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I have yet to see Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. I've been holding off because I knew there would be no Star Wars movies for a number of years. Also because Episode I and Episode II (which I did endure) were so bad to me.

Well, I guess ten years passed by pretty fast, and now Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens is moments away from being released.

Outside of Episode III, I have seen all the other Star Wars movies.

Do I need to watch Episode III before I embark on Episode VII? If your answer includes spoilers for Episodes III or VII, please mark them accordingly.

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

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    Not an answer but some reviewers in the UK press are talking about TFA as "episode 4", i.e as if the first three prequels didn't happen, draw your own conclusions... – The Wandering Dev Manager Dec 17 '15 at 17:26
  • I haven't seen the movie yet, but some of the reviews I've seen suggest that JJ Abrams might be roughly where you are. (I exaggerate, but don't expect a lot of references to part III that you won't get). – Steve Jessop Dec 17 '15 at 23:50
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    I don't intend this as a criticism, just that one reviewer in particular said I-III are pretty much ignored while IV-VI are (of course) heavily referenced, and I haven't yet seen anyone contradicting that. The impression I get is that it's consciously "old school". Sorry if that's a spoiler for anyone still rooting for Jar Jar to be a major character in VII ;-) – Steve Jessop Dec 18 '15 at 0:04
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    Having seen EP-VII I can say you do definitely not need to see EP-III. Not only "lore-wise", with it being set after the events of the original triology, but in regards of plot there is no needed knowlegde from EP-III. – Allan S. Hansen Dec 18 '15 at 8:07
  • There is no requirement to watch episode III at all, under any circumstances, ever. In fact, there is no episode III. Or episode I, or II. Lalalalala fingers in ears – Grimm The Opiner Dec 21 '16 at 13:09
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Think about this; Episode III happened years before Episode IV. The Force Awakens is considered Episode VII. It is set 30 years after Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi. As such, the happenings of Episode III aren't central to the plot, nor are the characters.

  • Episode I: The Phantom Menace - Set as Year 0
  • Episode II: Attack of the Clones - 10 years after Phantom Menace (Year 10)
  • Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith - Year 13
  • Episode IV: A New Hope - Year 32
  • Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back - Year 35
  • Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi - Year 36
  • Episode VII: The Force Awakens - Year 66
  • Am I supposed to watch Star Wars 1 at least? Cuz I've never watched even 1 episode. Will I understand? – Akhoy Dec 19 '15 at 12:10
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    @Akhoy You'll miss out on the references to the original trilogy if you've never seen any of the previous Star Wars movies, but there's no reason you wouldn't be able to follow the plot of The Force Awakens. – Anthony Grist Dec 19 '15 at 14:48
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    @AnthonyGrist: scenario-wise, you will lose a lot if you didn't see the original trilogy. It is just a big McGuffin chase. – Taladris Dec 20 '15 at 2:06
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Episode III is likely the most important film of the prequels,

As it depicts the complete downfall of the Galactic Senate through Palpatine's manipulation, leading to his rise as Emperor. We also see how he manipulates Anakin into helping him wipe out nearly all of the Jedi alive at that time, causing them to go into hiding and thus fading into myth.

Setting up for the much later events of The Force Awakens and

how the efforts of the Rebellion seem to have gone completely unrecognized, even with the help of a mythical Jedi.

This single film details how everything that comes after came to be, so yes, I'd say you should see it.

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    Downfall of Galactic Senate and Emperor Palpatine are not at all mentioned in new movie. Efforts of the Rebellion are recognized by re-established Republic. First Order is pretty clear who they want to destroy with new weapon. As for setup with Jedi being close to a myth, we already know that from A New Hope. When speaking with Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo is pretty explicit that he doesn't believe in force at all. We are reminded about it in about any scene where Vader interacts with Imperial higher military personnel. And these are the people that are routinely force chocked by Vader! – Mirosław Zalewski Dec 19 '15 at 11:36
  • Well, that's bad news. – Daniel Griscom Dec 20 '15 at 8:28
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No, you don't need to watch Episode III or any other movie from the "Prequel" trilogy.

They are not relevant in regard of story or style.

