How to Prepare for Star Wars: The Last Jedi
We are barely over two weeks out from the long-awaited, highly anticipated new Lucasfilm release; Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Fans of the original saga released in the 1970’s will join Padawans born 40 years after the film’s original release in theatres this December to blast off to that galaxy far, far away every generation has fallen in love with.
Recently I was talking with a friend who’s excited about the release. I asked her if she planned on re-watching the entire saga before the release -like any self-respecting Star Wars fan should- and her answer shocked me. You may want to sit down for this one. She responded “Oh I’ve never seen any of the films”. After she resuscitated me and picked my jaw up off of the floor, I knew what I had to do. Lock her in a dark room and treat her to a movie marathon. Just kidding, although I wish.
If you’re like my friend and have never seen any of the films, or if you’re like me and are debating between re watching the entire saga before December 15 or choosing a few films to re-fresh your memory, I’ve got three options I’m confident any new or seasoned fan will find helpful before we all catch the new film in theatres!
1. Watch the Entire Saga, in Original Release Order
If you have the time, the best way to prepare for the new movie is to re watch all 7 films. This is the only sure-fire way to ensure you’re fully trained in the Force and all its nuances so you’ll be sure to feel its full power when you’re taking in The Last Jedi. No spoilers yet (don’t worry I’ll warn you), but my recommendation is watching the films in their original release order. That is not the order the films are numbered. What I’m suggesting is watching the 1970’s-80’s films first, then the early 2000’s films, and finishing with 2015 release. To simplify, here’s a list of the order you should plan to watch in:
- Star Wars Episode iv: A New Hope
- Star Wars Episode v: The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars Episode vi: Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars Episode i: Phantom Menace
- Star Wars Episode ii: Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars Episode iii: Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars vii: The Force Awakens
In my opinion, the original release order of the films is the way they should be first experienced. Why? Way back in ’77, fans of A New Hope had to wait for each new chapter of the saga to be released in theatres, leaving them ample time to speculate and anticipate what would happen in the films to come. I feel as though the films should be experienced in the same way George Lucas released them, because who are we to go against the creator’s vision?
2. Watch the Original Trilogy, then The Force Awakens
Between work, family, and life, I probably won’t have the time to re watch all seven films before The Last Jedi hits theatres. But I still want to set myself up for success by watching at least a few of the films, so here’s what I’ll be doing to prepare! I plan to watch the original trilogy (A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) and finish with The Force Awakens.
~Tiny spoiler alert~ Episodes i-iii give us a beautiful gift in the form of Anakin Skywalker and his journey to the Dark Side. In order to understand the original trilogy to its full extent, Lucas gave us the prequel trilogy; so named because it is literally a precursor to the original films. That’s great and all, but you don’t need to know any of that back-story to understand and enjoy the new film.
By watching the original trilogy, you’ll learn that Vader is Luke’s father, and that Vader isn’t all bad and still has a glimmer of Anakin left in him. You’ll also be baptized into the world of Star Wars in its purest form, which in my opinion is the way it should be.
Now that you’ve seen the original trilogy, do yourself a favor and watch Force Awakens. You’ll see how Lucasfilm and Disney have introduced new characters, advanced certain plot lines, and ultimately continued the original story.
3. If All Else Fails: “The Force Awakens”
So it’s the night before the release of The Last Jedi and you’re going to the premiere tomorrow. You haven’t seen any of the films and know nothing about the Star Wars universe. You can panic and try to binge all 7 films, sob in a pint of ice cream as you try to ‘Wookieepedia’ the plot, or you can take the following advice, sleep peacefully, and still be ready for tomorrow: watch The Force Awakens.
When The Force Awakens premiered a few years ago, I caught a screening with a friend who was brand new to the saga, never having seen any film prior. After the film ended, he of course had questions, but he really seemed to catch on well to what was happening in the galaxy!
The Force Awakens will suffice if you don’t have time to watch all of the films. It introduces you to the new characters, as well as provides just enough information about the previous movies to keep you from leaving the theatre out of pure confusion. That way, you can head to the movies with your friends and nod at the right moments when they’re re hashing the events of the last film and you can throw in your predications for the new film without sounding like Jar Jar (since you didn’t watch the prequels, you can take that however you like).
So, what are your predictions for The Last Jedi? Do you plan to re watch all the movies before the release? What’s your favorite film in the series? Let me know, and let’s start a discussion!
Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!