Watch Star Wars the Right Way

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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*That’s right, no Phantom Menace.

When it comes time to show your kids the Star Wars movies (start at 6 years old), you will face an existential conundrum: In what order should they be viewed? If you show them in the sequence they came out, they see the defeat of the Empire in Return of the Jedi … and then wade through all the prequel crap. Or should they absorb them in episode order, in which case they lose the reveal that Darth Vader is Luke’s father? A difficult problem, this is. How do you spotlight the stuff that makes Star Wars great while dodging narrative Sarlacc pits like Jar Jar Binks, the galaxy’s most alienating alien.

One option would be to hunt down fan remixes like The Phantom Edit, which streamlines The Phantom Menace, reducing Jar Jar to a puff of pixels, or The Editor Strikes Back, an 85-minute cut of all three prequels created by the actor Topher Grace. But let’s say you want to stick to the actual movies. We support the Machete Order, named for the blog that first proposed it: A New Hope (IV), The Empire Strikes Back (V), Attack of the Clones (II), Revenge of the Sith (III), Return of the Jedi (VI). Drop Phantom Menace (I) altogether: Every character in it vanishes, dies (Darth Maul, we hardly knew either half of ye), or is transformed in Attack of the Clones. The Vader reveal is preserved, his turn to the Dark Side becomes a flashback, and the series climax is still full of yub-nubby goodness. To ensure complete assimilation, parallel-track genuinely good extended-universe matter like Genndy Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars cartoon. It’s how Obi-Wan would have wanted it.

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