Whenever I mentioned that I planned to introduce my son to Star Wars, inevitably I would be asked what order I am showing. The average person, in other words- someone not a die-hard Star Wars fan, might find that question a little odd. After all, don’t you show movies from beginning to end?
At least not always for Star Wars.
Here’s the deal to those not in the know: Star Wars was first released in 1977 with episode 4, A New Hope. That’s right, it started with episode 4. That movie became a sensation. It ignited a culture. Then came The Empire Strikes Back, or episode 5, arguably the best movie in the franchise. The (at the time) trilogy closed with Return of the Jedi, with the allusion that there were originally 9 episodes in the series that George Lucas wrote.
Personally, I have no idea whether that was true or not, but suffice to say, there were at least 3 prequels considering that the saga started with #4.
Fast forward 16 years later and episode 1, the Phantom Menace was released. Then 2, then 3.
Then go another 10 years after the prequels and they continue the story with episode 7, The Force Awakens.
Yes, they jumped all over the f#@king place.
Now, as someone born in the 1970’s or early 1980’s, Star Wars meant episodes 4, 5, and 6. Period. End of discussion. While the latter prequels were celebrated at their initial announcements, they’ve become something of a joke. Kindof like X-men 3. Something that people would rather assume never happened. For me, I enjoyed them for what they were. And for me, they didn’t ruin the original 3 movies, even if I let them stand along with. X-men 3 however was complete garbage. No wait… that’s still complimenting it…
Even episode 7 gets some a lot of flak given the numerous repeated plot points from episode 4. But we all knew Disney needed to lob the first movie in. Something easy. We all wait with baited breath for what episode 8 brings to the table.
Again, I liked it and thought it was fine.
Maybe I am just too easy to please. And I get a lot of crap from my more die-hard Star Wars friends about this too.
Back to the topic at hand: which order do I show my son?
Here’s the choices:
- Straight through: starting at episode 1 and going one by one to episode 7.
- Start at episode 4 (like we old folk remember), go through to 6, then back to the prequels, then to 7.
- Ignore the prequels altogether and just go from 4 onward.
- Light the whole thing on fire
Before anyone gets their panties in any more of a bunch, here’s the deal. Star Wars is terrible. And I love every little bit of it. It’s a poorly written fairy tale set in outer space. It’s escapism at its finest. What we love about the “original” trilogy is the feeling it gave us when we first saw them. It was wonderful. It was breathtaking. Nothing like it existed at the initial release. Even by today’s standards there is still a lot to praise about it as a sci-fi movie franchise. But look at them. They were poorly written. Better than the prequels? Sure. But Star Wars will never be in the running for a Pulitzer prize. Or any other literary award. And yet it still captivates us.
It captures our imaginations in ways many other movies fail to, even with all of its flaws.
So how will I introduce it to my son? Well, I started and am going right in order, starting with episode 1.
One thing we all have to remember, my son was born in the 2000’s, not the 1970’s. Already the quality of what is in movies and television is beyond what existed in my childhood. He just won’t respond to Star Wars the same way I did. Why would I think that I can show it to him in the same way and expect a similar reaction? I just can’t. He doesn’t respond the same way to a lot of things my wife and I are sure he’ll react to. Star Wars would be no different.
Call me a fake fan. Call me a non-believer. Say that I am doing it wrong.
All I can say is that my son likes it. I cannot be happier about that. And sharing something with him is all that I care about.