First of all, I would like to claim no ownership of the invention of the ‘Machete Order’ of watching the Star Wars movies, that goes to the writer of this (Admittedly lengthy) blog post regarding how this order of watching this popular series of movies goes. I recommend you read it.
Now, I stumbled upon this article, read all the way through it, and found myself agreeing with much of what was said.
Again, I recommend you read the article for a much more in depth explanation, but I’ll put down the gist and what I took away from it.
I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan, but I know more than I care to admit about a certain galaxy far far away than many people, which I don’t know is a good or bad thing. I’ve often thought about watching the entire set of movies in a ‘marathon’ (Probably with friends) but the daunting prospect of watching 15 hours of Star Wars ignites the flight reflex in me.
Some time ago, years but I cant place a date, I heard about watching Star Wars in the ‘Ernest Rister order’. This basically means watching them in the following order:
Episode IV: A New Hope
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
As I said, this order is known as the ‘Ernest Rister order’, but “who is Ernest Rister?” I hear you ask and “Why should I care about what he says?”.
Well, from what I can tell, Ernest Rister appears to be a surprisingly insightful reviewer of films and animated movies.
I have not been able to find any permanent home (website) for his various musings apart from sporadic forum posts on the IGN Boards, Home Theatre Forums and Blu-Ray Forums.
He is apparently an animation historian, but I have found little reference to him aside from this title.
Get to the Point!
So what is this ‘Machete order’ of watching the Star Wars series? Its essentially watching it as above, without Episode 1.
By the way, I surprised myself by being able to recite the names of each Star Wars movie, except the first, which I could not recall and had to look up.
After reading the article which caused me to write this, I think this reinforces the idea that Episode 1 really isn’t that good a movie when compared to the rest of the series.
Anyway, contrary to the ‘Rister order’ of 4-5-1-2-3-6, the ‘Machete order’ instructs that you watch the movies in the order of 4-5-2-3-6.
Point for anyone that noticed that Episode 1 is not present in the list. There appears to be good reasons for this, again detailed on his blog.
The basic idea of this being that Episode 1 provides very little to help the understanding of the Star Wars narrative, and is rarely referenced by the other movies in the series.
I actually find myself agreeing with this. The characters and events in the first movie have very very little to do with the rest of Star Wars’ narrative arc.
To this end, I will be re-watching the Star Wars saga, at some point in the near future, in this order and would like to find out if this really works.