6 Things to Devour Before You See The Last Jedi This Weekend

Use my knowledge. I beg you. — Emperor Palpatine

Unless you live under a Rancor-sized rock, you know that the most anticipated weekend of 2017 has finally arrived. The Last Jedi (a.k.a Star Wars: Episode VIII) is descending into our galaxy, which means it’s time once again for long scrolling credits, electrifying special effects, and perhaps most importantly, an opportunity to indulge in as much Star Wars goodness as possible on the path to MAXIMUM HYPE.

Every person alive waiting to see THE LAST JEDI

Early reviews point to The Last Jedi as one of the best entries in the saga to date… like a medium rare, grilled to perfection filet mignon that deserves to have every bite savored. As one does with exquisite meals, one does not simply just see The Last Jedi. Au contraire! A meal that rich with decadence deserves a whetted appetite, and I think I have just the menu for it. Take some time this week to feed that Hutt-sized hunger for more Star Wars by indulging in one of these six succulent delights.

1) The Rewatch Awakens

Let’s start with the obvious before we go full scruffy nerf herder. The easiest way to help get psyched before seeing The Last Jedi is clearly a full-blown Star Wars marathon, but where should one start? For a little over 10 years, the world only had to argue over six films. Now we’re poised to get at least one new film a year with no end in sight.

While you wait each year for the next film to drop, why not experiment with a different way of viewing the Star Wars canon? It turns out the order in which you watch the films can really change how you see certain aspects. There’s no shortage of opinions out there about the perfect/ideal viewing order, so here’s a few worth tackling:

Storyline Order: I, II, III, Rogue One, IV, V, VI, VII…

Release Order: IV, V, VI, I, II, III, VII, Rogue One…

  • Who’s it for:
    • People looking to indoctrinate their friends, family, kin, and significant others to the world of Star Wars with as little alienation and pushback as possible;
    • People looking to recreate the experience of seeing Star Wars for the first time including the BIG reveals;
    • Those looking to ignore the prequels for as long as humanly possible.
  • What’s the point:
    • When Empire was released in 1980, no one (except maaaaaybe the Germans and the Dutch) could have predicted that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father. To this day, it remains one of the most shocking twists in cinema history. Thanks to the prequels, however, that ceases to be a mystery especially if one watches the films I-VI like Lucas wants. By going with this option, you can at least try to preserve that 1977-esque experience for the uninitiated. But seriously… who doesn’t know that spoiler by now, even if you haven’t seen Star Wars?

Machete Order (a.k.a. The Flashback Scenario): VI, V, II, III, VI

  • Who’s it for:
    • “Release Order” enthusiasts who despise the prequels;
    • Luke Skywalker fans
  • What’s the point: 
    • In recent years, the Machete Order has eked to the forefront as what many fans consider to be the best way to enjoy the Star Wars canon. This order was devised as a way to refocus the original trilogy and prequel stories on Luke’s journey and ultimate redemption for his father. It works by starting with ANH and TESB, then AOTC and ROTS, before wrapping with ROTJ. The cool idea with this approach is that by the end of Empire, Vader stares out into space, contemplating his actions against Luke. It’s the perfect setup for a flashback to the prequels and Vader’s own own years as a burgeoning jedi (that looks like Hayden Christensen and acts with the conviction of driftwood) before returning to Luke’s story in Return of the Jedi. Also, you get to cut out The Phantom Menace, which only has a few redeeming qualities anyway.

Blind Spot Order: Rogue One, IV, V, VI, VII…

  • Who’s it for:
    • People who would rather wallow in carbonate than watch the prequels again. Or ever.
  • What’s the point: 
    • See “Who’s it for”

Mirror Order: I, IV, II, V, III, VI

  • Who’s it for:
    • Film study obsessives
  • What’s the point:
    • When it comes to the prequels, Lucas borrows more than just the occasional story beat or shot from the original trilogy, but you might not realize just how much until you position the movies side by side. It’s a bit like a movie Easter egg hunt. Maybe keep a notebook handy for this one if you want to keep track of all the similarities.

2) Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003-2005)

No matter how good those six seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars were, how many awards it won, or how cool it was that they resurrected one of the most bad-ass characters to ever grace the Star Wars canon, for me, Genndy Tartakovsky’s short lived Star Wars: Clone Wars will always be the superior Clone Wars saga. Dare I say, it may be the single greatest piece of media ever to carry the Star Wars name. That sounds like hyperbole, but it’s true, all of it.

