Mar. 20 | Fr. Dan's Film Recommendation
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It has been suggested to me that I do some movie reviews on Fridays, as we are all probably going to be stuck indoors for a while. I thought I would start with my favorite series of movies, The Star Wars saga.
There has been much debate on what is the best order in which to watch them. Over the years I have done the main two suggestions, watch the films, 1.) in chronological order: How the events happened in the Star Wars universe, episodes 1-9; or 2.) in the order in which they were released theatrically, episodes 4-6, 1-3, and 7-9.
I have a third suggestion on how to watch Star Wars according to the pertinent information each movie contains in regards to the rest of the saga. Let me give you the order in which I would watch them. *SPOILERS TO FOLLOW:
A New Hope (1977): It’s the only Star Wars film that treats viewers as if they’ve never watched the saga before. So, start with Luke meeting Obi-Wan, getting a lightsaber, and learning about the Force and Darth Vader before he heads off to save Princess Leia and destroy the Death Star.
Rogue One (2016): Yes, it ends where A New Hope begins, but because it's so reliant on you knowing A New Hope already, it’s best to watch them in reverse.
The Empire Strikes Back (1980): Empire Strikes Back is widely regarded as one of the greatest sequels of all time (I might vote for Godfather II). It all culminates in a showdown between Vader and Luke and ends with a twist.
The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002) & Revenge of the Sith (2005): And, just like that, we go from some of the most beloved installments of all time (4 & 5) to the most loathed (1-3). The prequel trilogy shows Anakin Skywalker’s heart turn from good to evil. We go on an emotional rollercoaster with Anakin, from his relationship with his eventual wife Padme, her pregnancy, all the way to Anakin being lured to the Dark Side of the Force. Anakin’s choices lead to the destruction of the Republic and the murder of many Jedi at the hand of Darth Vader. If I could skip these three movies without losing the context of the overall story, I would, but sadly you can’t. You need to learn how Darth Vader became so EVIL. Just watch them, so you can get back to the good stuff.
Solo (2018): The origin story of the coolest guy in the Star Wars Universe, Han Solo, is a bit over-packed with unnecessary backstory, but it’s an entertaining heist film that gives us information about the most important ship in the galaxy, the Millenium Falcon.
Return of the Jedi (1983): I was 7 years old when ROTJ came out, so it has a sentimental place in my heart as the first one I remember watching in the theatre, and not just on 8mm film at home. Now that we’ve learned Darth Vader’s background from episodes 1-3, it’s time to watch him sort of redeem himself with all that knowledge in hand. Also, there are teddy bears (Ewoks) with stone-age technology that help destroy the Empire. I used to love them, now I hate them.
Optional: The Mandalorian (2019): This is the first live-action Star Wars TV series on Disney+. It follows The Mandalorian, a gun-fighter and bounty hunter, five years after the events of Return of the Jedi. Though not a Star Wars film, it was a fun little jaunt through a different part of the Star Was galaxy (just 8 episodes) and we get to meet “baby Yoda.”
The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017), The Rise of Skywalker (2019): As an Adult, I continue to love the Star Wars Saga, and the final three sequels (episodes 7-9) are a wonderful continuation of what I like to call “How the problems of one dysfunctional Family (the Skywalkers) has changed the whole known Universe." With a group of brand new heroes and villains interacting with the heroes of my youth, one continues to be transported to a Galaxy Far, Far, Away.
I hope you find some enjoyment in the coming weeks and months flying through the Galaxy with Luke, Han, Leia, Rey, Poe, Finn and all the droids. One final thing I have learned from watching all the Star Wars films, no matter the order—Luke Skywalker has always been kind of whiny!
May the Force be with You,