American actor Mark Hamill on the set of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope written, directed and produced by Georges Lucas. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
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The Star Wars Machete Viewing Order Explained
The “Star Wars” Machete Order was created by blogger Rod Hilton in 2011 and arranged the films in the best order for a new viewer of “Star Wars” to understand.
Hilton’s Machete Order arranges the films as such: IV, V, II, III, VI. Hilton excluded “The Phantom Menace” entirely, as he claims it is irrelevant to the larger narrative.
The Machete Order has an advantage over chronological order, as the prequels spoil certain events from the original trilogy, most notably Vader being Luke’s father.
In addition, the prequels tend to dump a lot of information on the viewer, which will bore them if they aren’t already somewhat familiar with and invested in “Star Wars.”
Watching the films in release order (IV, V, VI, I, II, III) creates tonal whiplash since VI neatly concludes the narrative but is only the third movie in the order.
In addition, George Lucas’ special editions of the original trilogy have added tie-ins with the prequels, and these will not make sense if the original trilogy comes first.
The idea behind the Machete Order is to imagine II and III as long flashback sequences that give you background information before watching the final film, VI.
While the original Machete order was made before the sequel trilogy, these films can easily be added to the end, as they are best appreciated with prior knowledge of “Star Wars.”
In addition, we can add the first movie back into the updated Machete Order, as Hilton’s argument that it is irrelevant doesn’t entirely stand up.
This makes the final updated Machete order IV, V, I, II, III, VI, VII, VIII, IX. The spinoff films are best left out of the mix since they draw from all parts of the timeline.