So I just got done watching the Star Wars movies in machete order with my boyfriend who had never seen any of them. Not only had he never seen any of them, he literally knew nothing about them. I asked him if he knew anything about the plots, the characters, who the main villain was… he knew NOTHING. Couldn’t name Darth Vader, or Skywalker, or anything. He didn’t even know who Vader was, let alone that he was Luke’s father, or that Luke and Leia were twins. So he had as much surprise factor as anyone watching these movies when they first came out.
After reading that the best order to watch them in was machete order, that’s what we did. So we saw 4, 5, 2, 3 and 6. I asked him to write some reactions down to share with you before and after, but this was like pulling teeth. He didn’t want to write much, complained about it, and eventually I just gave up. At the end here, I will copy and paste what I did manage to get him to write, but otherwise I will sum up the experience myself from his perspective and from my own.
My own background: I have seen all the movies at least once before, but it had been at least since High School (and early at that) that I had seen any of the original trilogy. I saw Episode 2 once on TV at my grandma’s (and I remembered liking it), and saw Episode 3 in theaters and remembered really liking it. Of course, I knew the major plot points and nothing could really surprise me, but there were lots of little details and such that were “new” to me.
My own memory was that 5 and 3 were my favorites, and that 2 was also great, 4 was good, and 6 was good. After watching them all in machete order, I can pretty honestly say that episode 3 was probably my favorite overall followed closely by episode 5. A New Hope was great too, and clearly deserves to be called the classic that it is. Two was much, much weaker than I remembered it being, and six was quite good, especially in light of having watched 2 and 3 right before it.
I really feel that the interactions with Luke, Vader and The Emperor in Return of the Jedi were so much more powerful and meaningful having seen episodes 2 and 3 right before it. You actually saw the brilliant evil that the then senator employed in turning Anakin to the dark side, and the parallel in their actions between Anakin/Dooku and Luke/Vader. It was always clear in Return of the Jedi that there was no chance Luke was going to turn to the dark side, but Episode 3 really gives it that extra “interesting” factor because it shows how much better of a person Luke was than his father.
And it also provides a very powerful reason for why Vader eventually turns away from the Dark Side and saves his son from the Emperor. Without having seen 3, we are pretty much just forced to believe that it was some sort of biological bond, and there was really no strong reason for Vader to turn good. It seemed a little cheesy, and forced, and a sort of “hollywood happy ending” cliche.
But in episode 3, you see how Palpatine manipulated Anakin, and lied to him that he had killed the woman he loved, the woman who he had turned to the dark side to save. With everything he had done out of love to save her (twisted as it was), there was nothing left to do but embrace the Dark Side fully under the impression that he had killed her. Episodes 2 and 3 gave us good reasons to believe in Vader as being the heartless evil man that he was in episodes 4, and 5… but it also gives us a good reason to see why he eventually turns good at the end of episode 6.
It takes him some time, but when he fully realizes that Luke and Leia are indeed his own children, he must have seen them as his only remaining connection to the woman he loved, Padme. Seeing Luke being killed by the Emperor rekindled the pain he went through losing his wife, and so now his turning against the Emperor makes a lot more sense. It also makes his eventual death in the arms of Luke a lot more sad. Because we can be way, way more empathetic to Vader than we ever could without having seen Episode 2 and 3.
As much hate as Hayden Christensen got for his portrayal of an annoying Anakin, I felt on these second viewings that he did a pretty damn good job of portraying a young, emotional guy in love with someone who he wants desperately to save, and doesn’t have very good self control. You see genuine conflict in his allegiance to Palpatine, and to the Jedis, and eventually he chooses one over the other but you get the sense that he was at the core not necessarily an evil person. Just flawed in a way that allowed him to be turned into the very evil Vader.
Also, the reveal at the end of Episode 3 that Luke and Leia are twins (that Padme was going to even have twins at all) was hugely surprising to my boyfriend, and he really enjoyed finding out that way. After watching 6, he agreed that it wouldn’t have been nearly as “fun” to find out since it seems like more of an afterthought and doesn’t really do much for the story. At the end of five, you find out that Vader is Luke’s father, so that’s what you’re expecting to learn and the only thing you think you’re going to find out at the end of episode 3. It’s a huge surprise and very cool when you find out about the twins. Then it gets expanded on in episode six with Yoda’s reveal and Obi-wan’s explanation which is nice.
Not watching Episode 1 caused a little bit of confusion but not much. My boyfriend didn’t know who Qui-gon was when they mentioned him, and had somehow believed that Obi-wan had been trained by Yoda. I corrected him, but yeah, that was about it.
He liked the movies enough that he says he wants to go and watch Episode 1, which is fine. I don’t think it’s nearly the terrible movie others here do. It’s passable, and in light of how good the others are, it really stands out as the weakest link. That being said, if you really love the others, you shouldn’t just pretend episode 1 doesn’t exist. Of course, it has been years since I’ve seen it so maybe I will rethink that after watching it again.
He said that Anakin (specifically not Darth Vader) was actually his favorite character! I was surprised. I asked him which of his favorite movies was and he said Episode III was his favorite, but that he really liked them all.
So, essentially, I really really enjoyed the experience, and so did my boyfriend… and I think watching them all in machete order in a relatively short time is great for fans new and old.
Ok, and to end this post, I will cut and paste the little writing he did about the movies:
Pre Episode 4
I have no prior knowledge about Star Wars, other than the theme song and this white-looking robot. Oh, and the mask that everyone wears for Halloween. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE is shockingly surprised I haven’t seen this movie.
So the movie turned out to be amazing! Pretty slow at first, but towards the end there was so much action going on, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. This movie definitely lived up to my expectations. Can’t wait to see the next episode!
Wow, can’t believe Darth Vadar is Luke’s father. And of course he would turn his back on Yoda and try to rescue Han and Leia, only to find out later that it was a trap. Hope Luke doesn’t join the dark side like his father did.
After watching the movies in the order of 4, 5, and now 2, things kind of make sense. Kind of figured out that Darth Vader is Anakin, since Obi Wan was his master. So now that Anakin married Amadala, I wonder what will happen to her. I don’t remember seeing her in episode 4. Can’t wait to see what happens in the next episode and then in episode 6.
** Pre-Episode 6**
Wow! Everything all make sense now. And wth, Leia and Luke were twins! And then the two siblings kissed in episode 5…eww! But anyhow I’m interested to see what happens in episode 6.