A viewing order for all of Star Wars.

Film  Yes, I know.  The web is littered with articles listing "the best order to watch Star Wars" or some such, but so, so many of them get it wrong.  Apart from ignoring the chronological viewing order of The Clone Wars and how the final season works in relation to Revenge of the Sith and The Bad Batch, they're rarely itemised by the episode, mention Forces of Destiny or include still blatantly canonical nonsense like the Ewok movies (no matter what Lucasfilm says).  So modelled on my viewing order for the Whoniverse, here's some click bait which some of you might nevertheless find useful.

Some notes.  It's up to you on which order you decide to watch the episodes of The Clone Wars and Resistance which take place simultaneously with a film.  I've put them after each film as a kind of "meanwhile" but this viewing order isn't really for people who haven't watched most of this before.  This chronology also focuses TV and film because they're traditionally considered to be the most canonical (although I'm tempted to include the adaptations of lost stories from The Clone Wars at some point).  I will keep this updated as each new series or film is released.

The shorts are the biggest problem because they weren't really designed to be watched in sequence (and the Star Wars website offers few answers) so any kind of attempt to find a logic placement is fruitless.  Forces of Destiny episodes have been grouped together under the relevant years for ease of watch, although suggestions welcome, especially in relation to The Clone Wars and Rebels tie-ins.  The Resistance shorts have been timed to fit between the two episodes of the Season One mid-season break when they were uploaded to YouTube.

For an explanation of how calendars work in Star Wars visit the Wookiepedia, which was the source for much of the dating here.  Basically BBY is Before Battle of Yavin and ABY is After Battle of Yavin, which obviously made sense when that was the great victory which brought down the Empire.

[Key: VIS=Visions, FOD=Forces of Destiny, TCW=The Clone Wars, TBB=The Bad Batch, OBI=Obi-Wan Kenobi, REB=Rebels, MAN=The Mandalorian, BOB=The Book of Boba-Fett, RES=Resistance, RSS=Resistance Shorts, TOJ=Tales of the Jedi, AND=Andor, MOV=Films.]

Cultural Vandalism.

Theatre The New Yorker has an interview with director Robert Icke on the occasion of his new production of Hamlet at the Armory in New York City. We could have a discussion about the writer's slightly dated assumption as to how Q1 was written (which has pretty much been disowned in most of the latest editions of the play I've read) but it's this section about how they're going to restructure the play which I'm here to repost a twitter thread about. The section starts reasonably enough talking about being mentored by Anne Barton then goes off the rails pretty quickly:
Among the plays he and Barton discussed was “Hamlet.” Barton, he learned, was impatient with the character of Ophelia: in her introduction to the Penguin edition of the play, she called Ophelia “na├»ve, passive and dependent.” Icke told me, “We talked about ‘Why isn’t Ophelia’s story moving? Why do you never care? Why do you never follow that story—and why is it never clear why she’s mad?’ I always feel like Ophelia is sidelined in productions, and even in the text.” Icke proposed a dramaturgical solution, arguing that the play would work much better if two early scenes were transposed, and Polonius and his two children—Laertes and Ophelia—were introduced before Hamlet is told by his friend Horatio of the sighting of his father’s spirit. “I always felt that you were getting Part Two of the more important story before you were getting Part One of the less important story, and that made the less important story feel genuinely irrelevant,” Icke explained. “It was always, like, ‘That guy’s going to see a ghost! And, by the way, here’s some advice about your trip to France.’ And you think, I don’t care about that—there’s a ghost!”

Icke’s Almeida production contains this structural change, so that Hamlet’s complex relationship with Ophelia is introduced—in the form of Laertes warning her to deflect any advances from the Prince—before Horatio informs him of the appearance of the Ghost. “I think it makes a huge difference as to how you are invited to take seriously the Ophelia bit of the story—and it gives me a hugely valued excuse to get Hamlet and Ophelia together alone onstage for a moment,” Icke said. The revision not only enriches the emotional dynamic between Hamlet and Ophelia; it frames Ophelia’s tragedy-within-a-tragedy as the story of a young woman whose family is so uncertain of its social position that it cannot allow her to pursue her own desires. In this context, it becomes piercing when, after Ophelia’s suicide, Gertrude expresses a belated wish that Ophelia had been her son’s bride. “You’re, like—what? Gertrude was fine with it? Everyone was fine with it?” Icke said. “That was something Anne Barton said that was really helpful to me—that all the ingredients are there for the match to proceed, and what happens is just about insecurity, and that Ophelia doesn’t believe in herself enough. There’s nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. So much of the play is like that.”
Apart from it messing up the time scheme of the play, the whole point of Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship is that it exists through third party reaction and report. Like much of Hamlet, we're supposed to use our imaginations to fill in the blanks.  It is fair to say Ophelia isn't one of Shakespeare's richest female roles but given that he'd already written some of his great comedies with their strong female leads, As You Like It and Love's Labour's Lost. I take it in good faith that the reason he wrote Ophelia in this way is because she's a reflection of what the male characters perceive her to be.  She's not a complete character on purpose, for better or worse.

That's the problem with so many Hamlets - and Shakespeare productions in general.  The director thinks its their job to explain inconsistencies or have a "take" on the thing.  But its up to the audience, us, to fill in the blanks.  They might ask, where's the creativity?  It's in the sets and costumes.  It's in the casting.  You'll find nuance and variation from how the show looks and how they play the roles.  Doing ridiculous things like changing the structure and interpolating text from elsewhere as seems to be the norm at the Globe of all places right now, is cultural vandalism, just as it was in the restoration period.  I thought we'd gone past that.

It's interesting how much more orthodox I've become about such things over the years.  Perhaps its my age.  Note I'm less bothered about this happening on film because that rarely pretends to be anything other than an adaptation of the play (even if in some cases the cuts are so severe as to lose the sense of thing).  No, it's stage productions, which give off the vibes of somehow getting to the heart of the play, whilst cutting an hour out of it or putting the scenes in a different order or selling themselves as a modernisation of a play which largely works because of its historical nature.