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Vinstar59

The Proper Viewing Order for Star Wars Marathons

Favorite Star Wars Viewing Order   11 members have voted

  1. 1. Which do you prefer?

    • Chronological I-II-III-IV-V-VI
    • Release IV-V-VI-I-II-III
    • Alternating I-IV-II-V-II-VI
      0
    • Flashback IV-V-I-II-III-VI
      0
    • Original IV-V-VI
      0
    • Machete IV-V-II-III-VI
    • Double Flashback IV-II-V-III-VI

Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

3 posts in this topic

With Episode VII coming up, I thought this would be fun to discuss. It's a hot topic among Star Wars fans and one I have given much thought to. You've got Release Order, Chronological Order, Original Order, Alternating Order, Flashback Order, and the Machete Order. Having done my own experimentation and considering several factors, there is an order that, in my opinion, is superior to all the previously mentioned orders. Yes, even better than the mighty Machete order everyone goes on about as "The proper way to watch Star Wars".

I call this order the Double Flashback. It is in the category of shorter orders as Episode I is omitted from the main viewing. The order is as follows... 

IV-II-V-III-VI    

 

As you may have noticed, this is only slightly different from Machete. Machete was my go to until I came up with this. I still hold it as second, but I feel it is sub par to this new order. The initial reaction to this proposal is usually along the lines of, "Da heck is that? That'd be confusing as FUUUU..." Hear me out. I do have reasons for it being this way. 3 actually.

 

First up is what I call "Prequel Fatigue". It is a thing. In my marathoning experience I've noticed this take place among the viewers, including myself. It's most noticeable in Release Order marathons where by about half way through Episode II you get "Star Warsed Out" and feel like watching the movies has now become a chore instead of enjoyable. While less common in the other orders, this phenomenon causes many a Star Wars fan to give up midway because it's no longer enjoyable. Even during Machete marathons near the end of Episode III this phenomenon occurs. Episodes II and III have brought you down to the point where you just don't care to see Jedi anymore and just quit. I've discovered this is caused by watching prequels back to back. While the originals will get you energized to watch more, the prequels, when put together, draw more energy than the originals gave you leaving you worn out before the marathon is over. This is one reason why II and III are divide by V, the strongest of the 5 you will watch. The anticipation of V gets you through II and the high you get from watching V gets you through III and lets you enjoy the journey to VI rather than it feeling like work.

Pacing is another reason for the structure of the order. While similar to "Prequal Fatigue" this is more for the rhythm of the marathon. One of my main issues with Machete is the jarring transition to Episode II and III. After watching a New Hope and Empire, you're ready for Jedi more than you are watching prequels. It feels like you hit pause on Star Wars to go watch a sub par Star Wars before you finish. By alternating between one story to another, it feels like two stories that blend instead of conflict. They run side by side instead of one jumping in to "ruin the fun". Now instead of feeling jarring, it's expected to go to III after V as that is the pattern established by IV-II-V. Because you already know the characters in the past going into V, you then want to see what happens in III to make all that happen in V. Also between each movie is an implied time span. When watching the movies in order, this passing of time feels lost between movies. By jumping back and forth in time after each movie, your brain more easily accepts that a couple of years/months/days has passed since you last saw these characters. To sum up, it establishes a rhythm for the marathon to follow that builds anticipation rather than a jarring jump back.

Finally is Story Arc. This is the primary reason I believe this order to be superior to all others. It lays out the story for the best enjoyment. Anyone who knows how to write a good book knows that the best part of the story should happen about 2/3 through the story. I think most will agree that this moment in Star Wars is the fight between Vader and Luke in Empire. In the original trilogy, this was true as each movie is about 2 hrs flat. That fight happens about an 1:30 to 1:45 into Empire, placing it to be around 2/3 through the 3 movies when played back to back. This is the downfall of Machete. It places this fight in the first 1/3 of the marathon. After this it's all down hill. To place the best stuff in the beginning throws the story arc out of balance and crashes once you watch the prequels. This is why I've moved it to the middle placing it as close to 2/3 as possible without causing more damage. Now you have a strong start, a while not so good second act, it does leave interesting plot points going in to V, followed by the best of the 5 you will watch, then trailing off with an ok movie, and then finishing with a better than ok movie. This order places the highs and lows where they should be for a good, exciting story. All the other orders screw this arc up and ruin the fun fact of going through the story. The only one that gets close is Alternating, but starting with Episode I is such a poor and confusing way to start that it's not healthy for a good engaging story experience. This is why Episode I is omitted and I consider it to be additive, but not part of the main plot, much like Clone Wars or Rebels is.

So what do you think? Will you give Double Flashback a shot at your next marathon? What's your favorite order? Vote above and discuss below!  

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I'd say chronological. At least it makes the most sense.

 

Speaking of Star Wars marathons, I still haven't carried out my own plan of pulling one off...

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Machete. You get to ignore the worst one and still get the majority of the back story.

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