As Ewan McGregor makes his way onto Disney Plus, we’ve compiled a list of questions that can be answered by watching the original Machete Order trilogies.
The new Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries, premiering on Disney Plus on Friday, will serve as a link between the prequels and the original Star Wars trilogy. As a result, now is the ideal time to revisit the original Star Wars films. The entire Star Wars saga is now more accessible than ever before, thanks to Disney Plus and on-demand rentals and purchases. The original trilogy is the best, but if you watch them in the order in which they were made, you’ll miss out on the best parts. First-time viewers will, however, miss out on a major plot point that is hinted at in the prequel trilogy. A Star Wars fanatic named Rod Hilton comes to the rescue. One longtime devotee came up with a novel way to preserve the twist and best parts of a film by watching it in a different order a while back. In honor of his blog, he called his approach the Machete Order. Star Wars is a story about Luke Skywalker, and the prequels are only relevant in the context of Luke’s journey, Hilton argues.
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As a result, he recommends the following order for viewing:
- Episode IV: A New Hope
- Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Got it? Luke’s journey begins with a cliffhanger at the halfway point, and we flashback to see what led up to the big reveal in the prequels.
Finale: Luke returns for the big showdown. That sets the stage perfectly for The Force Awakens, which begins some 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi. It’s possible you noticed a glaring omission. No, the Machete Order does not care about the Phantom Menace in any way whatsoever. This is due to the fact that the Phantom Menace is surprisingly self-contained and does not add to the overall story. In addition, it’s a mess. Is the Machete Order effective? There are hints in CNET colleague Jeff Sparkman’s Guide to May the Fourth that he prefers it, too, as it was Donald Bell’s top pick out of five possible viewing orders. But I wanted to see it for myself, so I went to the store. In order to do my job as a brave investigative journalist, I had to clear my schedule, set my WhatsApp status to “busy,” and commit to watching all five movies in the order above. Here are some things I’ve learned:
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The Galaxy Was Pretty Horrible Even Before The Empire
Even before the evil Empire comes to power, the galaxy in which they live is a desolate place. The prequels make it clear that greed was a powerful force in the galaxy, as evidenced by the avaricious Hutts and the avaricious Trade Federation. Slavery exists as well, and the Jedi don’t seem to mind it at all.
Darth Maul’s Life Is Worth More Than Jar Jar’s.
There were many complaints about The Phantom Menace’s use of Jar Jar Binks, its CGI sidekick, because of the amount of time he spent on screen. Thanks to his sparse appearances in the other two prequels, removing Menace mostly eliminated Jar Jar and his tedious political subplots, as well as the cringe-inducing portrayal of Anakin Skywalker as a moppet with a floppy hairstyle. Cut Darth Maul as well, it’s a shame. After I finished the Machete Order, I decided to watch Phantom Menace separately for the sake of accuracy, and the fact that I fell asleep about halfway through shows you haven’t missed anything.
Most Likely, There’s No Reason For You To Watch The Prequels At All.
Because it’s so depressing, Revenge of the Sith is the best of the prequels. Intense, bloodthirsty action ensues, and it’s immensely satisfying to watch Anakin embrace the dark side as he lightsabers his way through the entire cast. Because of this, I recommend pressing the Stop button as soon as you hear that distinctive hiss. The Phantom Menace was already thrown out, so why not throw out Attack of the Clones as well? In terms of the story, Clones is responsible for a great deal of the heavy lifting, but if you’re willing to overlook its origins, you could easily do away with it as well. You don’t really need Revenge of the Sith either, but that’s just me.
After All, You May Need To Watch The Phantom Menace.
It’s worth noting that the first time we see a young Skywalker on Tatooine is in The Phantom Menace, which serves as a teaser for Obi-Wan Kenobi’s scenes. Anakin and Luke, who were both orphaned in the desert and dreamed of becoming pilots, will be compared in the series.
There Was A Missed Opportunity With The Prequels.
To save time, I’m going to focus on the main issue I have with the prequels instead. After a lot of time and effort, they gloss over a lot of things that we already know about from the original movies. As an example, who is the evil Sith? What is Darth Maul referring to when he says, “At long last, we will have revenge?” What drives Palpatine to such a level of heinousness? I’m sure these and many other questions are answered in the countless books, comics, and other no longer canonical Expanded Universe stories that surround the films, but for me, the greatest failing of the prequels is that they don’t take the opportunity to add new information to enhance our viewing of the classic trilogy.
In Spite Of This, They Are Still Relevant Today In Every Way Possible.
Prequel’s political subplot is hard to get excited about, but once you get rid of Phantom Menace the evil scheme becomes surprisingly relevant to our world. A politician in the prequels manipulates an external threat in order to lead society into war, reducing freedom while asserting that the new totalitarian regime ensures the very freedoms they claim to be securing. Does this elicit any thoughts in you?
The Empire Didn’t Design The Death Star
The Death Star is the embodiment of the Empire’s hate-filled, unnatural ideology, capable of wiping out an entire planet with a single obscene technological stroke. But in Attack of the Clones, it appears that the Geonosians, a group of random CGI aliens, came up with the idea, implying that Palpatine was hoping to get his hands on the blueprints as part of the scheme.
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It’s A Joy To Watch Star Wars Because It’s Utterly Absurd.
Which business strategy is used by the Jawas? In the desert, are there really so many droids that have gone missing In order to grow so large, what do asteroid monsters and Sarlacc devour? Do the Ewoks own a logging company, given that they have a lot of timber on their hands? Princess Leia’s British accent is only heard in one scene and only one scene. When an alien says something incomprehensible, the human actor responds in English, why do I still find this gag hilarious?
