As we continue on our journey with my chum John as he builds the LEGO Ultimate A-Wing Starfighter model from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, I fear I have a guilty little secret I’ve been holding close to my chest.
Knowing how John is such a Star Wars fan, I’m not sure how to tell him this secret or how he’s going to react. But before we go there — in a desperate attempt to delay the dread moment as long as possible — John’s message accompanying today’s photo said: “I’m making progress, but the going is tough. A large portion of the front section is now completed, but this took me a long time.”
John went on to say, “I misread an instruction from earlier in the build and it meant the front wouldn’t clamp together and two ‘fins’ were sticking up. Perseverance won the day. Today also involved applying the first transfers: two tiny ones at the front. I reckon I didn’t do a bad job of getting them aligned. Also, some work commenced on the back, and we’ve started using items from Bag 4 of the parts, so in terms of moving forward visually this was a productive day.”
Now, as you are doubtless aware, excluding Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), the main Star Wars canon comprises nine films as follows:
Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977)
Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi (1983)
Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace (1999)
Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones (2002)
Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens (2015)
Star Wars: Episode VIII —The Last Jedi (2017)
Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
I remember seeing Episode IV at the cinema (movie theater) in Sheffield, England, when it came out in 1977 and being blown away by what were — for that time — absolutely awesome effects. Looking back, of course, we had no conception of where computer-generated imagery (CGI) was going to take us.
Along with all my friends, I also saw Episodes V and VII at the cinema in Sheffield. To be honest, as the years passed by, I began to doubt that any more Star Wars films would be made. In fact, as we now know, it was 16 long years before Episode I came out. I remember trying to explain to explain to my dear old dad why things had started with Episode IV, but he found it difficult to wrap his brain around this concept.
As an aside, my dad used to love the old silent movies (Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd…) and he was a devotee of classic cowboy films, but he never really cared for more modern movies and had little respect for special effects until…
…after dad had retired, once a week he would catch the bus to the main library in the city center where he would return books and pick up new ones. One afternoon, when he came out of the library, it was raining heavily, so he decided to wait things out by popping into a nearby cinema. He paid no attention to the film that was playing — he just wanted somewhere to sit that was warm and dry. As fate would have it, the movie that week was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Do you remember the “roller coaster” inspired sequence where the good guys and the bad guys are racing underground in mining cars? When my dad emerged from the cinema, his hair was standing up on end and he couldn’t stop talking about it. He never again had a bad word to say about special effects. But we digress…
By the time Episodes I, II, and III came out, I was living in the USA. I saw the first two at the movie theater and the last one on TV. The point is that — and this is where I can imagine John sitting bolt upright in his chair squeaking “What!?!” — I never actually got around to seeing Episodes VII, VIII, and IX (or Rogue One or Solo, for that matter).
Now, one day — possibly after I retire (so at least another 15 years) — I’m planning on having a complete binge and watching them all in one mammoth session, possibly with a group of like-minded friends. So, now the question is, should I watch them in the order in which I saw them (or didn’t see them, as the case might be) — that is, in the order in which they were released — or should I watch them in order of chronological events as follows (where BBY and ABY stand for before and after the battle of Yavin, respectively):
Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace (32 BBY)
Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones (22 BBY)
Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith (19 BBY)
Solo: A Star Wars Story (13 – 10 BBY)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (0 BBY)
Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (0 ABY)
Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back (3 ABY)
Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi (4 ABY)
Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens (34 ABY)
Star Wars: Episode VIII —The Last Jedi (34 ABY)
Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker (35 ABY)
This is not as easy a decision as you might think. On the one hand, I think I’d prefer to watch things in chronological order so as to see the characters develop and the plotlines evolve in a way that makes sense. On the other hand, if I were talking to someone who had never read the Narnia stories by C. S. Lewis, I would strongly suggest they progressed in the order in which the books were written, saving the Magician’s Nephew for last, even though this actually comes first, chronologically speaking.
What say you? Do you have any thoughts you’d care to share on this conundrum?