Few debates are as polarizing as the proper order to watch the Star Wars saga. Some believe the best way to watch the films is in numerical order, while others believe that release order is the best. I believe neither of these are the best way to watch. Let me explain.
Numerical Order - I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX
Numerical order, or chronological order, seems to be the most popular and accepted order to view the Saga. Many people - including George Lucas himself - believe this is the best order. In numerical order, we start with Episode I: The Phantom Menace and end with Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. This method seems like it makes the most sense simply because this is how the movies are ordered, however, Episode I is widely regarded as one of the worst entries in the Saga and even as a die hard fan, I found it rather off-putting. On that same line, Episodes II and III (Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith) are not much better, if at all. Watching in numerical order also ruins the twist ending of Episode VI: The Empire Strikes Back wherein a secret is revealed about the ties between Darth Vader and Luke. Even though this is the way George would want the films watched, I cannot get on board with this due to the fact that it leads off with the 3 worst movies in the Saga and also ruins a HUGE reveal in a movie that would be watched later.
Release Order - IV, V, VI, I, II, III, VII, VIII, IX
In release order, we watch the films in the order they were released. This is how millions of people, including myself, watched for the first time. In release order, we start with original trilogy, Episodes IV, V and VI, then shift to the prequel with Episodes I, II and III, then end with the sequel with Episodes VII, VIII and IX. Starting with Episode IV: A New Hope provides a steady and easy to follow introduction to Luke Skywalker and his companions - as well as the best, most enjoyable way to start the Saga. The problem I have with this order, is that when we finish the prequels and move to the sequels, they feel disconnected and drawing a line from one to the other doesn't feel natural. For that reason... I'm out. The nostalgia of watching these films in release order is not quite enough to make up for the disconnect of going straight from the prequel to the sequel. Lucky for us, the next order addresses this issue.
Best Order - IV, V, I, II, III, VI, VII, VIII, IX
This order takes everything wrong with numerical and release orders and throws them out the window. May I present to you the best order in which to watch the Star Wars Saga. This order starts with the first 2 original trilogy episodes - as I said before, Episode IV is the best way to start. Episode IV leads seamlessly into Episode V - giving us the full shock value of the twist ending. We then get to go back in time to see how everything we've seen came to be, before returning to the original trilogy with Episode VI armed with all the history to go along with what we see during the epic finale. Episode VI leads us perfectly into the sequels which should be watched in order. If you have not tried this order yet, I would encourage you to do so as it yields the most enjoyable and easy to follow experience.
What is your favorite order to watch the Saga? Let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree with my pick and why. Also let me know if you try my recommended order and what you think.