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The Order of Star Wars

Posted by danielsullivan67@aol.com on April 2, 2021 at 3:45 PM

 

I have little in the way of news this month—apart from that my first draft of the sequel to “Better the Millstone” now surpasses fifty thousand words!

And now, I ask that you indulge me as I write about one of my favorite topics: Star Wars—specifically, the order of Star Wars.

It seems that there are now numerous ways to watch Star Wars.

I recall seeing Star Wars in the movie theatre in 1977. It was truly a game changer, and the movie was probably the most visually stunning thing I had ever seen up to that point. Older science fiction, such as Star Trek, Doctor Who, Space: 1999, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, were bland and pale by comparison. Not in terms of color and splash, but in terms of being real. Star Wars looked real. The ships looked like they had seen real action, and the story a unique blend of science fiction, high fantasy, and space western that launched not only a new franchise but changed the face of science fiction.

But I digress.

 

Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi (we didn't call them by episode numbers back then). Those were it. At some point, the Holiday Special and Ewok programs came along for kids, and there were a handful of novels (Splinter of the Mind's Eye being the first). Other than that, we had Starlog and Omni magazines to read about science fiction related stuff, including Star Wars.

Until Betamax and VHS came along and home video took off, the only order you watched them in was "Star Wars (Nobody called it "A New Hope" back then)" in 1977, "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" in 1980, and "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi" in 1983.

Until 1999, when "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" premiered, there was only one trilogy and one order.

Now, you have prequel and sequel trilogies, and debates surrounding the order of watching the films. Which one is right? I've read that you should start newcomers with "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens," as it is the most recent of the trilogy starting points, and have them watch Episodes VIII and IX, after which you go back and watch the original trilogy and then the prequel trilogy. Then,you have people who advocate watching them in the order they were released (original trilogy, prequel trilogy, sequel trilogy) and others who advocate watching them in episode order. Then, there's some kind of machete order that mixes everything up and drops Episode I.

None of that includes the non-trilogy films, such as Solo and Rogue One, and the TV shows.

So, without further ado, here is the Daniel Sullivan Order.

1. Solo: A Star Wars Story

2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

3. Star Wars: A New Hope

4. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

5. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

6. Star Wars: The Mandalorian (all seasons).

Do as you wish with the prequel and sequel trilogies. I enjoyed both and they have their merits, but they also feel somewhat disconnected from the original trilogy. Same goes for the rest of the television shows.

A few words on the sequel trilogy. I enjoyed it overall, though a I said above, it felt disconnected from the original trilogy, this in spite of having the three main characters (Leia, Luke, and Han - played by their original actors no less!), three main supporting characters (R2D2, C3P0, and Chewbacca), and one of the primary antagonists (Emperor Palpatine, also played by the Return of the Jedi actor).

I found the films enjoyable, and I felt that the casts' diversity offered many more points of entry to the series than did the original trilogy (which consisted of nearly all white men and three white women, only one of whom had more than about three or four lines or five minutes’ worth of screen time).

At the same time, some of the choices were baffling—the complete jettisoning of the old “expanded universe”. Other baffling choices were the exclusion of Mara Jade, the all-off-screen collapse of Luke's Jedi Academy, and Luke's living as a hermit. Then there was the puzzling choice to name Han and Leia's son Ben. In the expanded universe, that had been the name of Luke and Mara' son—which made sense, given Luke's connection with Ben Kenobi. Finally, there was the wasting of the Captain Phasma and Rose Tico characters.

None of those things were dealbreakers, and I like the new characters and cast (all of them). But those things did make the sequel trilogy feel more like a reboot than a continuation. There is a lot to like in Episodes seven through nine, so I do encourage you to watch them if you have not already.

As far as the order of movies and film, I gave my opinion, but really, just watch Star Wars and enjoy what was for me, a transformative and impactiful sci-fi/space opera!

May the Force be with you!

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