderful twists and minor reveals that are more satisfactory when the movies are viewed in the Machete Order without spoiling it for new fans and we want to keep this article as spoiler free as possible.

Yes, there are some issues with this order because of skipping Episode I. Qui-Gon, the prophecy, Anakin’s mother are the major story arcs that are weakened but it does not spoil the over all arc. Hence, despite its drawback, I feel Machete Order is the correct order to watch Star Wars movies.

 So what gets removed by skipping Episode I?

Depending on who you ask Episode I is the weakest/unneccessary/meh film of the series. Rarely will anyone speak of any virtues of the film in the entire saga. By skipping this film, we do not have to endure Jar Jar Binks, who had an unnecessary screen time and thankfully in Episode II and III he has barely any screen time.

No Midichlorians, by bringing that up in Episode I Lucas tried to bring science into Jedi, which had always been more mystical.

No Darth Vader as a whinny little kid nor the highly unnecessary pod racing, which always felt a forced sequence just for the sake of an action sequence.

No complex trade disputes and in Episode II the problem is more of a separatist movement wanting to leave the Republic and easier to understand.

These are among the few major benefits of skipping The Phantom Menace. Ejecting Episode I out of the saga and instead viewing Episode II after V does a better job of storytelling than including Episode I would have.

Machete Order, for us, is the correct order to watch Star Wars Movies. Do let us know in comments your views and anything we might have missed!