Google Something Clever 2.0: The "Star Wars" Experiment: Prologue

Mar 1, 2013

The "Star Wars" Experiment: Prologue


Have you ever met one of those people who hasn’t seen anything? You bring up a movie that everyone and their mother has seen 80 times, and they just shrug? We have a cousin in her early twenties who is one of those people. Sometimes, she’ll come over on a Friday night so we can educate her in the ways of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” or Quentin Tarantino’s catalog. We recently showed her “Kill Bill: Volume 1,” and last Friday she came over to watch Volume 2.

The plan changed.

Before we started the movie, I was in the other room, and she mentioned to my husband that she doesn’t really remember much about “Star Wars” Episodes IV and V, and she’s never even seen I, II, III or VI! How does that happen?? We immediately set out to rectify this gross injustice.

Here’s the best part: as soon as my husband and I started talking about breeding, the subject of “Star Wars” came up. At what age should we show them to our future children? And in what order? We consulted my cousin who introduced me to “Star Wars,” and has three children of his own. He recommended age five or six (we’re going with five, because all three of us are very impatient). As for the order… We talked to a lot of people about it. We did a lot of research. It turns out that there are many (strong) differing opinions.

George Lucas recommends showing them in numerical/chronological order. That was his “original vision” and all that. But if a kid watches Episodes I-III, and is then presented with IV, with its crummy 70’s special effects (I know, I know, they were amazingly advanced for the 70’s, but still) will they be turned off? And even if you’re not in the “new episodes suck” camp, you have to admit that they’re not as good as the old ones. What if your kid hates Episode II so much that they refuse to watch any more, and they never even get to the old ones? (If you don't think that could happen, check out these reviews from nine- and ten-year-olds complaining about all the mushy love scenes in Episode II. They're adorable.)

Okay, so show them the way we saw them. IV-VI, then I-III. Except… Remember how disappointed you were with the new ones not living up to the originals? You were pissed. And you were in your teens, twenties or thirties. Imagine how a small child would handle that disappointment.

Enter the Machete Order. This guy has it all figured out. Machete Order is as follows: IV, V, II, III, VI.  That’s right, you don’t need Episode I at all. Anything that you need to know from Episode I gets mentioned in Episode II. No little Ani. No pod races. No boring crap about senates and trade agreements. And practically no Jar Jar Binks! The only down side is that there’s also no Darth Maul if you cut out Episode I, and kids really like him because he looks cool. But he’s barely in the movie, anyway. And they can always watch it later, if they want.

You really need to read the original post where the Maker explains it (see what I did there?), but it’s very long, and you may be almost done on the toilet by now, so if you want to bookmark it for later, I’ll summarize it here: You start out the same. Luke meets all his wacky new friends. Gets involved in the whole rebellion and all that. Then Darth Vader makes the big reveal (which, P.S., would have been spoiled if you watched them chronologically). So at this point, the viewer is all, “Whaaaaaat? Is that true?” Flash back twenty years for… Anakin turning into Vader, and Luke and Leia’s birth. See? That’s how he got that way! You also get the added bonus of learning that Leia is Luke’s sister before he does. Remember, she was born second, so it really presents it nicely.  Way better than someone just mentioning it to Luke. Then we go back and end the series with Episode VI (and now Hayden Christianson’s ghost makes sense at the end- it wouldn’t if you viewed it in release order).

Now, our cousin has been living on Planet Earth for the last twenty-odd years, so I’m pretty sure that she already knows who’s related to Luke at this point… Not that I’m going to risk spoiling it to confirm with her. But even so, having her to “practice on” a year before showing the movies to our son is pretty convenient. And it’s also fun to watch. I bet it will be fun to read about. So, for the next six weeks, I’ll be posting about her journey into “Star Wars” every Friday, so you can giggle at her child-like wonder, and also see how Machete Order works out for us. And then, starting in February 2014, I’ll post a series of my son watching them for the first time.

I’m going to link you one more time to the explanation of Machete order, because I really want you to read it. I left out a lot for the sake of brevity (and look how well that worked out), but what I left out was some really interesting shit. Please go there now.