Thursday, April 7, 2011

Showing your kids the Star Wars films - which order?

WARNING: Spoilers for the Star Wars movies. Here's some old-school spoiler space...

We finally finished (in fits and starts) showing our twin 8-year-olds all six Star Wars films. We showed them in the order Wendy and I saw them on the big screen: 4 (Star Wars), 5 (The Empire Strikes Back, 6 (Return of the Jedi), 1 (The Phantom Menace), 2 (Attack of the Clones), and finally 3 (Revenge of the Sith). Now I'll admit we skipped over char-broiled Anakin and Vader's suit-fitting during Sith, but they're 8, what would you expect?

As we finished up, something occurred to me. I remember reading my favorite online-exclusive film critic (and fellow parent) Drew McWeeney mentioning toward the bottom of this article that he was going to show them to his son in a slightly different order: 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 6.

That's a fascinating way to show them. At the end of The Empire Strikes Back the first-time viewer may have a question about whether or not Darth Vader is Luke's father. Why not, at that point, show the first-time viewer the story of Anakin Skywalker? This works especially well now, where the special-edition Empire uses Ian McDiarmid's Emperor Palpatine, and an astute child will notice how much Darth Sidious resembles him (or even Senator Palpatine).

Commenters (oh gotta love Internet feedback... makes me glad I only have a half-dozen readers) mention a few other orders: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ("to get the crap out of the way"), or the flip-flop 1, 4, 2, 5, 3, 6 (tracking both in single steps).

There's a little part of me that wishes we tried the flashback-in-the-middle approach, but the only thing that matters is that our girls enjoyed the movies, and now they get one or two more of the jokes Wendy and I make.