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

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    Your answer comes across as more opinion based. Can you provide more concrete reasons as to why the asker wouldn't need to watch Episodes I-III before watching The Force Awakens? – MattD Dec 17 '15 at 18:33
  • But no spoilers please! – RockPaperLizard Dec 17 '15 at 19:11
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    @MirosławZalewski That's not the point. This answer is very short and isn't backed up by actual fact or points other than, "It's not relevant." Well, why aren't they relevant? Who says they're not relevant? This is more a comment or an answer based on personal opinion in that regard, which is frowned upon here. – MattD Dec 19 '15 at 14:54
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    @MirosławZalewski Right, which means anything here is stated is primarily opinion based and not backed up by any actual facts or sound reasoning, which I've noted time and time again here is against the accepted conventions of this SE site. That goes for both the question and this answer. He doesn't want spoilers, but you can't provide a good, grounded answer without them, especially ten years after it came out. Asking questions where the answers will primarily be based on opinion is also not allowed here. All around this question is bad, bad, bad. But I'm not getting into this again. – MattD Dec 19 '15 at 15:59
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    @his To be constructive, I agree this answer reads as a comment but looking at your logic in the comments I believe that stuff can easily be melded into your answer to give it more heft. For example, this is my adaptation of what you said that could be placed in an answer, “I have watched all the movies multiple times and cannot think of any reason to watch Episode III. Yes, there are a few recognizable flags featured in one scene in The Force Awakens, but it’s pretty impossible to casually notice and bears completely no relevance for the plot-line.” – JakeGould Dec 20 '15 at 5:49
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No. In fact, as long as you understand the gist of the Jedi, the Force, and the main characters (Han, Luke, and Leia), you can follow The Force Awakens just fine.

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    Here's what I remember: Jedi - Good, Force - Powerful, Han - Mansexy, Luke - Force Strong in Him, Leia - Hot Buns – RockPaperLizard Dec 17 '15 at 21:16
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    @RockPaperLizard: You got it! – mipadi Dec 17 '15 at 22:07
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    It's probably good to know that Luke and Leia and brother/sister and Han and Leia fell in love over the course of the original trilogy, but even that's not strictly necessary to enjoy and understand The Force Awakens. TFA is as much about introducing new people to Star Wars as welcoming back old, so a lot of the vital details of the original trilogy are explained or alluded to anyway. And very little, if any, of the prequel trilogy plays a role. – mipadi Dec 17 '15 at 22:09
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Every major plot point in Episode III is already revealed in Episode V and VI. These plot points are the relationships between Anakin, Darth Vader, Luke, and Leia. If you already know these relationships by watching V and VI, then you already know the major plot points in III.

I have not seen VII yet, (tomorrow), and I could see it as conceivable that some of the things that happen in III could be referenced in VII, and you would miss those potential references, if that's something you care about. The things I could see being referenced is how the Jedi order fell apart and exactly how the transformation to Vader occurred.

Edit: Saw the movie. If you have seen IV-VI then that is all you need.

It does appear that the villain in VII is probably taking a path similar to Anakin's with the villain's story starting where Anakin's left off at the end of III.

  • Thanks David. Perhaps after seeing the movie you can update (without spoilers) if you feel that not seeing Episode III matters for the average viewer. I'm, of course, not concerned about subtle little details that the hardcore fans will debate for years. One of these days I'll get this blu-ray player fixed. The BetaMax player outlived it! – RockPaperLizard Dec 17 '15 at 22:56
  • These plot points are the relationships between Anakin... Are you sure Anakin is mentioned in Episode V and VI by that name? That doesn't fit with my memory (I only saw IV, V, VI), but maybe I missed it. – phaedra Dec 18 '15 at 22:32
  • I just saw it and can confirm that you don't get anything out of seeing Episode Three that would be useful before seeing Seven that you don't already get out of the original trilogy. – David Baucum Dec 19 '15 at 4:57
  • @phaedra No, I'm not sure. He is mentioned as Anakin in the original trilogy, but I could not say for certain which movie(s) it is that uses this name. – David Baucum Dec 21 '15 at 2:17
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Having seen the film on Thursday (The joys of an earlier release date in the UK), no you don't need to have seen Revenge of the Sith.

If you have seen Star Wars 4-6 (ANH, ESB and ROTJ) you will have all the back story you will need to know, and even then there are enough hints of the back story to get you up to speed in the opening titles and throughout the film.

I'm keeping this very vague as not to spoil anything, as it was amazing going into the film knowing almost nothing about what was going to happen.

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    Even of the original 3, RotJ is probably the most crucial to understanding the story arc in TFA. – GalacticCowboy Dec 18 '15 at 17:44
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I know the prequels are often the butt of jokes, and what makes a movie good for one person, doesn't make it good for another, but in general most fans of Star Wars do seem to agree that the prequels are inferior to the original trilogy and really didn't add much to the overall story (as much of what happens in the prequels was already implied in the original trilogy).

If you enjoy stories with long, slow, plodding explanations of backstory, then the prequels might be of interest for you, but otherwise, no, there's nothing in EIII that wasn't already assumed in EIV-VI.

UPDATE: personal anecdote = I couldn't get my 10 year old to watch even the original trilogy. He only made it half way through A New Hope before declaring it boring. Took him to The Force Awakens tonight and he loved it. So just one 10 year olds opinion but, there you go, the movie seems to stand on its own.

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It might help to know who the characters are from 4-6 (for example my sister had no idea who anyone was, so she mixed up Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, lol), you should be good.

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protected by Napoleon Wilson Dec 20 '15 at 2:46

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