Now's The Best Time to Do A "Machete Order" Star Wars Marathon

IMAGE Lucasfilm

If you’re anything like us, then the impending release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is probably giving you anxious tremors right about now. We’re only days away from the premiere of Episode XIII, and we’re only barely able to contain our excitement. The only potent recourse, at this point, is a proper Star Wars marathon.

And by proper, we mean Machete Order: the generally-agreed-upon best way to watch the Star Wars saga. Originally put forward by tech writer and Star Wars superfan Rod Hilton in a post on his blog, No Machete Juggling, Machete Order recommends watching the Star Wars movies in this order: Episode 4, 5, 2, 3, 6.

The reasoning behind this order is for continuity in the story of Luke Skywalker. A New Hope introduces us to Luke at the start of his journey, and The Empire Strikes Back continues his story. Then, Attack of The Clones and Revenge of The Sith serve as a flashback of sorts, giving weight to the relationship of Luke and Darth Vader by showing the fall of Anakin Skywalker (a story that was only briefly mentioned in Episodes 4 and 5). Then, this eventually makes for a much more impactful climax in Return of The Jedi.

So where does the new trilogy fit in with all of this? In a blog post before the release of The Force Awakens, Hilton himself suggests watching the new trilogy in numerical order, right after Machete Order. It should be seen as an epilogue: the transition to a completely new chapter of Star Wars. So it’s 4, 5, 2, 3, 6—then 7, 8 , 9.


But what about Episode 1? Machete Order argues that because The Phantom Menace doesn’t contribute anything to Luke’s journey, it doesn’t fit into the main story. It’s best watched as a separate material, perhaps on a separate occasion, once you’ve finished everything else.

And Rogue One? In the same blog post, Hilton advised against the immediate impulse of watching it before Episode 4, because even if it does precede A New Hope chronologically, it doesn’t serve as a good introduction to the series, and is really best enjoyed as an auxiliary film, like The Phantom Menace. The same could go for all the other A Star Wars Story films, which will be set between episodes 3 and 4, but won’t likely be important enough for the entire Machete Order to scooch over.

So if you’re planning a Star Wars marathon to prepare for The Last Jedi, take this Luke-centric framework into consideration when you’re lining all the films up. But whatever you do, just please do not bother with Holiday Special.

Catch Star Wars: The Last Jedi in theaters in the Philippines this Wednesday, December 13.

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Miguel Escobar
Assistant Features Editor for Esquire Philippines
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