Many fans of Star Wars consider “The Empire Strikes Back” to be the second movie in the franchise. However, there is some debate about whether or not this is actually the case.
The Release Order
In terms of release order, “The Empire Strikes Back” is indeed the second film in the original trilogy. It was released in 1980, three years after “Star Wars: A New Hope” (which is often referred to simply as “Star Wars”).
The Chronological Order
However, if we consider the chronological order of events within the Star Wars universe, “The Phantom Menace” (released in 1999) is actually the first movie. This is because it takes place before any of the events in the original trilogy.
The Machete Order
But there is another viewing order that some fans argue makes more sense: The Machete Order. This order involves watching Episodes IV and V (A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back), then skipping Episode I entirely, and moving on to Episode II and III (Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith), before finally concluding with Episode VI (Return of the Jedi).
This viewing order was popularized by a blog post written by Rod Hilton in 2011. The idea behind it is that by skipping Episode I entirely, viewers can avoid some of its problems (such as Jar Jar Binks) while still understanding everything that’s going on in Episodes II and III.
The Debate Continues
Of course, there will always be fans who prefer to watch the movies in different orders or who have their own reasoning for why a particular order makes more sense. But for those who consider only release order or only chronological order to be definitive, it’s important to remember that there are other ways to enjoy these movies.
- Release Order: The Empire Strikes Back is the second movie.
- Chronological Order: The Phantom Menace is the first movie.
- The Machete Order: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and Return of the Jedi.
So is “The Empire Strikes Back” really the second Star Wars movie? It depends on how you look at it.
From a release order perspective, yes, it is. But from a chronological or even a fan-created viewing order perspective, there are other options to consider.
Regardless of how you choose to watch these movies, one thing is certain: Star Wars has captured the hearts and imaginations of fans all over the world for over four decades. Whether you love them in release order or chronological order or some other way entirely, these movies will continue to be a beloved part of our pop culture for generations to come.