That was the Buchanan order, my introduction to the original trilogy and I'm still unhappy about it.
There were two factors at play. The first was convenience. It was December 26th, 1989 and there were only four channels. Scottish Television (the tartanised ITV variant) was showing Return of the Jedi and my old man saw it as good distraction for his challenging son; giant slugs, spaceships and unrequited incest. A winning combination for 6-year old me.
The second factor was Paul's birth. Paul's my youngest brother. My mum had given birth to him the day before and I was devastated he wasn't a she. I was ghoulishly vocal about it and this quite rightly enraged my father. It had been a difficult birth, confining my mum to a hospital bed that Christmas week.
As such, I'm convinced the Buchanan order was pre-meditated and established out of passive vengeance. Disrespect my wife and I'll ruin the holy trilogy -- the force is strong with me, son.
Interestingly, my first viewing of each film is soiled by some sort of incident:
Empire: Uncle Ian bought me the widescreen VHS for Christmas, 1990. Not only was our 15-inch telly too small to accommodate the aspect ratio, the tape was scratched reducing Anakin's confession to an analogue death rattle.
Hope: The video shop accidentally placed The Land Before Time in the box. I had to be nice to Paul and watch The Land Before Time before I could return it.
Phantom: I'd just returned from a family holiday in Florida and couldn't keep my eyes open. Slept through the final 100 minutes.
Clones: I had my lightsaber with me and a journalist for Reporting Scotland collared me for an interview outside the Renfield Street Odeon. My thirst for fame cost me the opening crawl. The interview was never aired.
Sith: Got into a fight in the queue with a some bawbag loudly proclaiming Star Wars to be shit. It was the last of the prequels. He was probably right.
I spite of this, I love Star Wars. A joyous adventure at the intersection of sci-fi and fantasy I carry with me every day and kindled my desire to make movies.
I'm so excited for Friday. I hope it will be incident free.
So, what's the ultimate viewing order?
Hope ... Empire ... Menace ... Clones ... Sith ... Jedi
This preserves Vader's reveal at the end of Empire, allowing the fall of Anakin to be conveyed in flashback, concluding at the point of his redemption and Luke's ascension to the role of Jedi Master.
At least, that's how mini MB will be introduced to the Saga.