With the imminent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you might want to refresh your memory by watching the earlier Star Wars films, or even the films and other related productions.
There are two or three philosophies on this. The most obvious is to watch the films in chronological order, or story order, so you are seeing the historical development of the things that happened. This is simple. Watch Episode I first, and work your way in order through Episode VI.
There are objections to this method, however, because the way the story was told, out of historical sequence, involves certain reveals that would be ruined if you watched them in historical order.
The release order of the films, which presumably reflects the intentions of the artist, is:
Then, of course, Episode VII, and eventually Episodes VIII and IX
Software expert Rod Hilton developed what come to be known as the “Machete Order” (called that because his blog is named “Absolutely No Machete Juggling”). Hiton argues, as noted, that the historical order (he calls it the “episode order”) ruins a key reveal that so and so is so and so’s father. Hilton rightly notes that this is a key feature of the entire story, and it is not a good idea to ruin that. If anyone watching the films does not know about this reveal, then watching them in historical, or episode, order is the wrong thing to do.
He also argues that the release order is fine for the first three films has its problems as well. His suggestion is a different order from either historical or episode, and it runs like this:
Notably, you don’t watch Episode I at all. The reason? It sucks. Read the original (well, updated) blog post for all the reasons.
Another dude, Ernest Rister, suggests the same order but he leaves in Episode I, so you get this:
- Episode IV: A New Hope
- Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
You can get the digital version of the existing films at Amazon: Star Wars: The Digital Movie Collection, or if you prefer hard copies, Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI) in Blu-ray. There is also a non blue-ray version but since it is an import, I’m not sure if you want that for your DVD player.
You might want to go totally crazy and also watch and read the other things that are parts of the story but not in those movies, such as the TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, or the book A New Dawn. If you want to get those things in the right order, Tech Times has a list.
By the way, John Abraham wrote a review of the recently published novel, “Dark Disciple,” which fits near the beginning of the cannon, here.