So my girlfriend likes the old “Star Wars” films and she owned a few of the later ones. A couple of recent ones we even saw on the big screen. So around the holidays season, she bought the remaining films and we watched them all in the order of the story.
I never really gave it much thought, but the films that Georges Lucas himself made, drop in somewhere half of a story that appears to have been (rudimentary) present already. Later, the films were named “episodes” and the first film from 1977 was suddenly episode IV.
So here is the list:
- Episode I The Phantom Menace – George Lucas (1999)
- Episode II Attack of the Clones – George Lucas (2002)
- Episode III Revenge of the Sith – George Lucas (2005)
- Solo: A Star Wars Story – Ron Howard (2018)
- Rogue One – Gareth Edwards (2016)
- Episode IV A New Hope – George Lucas (1977)
- Episode V The Empire Strikes Back – Irvin Kershner (1980)
- Episode VI Return of the Jedi – Richard Marquand (1983)
- Episode VII The Force Awakens – J.J. Abrams (2015)
- Episode VIII – The Last Jedi – Rian Johnson (2017)
- Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker – J.J. Abrams (2019)
The original three films must have been somewhat confusing at the time. The “I am your father” just drops from the sky. The transmission that Darth Vader is after, not yet makes much sense. Some things Lucas explained himself. After his initial film (1977) he picked up the thread in 1999, 2002 and 2005. These three give a much better context to the events in the original trilogy. Some open points have been picked up by later directors, such as how Han Solo met the Chewbacca and how he got his ship. Oddly enough, reference to the man he got his ship from can be found in films that have been shot much earlier.
And thus a few stories have been woven. What you only learn when you start with “The Phantom Menace” and continue the list above is who this Obi-Wan Kenobi is, who Darth Vader, etc. Both story-wise and ‘filmographically’ I find these the best films. The two unnumbered are much different from each other. The Solo film is well written and really adds something to the whole. For the large story “Rogue One” does too, but most characters can only be found in this film. It looks a bit like a spectacle to explain but one small element of “A New Hope”.
There are enough open ends to fill gaps in the story between the ‘lower numbered’ episodes. Should that happen, I hope that will be more of a “Solo” than a “Rogue One”.
Characters leave, new ones appear, sometimes someone comes back. The Kylo/Rey story is somewhat interesting, but I do not like the Rey character (or actress?). These newest in the line are a bit too modern / American, but enjoyable still.
I never really had a big interest in the Star Wars films myself. Just shooting spaceships, right? Well, there is much more to the movies than that. As a matter of fact, there are not that many star wars in the film. Most fighting takes place on this or that planet or moon. Some storylines are a bit ‘soapy’, some are a bit thin, but there are also interesting references back and forth to other films (either or not made in a very different time) which makes watching the films as a series worthwhile.
It is hard to put a rating on so many and partly fairly different films, but looking back to the whole 11x 2+ hours, I would say….: