Mark Hamill has weighed in on the great Star Wars viewing order debate. Since its humble beginnings in 1977, the franchise has grown exponentially over the past four decades and is now releasing movies on an annual basis under the Disney umbrella. To date, there are nine live-action installments in the series with several more still to come. As of this writing, we're only two months away from the theatrical premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Episode IX follows shortly after.
With several films that explore various points in the timeline, every fan has their own preferred method when they sit down to marathon the movies. One way is to start with The Phantom Menace and work your way through the different eras of galactic history from the very beginning of the story. The "Machete Order" (which excludes Episode I and jumps between the originals and prequels) is also a popular option for viewers. In Hamill's mind, though, the best way to do it is to start with the movie that started it all.
Speaking with Collider, Hamill was asked which viewing order he likes. The actor is a little inconclusive in his response, but he seems to be a fan of starting with A New Hope and working your way from there.
"I always think ... the way they were chronologically released. Now, I may be wrong, because if you're starting out fresh, you probably go: one, two, three, four, five, six ... uh, Rogue One? It's hard, I mean, wait a second. Rouge One comes before four! Yeah, so you go: one, two, three, Rogue One, four, five, six, seven, eight ... I'm guessing."
The "right" Star Wars viewing order isn't easy to recommend, but Hamill might be on to something. Especially if one is a newcomer to the franchise, leading with Episode IV would be smart. Because George Lucas wrote and directed that movie as a standalone, it's the perfect gateway into the galaxy far, far away, containing all the necessary exposition novices need to understand the lore and mythology. Though it technically is the saga's first episode, Phantom Menace relies somewhat on the audience having prior knowledge of the series (there's no scene where Qui-Gon sits down with Anakin to explain what a lightsaber is). Luke Skywalker was an ideal fish-out-of-water character to help guide the audience through their first steps into a larger world, and then the others expand their understanding.
Of course, there's no right or wrong answer to this question, and it all depends on the individual's tastes. It'll be fascinating to see how this conversation evolves when Lucasfilm moves beyond the Skywalker saga and makes way for Rian Johnson's new trilogy and David Benioff & D.B. Weiss' series of films. Since those will be separate narratives disconnected from what we already know, the viewing order debate might be exclusive to the Skywalker story. In all likelihood, next decade's movies will release in terms of narrative chronology instead of jumping around from era to era.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019