Everything you need to know and do to prepare for the release of Star Wars Episode 7 this week.
I’ve been a Star Wars nerd since 1995. It’s well known: every Star Wars meme that hits Facebook ends up on my wall with my name tagged, multiple times. With a new movie coming out, it’s been my year!
And as your resident authority on State Wars, here’s how you can prepare for the week ahead:
Watch the movies in the RIGHT order
If you haven’t watched Star Wars before, or if you want a refresher, the recommended order to watch the series thus far is the Machete order:
Watch them in this order: IV, V, II, III, VI. You may notice Episode I is gone…
Effectively, this order keeps the story Luke’s tale. Just when our main man Luke is left with the burning question “did my father really become Darth Vader?” we take an extended flashback to explain that it’s true. Once we understand how his father turned to the dark side, we go back to the main storyline and see how Luke is able to rescue him from it and salvage the good in him, which is the only way to destroy the Empire.
A condensed version of the rationale is in this NPR interview.
Episode I is removed because it’s not necessary to the plot and introduces one element that is never referred to again: midi-chlorians. You lose out on the best predator in the Star Wars universe (Darth Maul–he’s even better in the books), but it’s not too bad a price to pay. When you start with Episode 2, Obi-Wan has his young adult padawan with some serious dark side moments, so that’s all you need to know.
In short, this allows you to experience the Star Wars universe in the best order possible, either to introduce new people to it or to refresh one’s memory.
Read Production Background of The Force Awakens
Rolling Stone magazine has two articles that give some background to the production, the actors, and some things we now know about Episode 7. None of these are real spoilers, but they may allude to some things that you might want to avoid:
- 15 Things We Learned About ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens (slight spoilers)
- ‘Star Wars’ Strikes Back: Behind the Scenes of the Biggest Movie of the Year
Two great articles!
See what happened after Return of the Jedi
When Disney bought Star Wars, they rendered the whole corpus of books and non-movie items as “Legends” meaning that they no longer are part of the official Star Wars story. So, there’s very little known about what has happened after Episode 6: The Return of the Jedi.
Thankfully, it’s 2015 and the Internet has sleuths. On io9, they went through all the Disney-released books, video games, tv series, and comic books to compile what has happened in the years after Episode 6 and before Episode 7. It’s pretty spotty but gives some background as to why the Republic that was supposed to overcome the Empire didn’t quite do that.
To be clear, these aren’t spoilers because they don’t deal directly with the contents of The Force Awakens. For some folks, knowing the background makes for a less disorienting movie experience.
The Day of the Movie
For the first experience:
- Bring a friend of equal or higher familiarity. This way you can both experience the intricacies of the movie without interrupting each other’s experience with questions. But it’s very fun to debrief with someone else instead of going…wait for it…solo.
- Bring a notepad and pen. Pulling out a cell phone to take notes or write questions is distracting to others, so if you have questions, write them down so you can come back to them after the movie. Or write them as comments below–I’ll be happy to help!
- Cheer at the Star Wars introit, not the Lucasfilm logo. I made that newbie mistake at Episode 1 premier, and I won’t do that again.
- If bringing kids, wait until the GeekDad review. Geekdad.com does a great job of doing “10 things parents should know” and they always point out the scary parts and the “bathroom breaks” moments when small ones might need it for a 2.5 hour movie. Very helpful for families! [edit: Here’s the review! Spoiler-free!]
Please feel free to write questions or comments below or on Facebook and I’ll be happy to respond with as much geeky knowledge as I can. Enjoy the next dip into a universe of wonder and stories that inspire at a level that nerds and geeks swim in.
I can’t wait.