11:00 am EDT, December 12, 2016

Should you watch ‘A New Hope’ before or after ‘Rogue One’?

With Rogue One‘s premiere just days away, we’re cramming in as much last-minute preparation as possible. But should you watch A New Hope before or after Rogue One?

We’ve got plenty of content to tide us over before the first standalone Star Wars movie, Rogue One, hits the big screen on December 16. From the tie-in novel, Catalyst, to Saw Gerrera’s arc in Clone Wars, to the film that started it all — A New Hope.

But should we press play on A New Hope before or after we’ve seen Rogue One in cinemas? There’s a strong argument to be made either way, and my Resistance Radio co-host Mikey and I have come up with a few for you to mull over.

Read on for our arguments for and against watching A New Hope before Rogue One, as well as a compromise, and have your say in our poll at the bottom of the article.

Watch ‘A New Hope’ before ‘Rogue One’

When Star Wars made its debut back in 1977, it was almost impossible to imagine the kind of impact it would have on the world. The countless books, games, comics and television shows it would span. The inspiration it would give to multiple generations. The friendships it would forge.

A New Hope is where Star Wars began, and its title crawl is the foundation for Rogue One, so it stands to reason that reminding ourselves of where the Star Wars mythology started makes a whole lot of sense.

In fact, Rogue One will end roughly 10 minutes prior to the opening of A New Hope. Familiarizing ourselves with each nuance of A New Hope will allow for us to pick up on the subtle foreshadowing of Rogue One — without us needing to wrack our brains to remember exactly how a particular scene played out, down to the last inch of detail.

For those of us familiar with the ins and outs of Star Wars, and who have well-worn copies of A New Hope, knowing where Rogue One ends won’t be much of a deterrent, but rather, it’ll spark our imaginations even more.

We know that ending intimately, but just how did we get there?

Watch ‘A New Hope’ after ‘Rogue One’

The are countless arguments for and against watching Star Wars in chronological order, but experiencing A New Hope following Rogue One could be the one instance in which chronology is key.

Rogue One has been touted as a standalone Star Wars film, distancing itself somewhat from the integral Skywalker saga, so should watching A New Hope be required if that is the case?

Though the title crawl of A New Hope serves as the foundation for Rogue One, and though we know the outcome of the story by heart, this is the first time we’re seeing it play out in front of our eyes and meeting the squadron that made the trench run in A New Hope possible.

Watching Rogue One free from the distraction of seeking each and every piece of foreshadowing, letting the characters and settings have room to grow and breathe, allowing it to tell its own story aside from A New Hope, has its advantages.

Let’s allow Rogue One to capture our hearts and imaginations the same way A New Hope did the first time we had the pleasure to experience it.

A compromise

Of course, there’s always a compromise to every argument.

You may not have the time to put A New Hope on before seeing Rogue One, as much as you might want to. It is, after all, an incredibly busy time of year.

For anyone caught between watching or not watching A New Hope, Star Wars and Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo might just have the answer.

That “important scene,” per Hidalgo, runs for a total of two minutes and is perfect for a quick refresher before heading into Rogue One. You can even fit the scene in over your morning coffee or on your commute.

It serves to introduce key players from the Empire, like Vader and Tarkin, and establishes the dynamics between the officers on board the Death Star.

And, really, who can resist hearing Vader’s iconic line, “I find your lack of faith disturbing”?

Don’t think that we didn’t notice that one suspiciously empty chair, too. Orson Krennic is strangely absent, for an Imperial officer so heavily involved in the development of the Death Star.

Have your say!

Want more Star Wars news and breakdowns?

Tune into Hypable’s dedicated Star Wars podcast, Resistance Radio, for in-depth discussions, theories and curated news from the Star Wars universe every week.

Additional reporting by Mikey Bouchereau.

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