Star Wars Saga Viewing Order

When the first Star Wars film came out in 1977, George Lucas said there were nine chapters in all -and hinted there would be nine films. As the other movies arrived, it became apparent that he was making them up as he went along. After Revenge of the Sith, Lucas said there would be no more Star Wars films. So how should the existing films be presented to young people who didn't grow up seeing them in theaters? You could see them in the order in which they were released, or watch the three prequels first to stay in the chronological order in which they occurred in the fantasy universe. But there's a better idea. Rod Hilton calls it Machete Order.
I recently discovered my college-aged brother-in-law’s girlfriend had never seen any Star Wars films and wanted to watch them all over winter break. Armed with the new Blu-Rays, we all went about watching them, and I showed them in Machete Order. It actually works even better than I originally anticipated – it’s almost as if this is somehow the intented order. There’s a great pattern here, taking the viewer on a series of emotional ups and downs. IV ends with a victory that seems to have some sinister undertones, then V is dark and unresolved, II ends with victory with sinister undertones, then III is dark and unresolved again. It works incredibly well, and when III ended everyone demanded we immediately watch VI to see how everything gets resolved.

Read about the reasoning behind this idea. Link -via Metafilter

See also: When to Introduce Star Wars to Your Young

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But when are you supposed to watch Episode I?

Sure, in Ep I Jar-Jar is a silly, stupid, addition, but in Ep II he plays a crucial role as a trusted advisor to Senator Amidala, easily duped by Palpatine into making the critical vote setting in motion the rest of the series. Ep I explains why Amidala trusts Jar-Jar, despite how stupid he is.
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"I asked her if she found Jar-Jar annoying and
she asked “who?” – Mission accomplished."

Okay, I can believe that perhaps leaving out Episode I and slightly re -ordering the rest might make for a better viewing experience. But it does steal from the girlfriend the shared torment of that horrible Jar-Jar and the endlessness of pod racing. Sometimes a movie will have a long and pointless action sequence and it's easy to explain the annoyance by saying, "Batman pod-races Raz Alghoul".

Similar story for Jar-Jar, though you can add in the Jakovosaurs episode of South Park and explain that Jar-Jar was like Jakov, just without any redeeming qualities. And meant completely seriously.
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