Star Wars: Release order or numerical order?

A friend of mine has, though a bizarre series of events far too complicated to attempt to explain here, has never seen any of the Star Wars films. She is roughly half my age, and wasn’t alive when the first trilogy was released.

Whatever one thinks of the series, they are undeniably a vital part of the American cultural zeitgeist. So she asked, in what order should she watch them? The release order as my wife and I did starting with Episode IV? Or in the new order starting with Episode I?


The other three do not exist.

I probably should have made a more complicated poll offering two sets of options, one from old farts, another for young punks. I suspect your choice may be influenced by the order in which you originally saw them.


It’s the way the story unfolds.

Huh? 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 6?

She should start with Eps. IV, V, and VI. If she starts with the Phantom Menace, she may be too disappointed with that one to continue with the rest. Watch the good ones first. Then it’s no great loss if she watches Ep. I and then gives up.

You know what? I agree. If you don’t know the how the whole thing ends, it makes the prequels better. Palatine is more menacing, and Vader still feels mostly irredeemable. But if you start with the prequels, it ruins IV, and possibly V, as you know way too much about the mysterious Darth Vader.

Of course, the discussion is academic since nearly everyone knows the basic plot points of all six.

They exist, but as a warning to others.

IV, V, VI.

I’m not that old, and didn’t see the old Start Wars movies until my 20s.

But (at least two of) the three original Star Wars movies are great. The prequels are not just sub par, they are extremely bad. The story is muddled, large parts of it doesn’t make sense, little of it feels right due to the CGI reliance.

If you are geeky about it, there are three great reviews at that delve into this in devastating detail.

Think about it. In 5 is the big revelation, but then you go back to follow Anakin’s journey, and then finally the conclusion.

IV first, because otherwise she won’t ever watch it, and it’s where most of the cultural references originate. But I really like Guanolad’s plan.

You left out that the acting is - uneven.
Okay, really wretched in places.

If you don’t see IV first then the impact that the appearance of Darth Vader has, in that film, is completely lost

I had no hesitation about voting for IV, V, VI, I, II, III: in general, works of fiction should be experienced in release order rather than internal chronological order (see: the Narnia books). But now that you mention it, your idea makes a certain amount of sense.

I voted “release order,” 'cause if you start someone out on these movies in chronological order, they aren’t making it past Attack of the Clones.

Which wuold be a shame.

ETA: “Chronological” from the POV of the SW Uverse.

The flashiness of the prequels makes the action sequences in the OT look lame. It’s hard to watch Anakin kick ass and take names for 3 whole movies, then have the slowest sword fight ever with Obi Wan in episode IV. Makes you want to scream at them.

Episode three has flaws but one thing it does really well is lead you into Episode four so I feel it should be viewed before Episode 4 but I find the idea of 4, 5, 1-3, 6 intriguing…

Plus having Episode 1 being your first experience with Star Wars is…let’s just say not good.

I would have said release order, but I’m convinced by GuanoLad. Good call, dude.

But if you watch Sith before Jedi, you’ve blown the whole “there is another” revelation, such that it is.

But if you don’t care about that, instead of holding off the entire PT for after Empire, I’d put some of them before.

I think you really need to start with the original SW, otherwise a 1,4,2,5,3,6 might work, but instead would go 4,1,2,5,3,6

That’s only IF I was going in an alternate order. Ideally it would be OT then PT.

I don’t think anybody cares about that, as it amounts to nothing.