We went to see Revenge of the Sith again last night. Fourth weekend out, and the theater was still packed. (We were able to get tickets 15 minutes before showtime—or, rather, preview time—but it was pure luck that we managed to find a pair of seats that weren’t in the front three rows.)

And now, Decisions that could have changed everything.

  1. Obi-Wan: Certainly, I’ll take down General Grievous. But since he wiped the floor with me last time, I’d like some backup. Anakin, would you care to join me?
  2. Mace Windu: Palpatine is the Sith Lord? Great work, Anakin! I’m going to recommend you for full Jedi Masterhood next week for this! Hey, you’ve been working hard, why don’t you go celebrate and unwind. Here, I’ve got a pair of tickets to the Outer Rim… (I can’t take credit for this one.)
  3. Anakin: (after delivering the report on Grievous’ location to the Jedi Council) *keeps his mouth shut*
  4. Anakin: In my vision, Obi-Wan was trying to help you. You’re right, we should ask him for help.
  5. Obi-Wan: You know, Anakin has been spending a whole lot of time with Senator Amidala. And everyone’s wondering who the father of her child is. I wonder if she’s told him, I mean we were on Coruscant around the time that… oh, blast!
  6. Ki-Adi-Mundi: Relax, Skywalker, I was on the Council before they made me a master, too. Oh, wait, they wrote that out? Never mind.

Finally, some thoughts on viewing order. For a new viewer, I think watching the original trilogy first, then the prequel trilogy, probably works best dramatically. There’s so much in the prequels that has impact simply because you recognize elements from the original.

The lightsaber duel with Dooku at the beginning of Episode III is a perfect example. If you haven’t seen Return of the Jedi, you just think it’s odd that Palpatine is so calm, and sure you get the WTF moment when he gives Anakin the “kill him” order. But if you have seen it, you recognize the set’s resemblance to the Emperor’s throne room where he has Luke battle Vader, and here he is doing exactly the same thing to Anakin that he tries with Luke, only it isn’t out in the open.

But Slashdot reader DesScorp has another suggestion: 4,1,2,5,3,6. His reasoning is that A New Hope is still the best introduction to the world, and then The Phantom Menace shows what everyone missed about the old days, and, well, Luke’s dad is still a hero, right? You start getting hints in Attack of the Clones, then jump forward to The Empire Strikes Back where you learn that Vader didn’t kill Anakin, he is Anakin. So how did this happen? Watch Revenge of the Sith. How can they get out of this? Return of the Jedi. It preserves most of the spoilers, though it moves which movie Luke and Leia’s relationship is revealed in. (It’s still a surprise.)

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