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It is a question that has persisted ever since George Lucas released the Star Wars prequel trilogy: what's the proper order to watch these movies. Opinions vary from fan to fan, and it sounds like even Mark Hamill has his own theory on the matter. In fact, Hamill recently opened up in an interview for Star Wars: The Last Jedi's home release, and he explained that you should watch them in release order, beginning with A New Hope. Per Hamill:
I always think ... the way they were chronologically released.
It is undoubtedly a classic choice, and that process of watching the Star Wars movies based on release year makes plenty of sense. The story officially started with 1977's A New Hope, and each subsequent film was designed to add to the Star Wars mythos in a specific way based upon when it was released. It mirrors the act of watching them in the theater, and Mark Hamill thinks that is how true Star Wars fans should watch them.
Of course, that particular viewing model might not work for everyone, and Mark Hamill seems to recognize that fact. Continuing in his recent interview with Collider, Hamill address the possibility of watching them in story order and said:
Now, I may be wrong, because if you're starting out fresh, you probably go: [Episodes] I, II,III, IV, V, VI ... uh, Rogue One? It's hard, I mean, wait a second. Rogue One comes before IV! Yeah, so you go: I, II, III, Rogue One, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII ... I'm guessing.
That method will give you a proper rundown of the story from beginning to end. Opening on The Phantom Menace allows audiences to meet Darth Vader at a young age during his early years as Anakin Skywalker, and each subsequent move will follow his arc until his transformation into a Sith Lord. Then the original trilogy (plus Rogue One) will pick up with the Galactic Civil War, and the new trilogy (beginning with The Force Awakens) fleshes out his legacy after turning back to the light side of the force. From a narrative perspective, it definitely moves in a far more linear fashion and could provide a great way in for newcomers who want to learn more about the franchise as a whole.
No matter what your viewing order for the Star Wars franchise is, it will likely change as more films enter the canon. With that in mind, make sure to catch Solo: A Star Wars Story when it debuts on the big screen later this year on May 25 and nestles itself between the events of Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in the franchise timeline.
As for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, make sure to catch the film on Digital HD, Blu-ray, and 4K, all of which are available right now!