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Machete Order: The best way to watch Star Wars, explained

As ubiquitous as it seems, there are still people who have yet to dip their toe into Star Wars. So what's the right order to watch all nine films in the Skywalker Saga?

Some of the original trilogy’s biggest twists are spoiled by the prequels. So watching for the first time in numerical order isn’t the best idea. But chronological order isn't the best option either.

After the prequel trilogy’s release, a Star Wars fan named Rod Hilton created what’s known as the Machete Order.

This alternate viewing order keeps the focus of the Star Wars saga on Luke Skywalker while keeping major twists intact.

If you’ve somehow managed to keep away from Star Wars spoilers all this time (or you want to preserve them for an unspoiled friend), here’s how to watch the series in Machete Order.

1. A New Hope

Start with Episode IV (1977).

2. The Empire Strikes Back

Then go straight into Episode V (1980), which ends on a major twist...

3. Attack of the Clones

Now, jump back to Episode II (2002). Sorry Darth Maul fans, we're skipping Episode I.

4. Revenge of the Sith

Next up is Episode III (2005).

5. Return of the Jedi

Finally, return to the original trilogy with Episode VI (1983).

Watching in this order puts the prequel trilogy in a place that makes sense for the story without revealing any secrets too soon.

It also cuts out The Phantom Menace, which doesn’t have any real impact on Luke’s journey and isn’t necessary to understand the rest of the series.

Maybe best of all, the Machete Order almost completely removes Jar-Jar Binks and midi-chlorians, some of the most hated aspects of the entire Star Wars saga.

What about the new movies? Hilton recently updated the Machete Order to account for the sequel trilogy and Star Wars spin-offs.

The updated Machete Order places Episodes VII, VIII, and IX after Episode VI.

And since the Machete Order is meant to keep Luke’s story in focus, Star Wars spin-offs like Solo and Rogue One are optional and should come at the very end.