The Correct Way to Watch Star Wars

This week, Disney (and Fox, don’t forget) released all 3 Star Wars films for digital download.

Also, six hours of unnecessary prolog drivel.

Except, I say that, and even I have to admit (bile rising) the prequels are canon.

For a lot of people, this will be the first chance to re-watch the films, having bypassed the Blu-rays, or perhaps even lack a Blu-ray player. So what’s the best way to watch them? Or, perhaps you want to show someone the second (first?) best fantasy series of all time who hasn’t seen it before.

Turns out, there is a best way. It’s called The Machete Order.

The Machete Order has been rattling around the web for a few years now. If you’ve never heard of it, I highly recommend checking out the full article about it. It’s genius. I’ll lay out why a bit later.

First, let’s look at the possible ways you can watch all six movies (if that’s your desire).

Release Date

This makes sense, from a certain point of view (from a certain point of view?). This is certainly the order those of us closer to Yoda’s age than Luke’s watched them originally. There’s a nostalgia value that can’t be discounted.

It also starts with A New Hope which is easily the strongest of the six and only film that could rightly stand on its own. (Yes, yes, everyone loves Empire, but Empire doesn’t work without A New Hope).

The issue with Release Date is, you end effectively in the middle of the story. Since we don’t have the constraints of time or Lucas’s whims, we can watch them however we want.


Sure, this makes sense too. They’re numbered in order, so we should watch them in order.

Except… It leads off with the steaming pile of bantha guano that is Phantom Menace. If everyone in your viewing party has seen the series before, this is fine. But if you’re introducing them to it, wow, this is like starting a hug with a slap to the nuts.

Machete Order

This is, seriously, genius. All credit to this guy. Here’s the Machete Order:

Just think about that. So brilliant. You start with A New Hope. Hugely strong start. You go right to Empire. Then with that awesome cliff hanger… you back up to tell Vader’s backstory. Vader is a fascinating character at this point, who wouldn’t want to know more about him?

The best part is… no Phantom Menace! Turns out (as we all suspected) there is basically no information in Phantom Menace that isn’t either repeated in Attack of the Clones or completely unnecessary to begin with (midi-chlorians).

The creator of Machete Order even ran a test with someone who hadn’t seen Star Wars before, and reported no serious questions that would have been answered by seeing Phantom Menace.

It’s such a great idea, I think I’ll even watch II and III again as part of this order.

In closing, I’ll leave you with the Red Letter Media takedown of Phantom Menace because it annoyed so many people the last time I posted it (NSFW language, NSF Fanboys).

jnemesh's picture

1) Watch the ORIGINAL, UNMOLESTED versions, preferably the laserdisc version, which had the best picture and sound quality ever released for the "un-special" versions.

2) Pretend the prequels don't exist. They aren't worth your time and add NOTHING to the reality, they actually TAKE AWAY from the experience of the OG Trilogy!

3) Find a copy of Genndy Tartakovsky's "Clone Wars" and watch those instead.

trynberg's picture

Hear hear, jnemesh. I for one, would like to watch the original trilogy without Greedo shooting first, without the music changed in Jabba's palace, without Hayden's ghost, and DEFINITELY without Vader yelling "NOOOOO" when he throws the emperor down the shaft in BD quality. I keep hoping that Disney will fix this now that George is (finally) out of the picture.