Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Star Wars Watch Order Free-for-all

It all started when I was trying to figure out the best way to give my kids the optimal Star Wars viewing experience.

I favored a JJ Abrams-influenced flashback method. [Click the link to read my explanation.]

But then I had to start figuring out how to accommodate the new back-end Ray/Kilo Ren trilogy. And while I was at it, I needed to work in how to best harness the emotional wallop of Rogue One. So, I came up with this alternative suggestion. (Or really, I just described the problem and left the question unanswered.) [Click that link to read that post.]

But NOW . . . it's become increasingly impossible to figure out how to do this. As IP is driven by the demands of streaming services, the regulated lock-step march of storytelling that has ruled the mechanisms of sequel making of the past forty years is breaking down. I haven't seen Star Wars Ep. IX: The Rise of Skywalker (naturally), but I am at least confident that it will fall at the end of my watch list. Chronologically is a pretty safe bet here.

Beyond that? Dunno. . .

We've also got to account for Solo: A Star Wars Story. And within a few weeks, we will also need to account for the Disney + streaming series The Mandalorian.

And I've completely decided not to incorporate the animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels, or Star Wars: Resistance. (I haven't watched the third animated series yet . . . if I ever will.)

So, where you put Solo is up to you. In a chronological sense, it definitely goes prior to Ep. IV a New Hope and Rogue One--I think? But I don't favor straight chronology in my preferred watch order anyway . . . so I don't have to really worry that much about whether it runs somewhere within the chronology of Eps. I-III. (And I'm sure that it does, just based on a rough understanding of aging and character back-story. But I don't want to get into a Wikipedia rabbit hole right now.) And the larger point about Solo: A Star Wars Story is that it is pretty inessential in the grander scheme of the Star Wars emotional arc. I happened to enjoy the movie a lot, but it is more of an aperitif within the Lucas-verse rather than a critical beat in the story. So . . . watch it when you want? Use it as a palette cleanser after Attack of the Clones, to scrub the desert sand that Anakin hates so much out of your brain? Watch it somewhere halfway through Empire Strikes Back to give more depth to Han's growing feelings toward Leia? Or maybe interrupt Chewie's grief over the loss of Han to go back to where their relationship began? I don't have a great idea for you.

As for The Mandalorian? I don't have any clue at all or even where to begin. Because I haven't seen it. And so I don't know where it fits in the timeline. And I don't know who the characters are. And I don't know anything. Is it about Boba Fett? Is it about his great-grandchildren? Is it about the first settler of Mandalor? Is it actually about Greedo?

So I guess TBD on that one.

But I would really like some crowdsourcing help with this. Please reply in comments who YOU prefer to watch the Star Wars movies. Do you have a preferred order? Have you never thought about this before? Now that I've brought it up, what are your thoughts on the issue?

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