Every fantastical element that the films imbued with weight and otherworldly majesty, Tartakovsky massages into an animated 2D masterpiece. The unique approach to release the seasons in 2-3 minute shorts (they got a little longer by Season 3) only heightens this experience. Each episode spotlights a different character and/or aspect of the war with a brisk length makes the viewing experience akin to eating McDonald’s fries: you eat one, then another, and another. Before you know it, you’ve devoured the entire box.

His art style really helps to elevate the material beyond the films too, particularly when it comes to depictions of the legendary Jedi and their abilities with the Force. I mean, just compare how Mace Windu and Yoda are portrayed in Clone Wars vs. Attack of The Clones / Revenge of the Sith. It’s like night and day.



3) Darth Plagueis (Novel)


To say the prequels are something of a mixed bag is both obvious and an understatement. OG trilogy fans think it tainted everything that made the first films great, while people who grew up with Jar Jar and company think I-III weren’t given a fair shake. One thing I think both groups can agree on, though, is the level of intrigue Revenge of the Sith created by introducing the legend of Darth Plagueis. The scene plays out as one part “thriller” and one part “seductive ballet” as Palatine recounts the tale of Plagueis, a Sith so powerful he could create life through his manipulation of the Force until he met his end at the hands of his apprentice. Context clues help us infer this apprentice was none other than Palpatine himself.

It’s a story so tantalizing, I know I wasn’t the only one curious to learn more about Plagueis’ history (and how it likely tied into Anakin’s own miracle birth). Thankfully, in 2012, James Luceno finally helped delivered those answers in Star Wars: Darth Plagueis. Sadly, this story is no longer canon following Disney’s acquisition, but if you haven’t read it, it’s more than worth its weight in Kyber crystals.

4) Star Wars Minute (Podcast)

At best, watching a movie one minute at a time sounds tedious. At worst, it’s a form of torture reserved for Dante’s nine circles of hell. You’d probably agree that it would be a bad idea for most movies too, but Star Wars is not most movies.

And while we’re only the subject of bad ideas turned good…

5) The One-Two Punch: The Star Wars Holiday Special + How Did This Get Made

Life Day may have come and gone, but since Disney seems intent on turning Star Wars releases into a December tradition, what better way to ring in the season than with the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special! Follow Chewie, his family, and all his contractually obligated friends in an adventure (that’s being generous) so bonkers, it still stands as truly one of the most baffling missteps ever committed to film, and that’s saying something considering we live in a world where The Room exists. Did I mention this is still canon, but the Darth Plagueis novel isn’t?

While you don’t necessarily need to watch it (even though you really should because you wouldn’t believe half of what happens if I tried to explain it), you DEFINITELY need to check out the episode of How Did This Get Made where they review the special. Sometimes we all need a chuckle with a side of schadenfreude.

6) Blank Check with Griffin and David

If there is a better compliment for the Star Wars Minute than #TheTwoFriends and the ever-lovin’ Producer Ben (a.k.a. The Benducer, a.k.a. Prodoer Ben, a.k.a. our finest film critic, a.k.a. the fuckmaster, a.k.a. the peeper, a.k.a. the Hos, a.k.a. Mr. Hositive, a.k.a. dirt bike Benny, a.k.a. birthday Benny, a.k.a. the tiebreaker, a.k.a. the poet laureate, a.k.a. soaking wet Benny, a.k.a. white hot Benny, a.k.a.the fart detective, a.k.a. the meat lover,  a.k.a. Kylo Ben, a.k.a. Producer Ben Kenobi, a.k.a.Ben Night Shamylan, a.k.a. Say Benything, a.k.a. AliBen$, a.k.a. Bense8, a.k.a. War Hos, a.k.a. Prodoer Bane…. BUT NOT PROFESSOR CRISPY. DEFINITELY NOT PROFESSOR CRISPY), then I haven’t found it yet.

How many people do you know who can dissect a films so intricately with a blend of insight and humor that it inexplicably transforms what’s conservatively the worst Star Wars film (so sayeth Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes) into one that you actually look forward to watching? That is what Griffin and David bring to the table. Case in point: I always knew the background players in the Star Wars universe had names and stories, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that so many of them were more interesting than the main characters Lucas tried to push down our throats:

  • Yaddle? Secretly one of the most hardcore jedi ever.
  • Yoda? Secret prick (see: Yaddle’s backstory)
  • Gragra? SHE’s a fucking domestic abuse victim with little money and helps the homeless. Ergo, Jar Jar Binks is a huuuuuuge dick.
  • TC-14The Hottest Bitch In the Game™

I could go on, and that barely scratches the surface. Seriously, Griffin and David should be as much a part of your yearly Star Wars traditions as Disney wants the movies to be.

What are you waiting for? Throw on some Max Rebo Band and get bingeing already. It’s almost Last Jedi time 😝

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