Puppets Are Wonderful.
Original 1970s and 1980s films have, in my opinion, remained more relevant than their 1990s and 2000 prequels. The visual effects in both sets of films are distinct, with the originals using puppetry and model work, and the prequels using computer-generated imagery. The originals aren’t perfect, but the distinctive jerkiness of the classic effects comes with a physicality that makes them feel very real. The CGI sheen of the prequels, on the other hand, is abysmal in comparison. Prequels use so much computer-generated imagery (CGI) to create even the simplest of sets that you may not believe the characters you’re seeing are actually in a real room.
Yoda’s character has evolved since the events of Return of the Jedi. Although he may appear to move a little stiffly in the originals, it becomes part of his character. His appearance in the prequels is cartoonish. Take a look at the Stormtroopers, as well. There is an army of faceless soldiers in the originals. When it comes to prequels, they’re just non-playable characters in video games. When Obi-Wan boards the starship seen in the opening moments of A New Hope near the end of Revenge of the Sith, it’s one of the most shocking moments in the film. This is the first time, after two films’ worth of CGI sets, that we’re actually on a real set.
C-3po Is A Fantastic Character.
As a child, I didn’t pay much attention to C-3PO, but as an adult, I found him hysterical. Do not call me an unintelligent philosophizer, you fat glob of grease! In light of this, let me mention…
R2-d2 Is Everything
Seriously. The plucky R2-D2 is a bin on legs, but he’s one of the most relatable characters in movie history, saving the day time and time again.
Possible That The Millennium Falcon Is Still Alive
When it comes to droids with personalities, C-3PO is sent to the Millennium Falcon, a spaceship, to figure out what’s wrong with it in Empire Strikes Back. When asked about the ship’s strange dialect, C-3PO replied, “I have no idea where your ship picked up its communication skills from.” Could robots and spacecraft be a part of the Force as well? Perhaps in a galaxy where the Force is present, there is no distinction between inanimate technology and natural life as there is in ours. Droids are cowards, and General Grievous has a cough.
That’s what I’m going with, anyway. The ability to evaluate fan theories like the idea that everyone in the Star Wars universe is illiterate or that Jar Jar Binks is the real evil mastermind behind everything that happens can only be gained by rewatching the movies.
The Special Editions Aren’t All That Special.
Special Edition releases from 1997 were used as a basis for the digital remasters, which added deleted scenes and new special effects. Some of the new CGI effects in Return of the Jedi stick out like a sore thumb, most egregiously the musical sequence crammed into the opening. The intergalactic celebrations at the end of Jedi, as seen by the Machete Order, do connect the final film to the prequels.
Everything Revolves Around The Characters.
Fantastic special effects are fun, but they can’t compete with well-written characters. Because we care who wins, we don’t care as much about the visually less impressive but still heart-stopping battle between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi in Attack of the Clones as we do about the Jedi wading into an army of robots with lightsabers flashing.
People were anticipating their return in Star Wars: The Force Awakens because of the star power of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill. All of the actors, from Anthony Daniels to Peter Cushing to Alec Guinness to Ian McDiarmid to James Earl Jones, do an outstanding job as the show’s narrators. The prequels’ casting is also a major factor in their favor. Alec Guinness as a younger Ewan McGregor? Is that Samuel L. Jackson as a Jedi? As the villain, Christopher Lee? Please, yes. The Phantom Menace stars Brian Blessed, Liam Neeson, and Terence Stamp are not included in this list. Sadly, the majority of them are a complete waste of time. Jackson and Lee are barely in the picture at all. Acting on a green screen is a challenge, but Obi-odd Wan’s decision to be made a comic character in the 2022 miniseries will change that.
Hey, That’s Jonny Briggs’ Dad
It’s not just the big names that get the best casting. Cliff from Cheers is a well-known rebel pilot in the United States. Viewers outside of the United Kingdom, on the other hand, have the opportunity to catch a glimpse at numerous British actors, many of whom are dressed in Imperial uniforms, with impressive sideburns to match their hairdos. A few of the “I know that guy!” faces include those of Julian Glover, Michael Sheard, and Leslie Schofield, all of whom appeared in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Jonny Briggs, respectively. However, Barrie Holland is my favorite. Although he’s an unknown actor whose roles are all listed on IMDB as “uncredited,” his delivery of the immortal line “You rebel scum!” during the end credits of Return of the Jedi is reason enough to applaud his performance. Elstree 1976 is a wonderful documentary that tells the fascinating stories of many of the extras and minor characters.
As They Went Along, They Were Making Things Up.
George Lucas may claim to have had a long-term strategy, but it’s clear that he improvised a lot of it. The Empire rising up in like 20 years during which time Obi-Wan becomes an old man, Han’s skepticism of the Force when he was clearly alive when the Jedi were still around, Luke and Leia kissing in the most obvious places ever… the list goes on and on. The Empire rises up in like 20 years during which time Obi-Wan becomes old. And don’t worry, it’s fine! Because…
It’s A Masterpiece.
It’s the truth. Despite the fact that I hadn’t seen the films in many years, I had accumulated a great deal of emotional and mental baggage as a result of my love for Star Wars. In the recontextualized Machete Order, I was able to enjoy them in a way I hadn’t before, and remember all the things that I and so many others love about the series.
It’s been a blast re-discovering the Star Wars universe. The Force has been reawakened for this fan.