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Monday, July 20, 2020

How to Watch Star Wars Follow-Up

I thought I’d follow up my How to Watch Star Wars post requesting help on how best to give the Star Wars storyline a fair chance. Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions. I compared the lists of Joseph, Troy, and Big McStrongmuscle to make some decisions on how to go about this, which I will get to in a moment.

But first: I think people may have missed some important points about my project.

  • I’ve already seen the original trilogy and even a couple newer movies. So, spoilers are not an issue. I already know who Darth Vader is and who Luke and Leia are, guys. Not gonna be a surprise, no matter what order I choose.
  • I don’t plan to be a completionist. I don’t care about tracking down every piece of Star Wars media. I’m mostly concerned with giving the emotional and artistic elements their due. I’m not interested in filler for the backstory.
  • This is not really about watching Star Wars. It’s about getting my money’s worth out of Disney Plus. That means I’m not paying extra for anything, nor will I spend time tracking down bootleg cuts that don’t include later changes.

I’m not a Star Wars fan. I thought that was obvious, but maybe people didn’t realize what this means. I’m not going to be affected by the same things fans are. For example, I’ve seen both the “Han Shot First” and “Han Shot Second” versions of A New Hope and didn’t really notice who shot first either time. It also means I’m not going to follow the Machete Cut just to skip over movies some fans object to.

If you can make a good case for re-arranging the order, that’s different. If the emotional impact is better if you start with Machete order (4, 5, 2, 3, 6) and then finish with the other movies, that’s worth thinking about. But I will watch #1. Will watching #1 after #6 make it a better movie? Or does it not matter when I watch #1?

After looking over the suggested order list, I’m now considering two possible orders:

  1. Strict Chronological for Live-Action Theatrical Releases. followed by The Mandalorian, then a sample of others, depending on interest.
  2. Chronological by Arc, resembling release order with some modifications. Start with Rogue One, move on to films 4 to 6, then to films 1 to 3, then Solo, then films 7 to 9, followed by The Mandalorian.

Note that I’m going to pass on a lot of the animated material. I checked out some reviews/criticism of the Clone Wars material and decided to do a hard pass on the CGI theatrical film, but might try the first two episodes of each animated series until I get bored or take an interest in one.

When I start watching, I plan on doing a review of each film as I finish, from the viewpoint of someone who isn’t a fan, but giving each film my full attention and judging it on its own merits.

Oh, and after I finish all the theatrical films, I might consider picking up some of the RiffTrax “Just the Jokes” releases for them and giving them a rewatch, so I can review the riffs.


  1. In general, you always want to go withthe publication order. Sequels and prequels otherwise make little sense, and much of the wink-and-nod fan service is wasted. So I would recommend Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi....

    But, if you only want to watch good films, the viewing order matters less, because there really aren't that many. The first Star Wars is a great movie. The rest of the trilogy is satisfying, but a bit strained.

    The Phantom Menace is not as good, and stretched thin by all the loose (but in-of-themselves uninteresting) threads they cut between at the climax. the Duel of the Fates lightsaber scene is pretty much the only thing worth watching (unless, of course, you've already seen so much correographed violence that any fight scene now bores you). The rest of the prequel trilogy isn't any better.

    The first 30 minutes of the sequel trilogy giveyou hope of something original. It goes down hill from there and generally doesn't deliver.

    Rogue One and Solo were good (though the former is usually over-estimated and the latter under-estimated) and don't hing on anything but the loosest understanding of the original trilogy.

    The Mandalorian is truly good, and stands on its own (and well) that it takes a while before you can even figure out when it happens relative to the other movies.

    It sounds like you don't want a viewing order so much as a priority list. In that case: original trilogy, the Mandalorian, maybe Solo or Rogue One if you're in the mood, and either the prequel or sequal trilogy would be equally disappointing.

  2. From a RPG point of view, every movie (IX not you) is awesome and overloads with roleplaying/adventure-seed potential, no matter the watching order.

    That said, Rogue One and The Mandalorian (maybe even Solo) are the best and most complete regarding scenario feeling:
    - Dark Fantasy
    - Complex Characters (grey-coded moral, anti-heroes, compelling backgrounds)
    - Galactic Empire
    - Force Folklore

  3. heh.. I've just been doing this.
    Watched the first two prequels, Clone Wars series, last prequel, Solo, Rebels series, and now starting on rogue one.

    The two series are head and shoulders better than the prequel movies... Solo was surprisingly great, and rogue one is damn good so far (toddler in the house, so only watching in 10-20 min chunks)

  4. You should definitely check out the animated series by Gendy Tartakosvky.

    1. I may, as I said, watch the first episode and possibly the second, but probably won't watch all of it. I've actually seen parts of it before, so I have a taste of what it is: filler material for true fans. It may be the best such filler material, giving them exactly what I want, but I'm thinking it's not going to add anything for me.