Like most people who are eagerly awaiting the next Star Wars movie, I began to prepare by watching all the older movies. Again, like most, I found it most rewarding when watching with close friends. This time though we had one group member who had never watched them. Most fans would gasp at the horror, me, on the other hand, was simply jealous. She gets to watch it in order and for the first time. Yes, I said order, and yes I meant chronological. Don’t get me wrong Empire is still king but Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi are close seconds. I know purist will turn in their graves because I placed ROS with ROJ, and call it blasphemy but really is it though?
Anger Leads to Hate
Fans of franchises are great, but somewhere and somehow became a virus, infecting minds with the notion that things must be a certain way. The truth is that it should be any way that a person enjoys. Going back to the friend who was watching… She viewed things very differently compared to when I first watched episodes 1-3. Having that background knowledge of what will happen takes away a lot from the trilogy. I suppose that’s why fans of the original trilogy don’t enjoy it. The twists and surprises don’t have an impact. For her, it was very different. She loved kid Anakin Skywalker and into episode 2 felt he had become creepy. She did hit it head-on though by declaring that Star Wars was essentially a love story. I agree with her, the first three movies are essentially a love story, and a tragic one too. His turn to the dark side caught her by surprise, but the end reveal of him being Darth Vader… That blew her away. And that’s the point. We were robbed of this. We always knew.
Watching it in this order does give you the surprises of who the Emperor was and the creation of Vader but it still robs you of the classic reveal of Darth Vader being Luke’s dad. I still prefer it this way as while the reveal does not have as much of an impact, you still have become emotionally attached to both Skywalkers; Anakin and Luke enough to feel it.
For me the story has always been about Ani, while that is pretty obvious in episodes one to three, it’s just simply less glaring in the second trilogy. See, Luke Skywalker may be the main protagonist and drives the story forward but it’s still all about Darth. New Hope was about destroying his Death Star, Empire reminds us that he is a Skywalker and Luke’s dad and in Return of the Jedi, we get to see the chosen one fulfill his destiny. Even in his death, his life into the last trilogy. Kylo Ren keeps him alive in a matter of speaking. And while Ren is entertaining as the new antagonist, he never has the charm as the original Mack Daddy. After all, Vader and Joker share the number one spot as the most recognized villains of all time.
There is something truly special about Star Wars, there aren’t many people in the world who don’t know about it. It has this uncanny ability to reach out across generations. It isn’t a perfect franchise, and there have been some low points but yet everyone who watches it finds something that they can identify with. And there is no right or wrong way to watch them. There is only your way. We all have our favorite episode and yes it healthy to debate about them. However, there should be a point where it ends. Personally I find it ironic that so much of hate revolves around a franchise that literally teaches us not to hate.
With all that said in mind, like you I look forward to this Friday when the final episode is let loose upon the world. How will it all end? Who are Rey’s parents? How did the Emperor return? Will any of the fallen Jedi return? All great questions. Hopefully, the pay off will be equally good. Watch for our review, and may the Force be with you…always.