Release Order or Story Order – How Do You Watch the ‘Star Wars’ Saga?
The day has finally come for all of you Star Wars fans holding out for the physical release…The Rise of Skywalker is out on 4k and Blu-ray today!
Now that your shaking hands are holding the cases to all the films, I thought it would be fun to talk about which way you plan on watching the complete Star Wars Skywalker saga. There is no right or wrong way, no right or wrong answer. Whether you watch all the live-action films in release order, story order, add The Clone Wars, or even omit a film or two, or six, join the discussion. We want to know how YOU enjoy watching Star Wars!
Our planet is experiencing an unprecedented time of fear and uncertainty with the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus. There is no doubt that in doing your Earthly duty of social distancing you will have a lot of free time on your hands. Sure, there may be plenty of chores and home projects to do, but there is also plenty of time to binge watch all your favorite cinematic universes and TV shows.
I, myself, have been running through the Star Wars films the last two days in anticipation of the physical release today. Historically, I’ve always received my pre-ordered 4k Blu-rays the weekend before the physical release, but with everything going on, I can understand.
Star Wars fans are the most passionate fans in the world. The way each one of us experience the films is unique and deeply personal. That is both a gift and a curse as expectations of how the story should play out in our own minds is often not met. Now, I am an unapologetic fan of all Star Wars films. I’m sorry, that’s just who I am. Don’t get me wrong, I have issues with certain aspects of many of the films, from wooden dialogue, to Leia flying through space, to wishing that the sequel trilogy had a fleshed out arc between the three films…but, I love them all and will never omit any of them when re-watching the saga.
That being said, I watch Star Wars in story order, the eleven live-action films only. No animated or TV shows. I do really enjoy The Mandalorian, The Clone Wars and Rebels, but separately and in a different light. I will explain my Star Wars story and why I watch them in this order after I list the films…now, I know I don’t have to tell you this but the order goes as follows:
- Episode I – The Phantom Menace
- Episode II – Attack of the Clones
- Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
- Solo – A Star Wars Story
- Rogue One – A Star Wars Story
- Episode IV – A New Hope
- Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
- Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
- Episode VII – The Force Awakens
- Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
- Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker
My love for Star Wars began at a very young age. My dad was a fan (still is), so my siblings and I all became big fans and in turn I made sure my daughter became a big fan. Growing up I remember watching our (taped off network TV) Star Wars VHS tapes. I loved the movies then but didn’t become obsessed until I was 15 years old in 1997 when my aunt took us to see A New Hope: Special Edition in theaters. I was completely blown away. This was my first experience seeing a Star Wars film in theaters and all of the new scenes were an amazing improvement. It was my equivalent to the older generation seeing Star Wars for the first time. After that I started following any news I could about Star Wars on the internet, which at that time was in its infancy. You can imagine how excited I was to find out Lucas was making Episode I.
Being born smack in between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, I grew up with the original trilogy but was still a kid when the special editions arrived and was only a junior in high-school when The Phantom Menace came out (still a kid). I got to experience the prequels with that wide-eyed, childlike wonder, and yet was still young enough to accept the changes to the originals as a positive. Anyone born around the same time can agree that we can call two trilogies “our Star Wars” from our childhood.
History repeated itself in 2003 with my daughter being born smack in between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Getting to pass on my love of Star Wars with her when she was little was a joy I cannot describe in words. By 2005 Star Wars was forever cemented in my entire being, and believing that my age is a huge factor, it’s a passion that will always accept new Star Wars with an open heart and mind, not angry and resentful.
In 2012 when news of Disney purchasing Lucasfilm hit, I became my 1997 self again and with shaking hands went online. The first site I found was StarWarsNewsNet, which became the site I went to for my Star Wars news. I enjoyed every movie that Lucasfilm released since the acquisition. It was new Star Wars and such an exciting time to be a fan. That Vader scene at the end of Rogue One was something I have waited 35 years to see. I was crying for goodness sake!
My fiancee and I hosted countdown parties in which a bunch of friends came over once a week to watch a Star Wars film starting at the exact number of weeks before the new film’s release date…starting with The Phantom Menace. I feel the originals have been polished up enough to smoothly watch the films in story order without being taken out of the fantasy because of the difference in age and effects. Have you seen the 4K versions of the films on Disney Plus? Unbelievable…the originals look even better!
Now, I know people who rigidly watch the films in release order. I totally understand that way of watching, but honestly, unless there is a person who (spoiler alert) doesn’t know that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father, in my mind, it just makes more sense to watch them in story order. With the addition of Solo and Rogue One (if you include them) the story jumps back and forth in time which can be confusing to someone you are introducing to Star Wars.
That’s my story…but I want to know yours. How do you watch Star Wars, and how did you come to love that galaxy far, far away? Stay safe, stay distant (for now), and may the Force be with you.
Bobby Long is a life-long fan of Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney and The Simpsons who spends much of his free time running through all his favorite films…again and again. He has a beautiful fiancee, a beautiful daughter, and two of the cutest doggies you’d ever seen. He is eternally grateful to MovieNewsNet for giving him the opportunity to write about his passion.