I’ve had this discussion with friends plenty of times: In what viewing order should a virgin to the “Star Wars” saga watch the movies? There are several ways to look at this:
3. In “storyteller” order, which goes: episodes four and five, then one through three, and ending with six.
My personal favorite and one I always suggest is No. 3. Reason is, it gives a very smooth and bearable viewing order to a lengthy saga, with the break to the prequels serving as somewhat of a flashback.
Well, earlier today a friend and I were discussing this yet again when I came across this blog from the Twittersphere. Writer Rod Hilton suggests a slight change to the viewing order in No. 3 — by omitting “Episode I” altogether.
Say what now?
Hilton’s blog post is passionate and, because of that, quite long. It almost reaches tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) territory, but, hey, it’s Star Wars, so it’s worth reading.
But basically his reasoning is this:
- Virtually no Jar-Jar. Jar-Jar has about 5 lines in Episode II, and zero in Episode III.
- No midichlorians. There is only one reference to midichlorians after Episode I, and in the context it appears to mean something as benign as “DNA.”
- No Jake Lloyd. Sorry Jake, your acting is terrible and I never really wanted to see Darth Vader as a little boy.
- No confusing Padme/Queen switcheroo. The whole subplot with Padme and her decoy makes absolutely no sense. It’s clear that this was just so people could interact with Padme without knowing she was the Queen, but it’s incredibly convoluted and pointless.
- Less confusing master/apprentice relationships. Darth Sidious is training Count Dooku, Obi-Wan is training Anakin. No other trainer/trainee relationships exist to confuse the backstory. Fewer characters to learn about, so the story is more focused.
- Nothing about trade disputes. The “problem” as of Episode II is that a group of systems want to leave the Republic. This is much easier to understand for a kid than trade disputes.
- No pod racing. Seriously, who gives a shit? An action sequence for the sake of an action sequence and it goes on forever. A huge number of plot holes surrounding gambling and the subsequent freeing of Anakin are removed as well.
- No virgin birth. We simply don’t know or care who Anakin’s father is, and the subtle implication that it’s Palpatine is gone.
I gotta admit: It makes sense, and, really, “Episode I” isn’t necessary viewing.
Sure, we miss some great action sequences and a cool Sith Lord by the name of Darth Maul. And you miss out on Qui-Gon Jinn. But, the movie is pretty damn bad, and doesn’t do much for the saga in the great scheme of things. Hilton’s argument about midichlorians is also dead on.
I don’t think I’ll begin changing my suggested viewing order, simply because I think every “Star Wars” movie is worth watching at least once. Even the bad ones. Still, Hilton provides a fun read, even if it is a bit long, so check it out.