MY GEEK GUIDE TO THE STAR WARS WATCHING ORDER!
Episodes 4 to 6
Episodes 1 to 3
The Force Awakens
The Last Jedi
The Rise of Skywalker.
No matter which order you watch though, ALL STAR WARS NEWBIES should start with Episode 4: A New Hope because it's the only one that properly explains The Force to a brand new student. As Luke Skywalker learns of The Force from Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi, the audience learns. That is the foundation of Star Wars and, in my opinion, the greatest component to the success of the franchise.
Han Solo is good there, but keep in mind that the movie is not so much a plot shaper as it is a background provider for Han, Chewbacca, and the Millennium Falcon before we see them together in Episode 4. It's order in the lineup is not critical in my opinion. You can enjoy it anywhere. Watch in a VERY DARK ROOM though, because the lighting in the scenes often suck, especially in space. It was way too dimly lit. I thought the projector needed a new bulb or something.
Do projectors even use bulbs anymore or am I dating myself?
Also, try to brain-dump any midi-chlorians garbage you hear in Episodes 1-3. It was a rather stupid and narrow-minded plot device that only diminished the mysticism of The Force-- reducing it to an infection, really. I'm glad the J.J. Abrams cured it by the time Rey, Finn, and Poe took up the cause.
Another tip for first time watchers: make an effort to ignore the stupid sounding names Lucas came up with too. Be sure you cover your kids ears when they hear "Count Dooku" if you don't want them giggling through the whole movie. These are great stories overall, but Star Wars has some rather silly in the details.
Expect to cringe at anything Jar-Jar Binks related. Every. Little. Thing.
(Thanks for posing with me, 501st Legion in Anchorage)
Sure, some fans will want to place the series in the saga's chronological order, similar to The Godfather trilogy scenes edited chronologically in The Godfather Epic (link). The problem with that, I believe, is that viewers with no prior knowledge of Star Wars will not become as invested in the story as much as if they started with Luke's introduction and training. I'd make the same argument about viewers developing sympathy for Michael Corleone-- it's greater if you start by seeing Michael struggling to remain relatively untouched by his family's criminal history and follow him on his downward spiral.
Although Star Wars hardly used flashback as a device within any film, one could say that the out-of-order episodes were movie-length flashbacks into the history of the Rebellion, and they reinforced the gravity of situation that gravity-defying Luke Skywalker would find himself in.
Luke has always been the most relatable of characters. The documentary Star Wars: Empire of Dreams compared the saga to those of The Odyssey, Beowulf, and King Arthur. Even an online reference I found to a University of Maryland course in Greek Mythology compared Luke Skywalker to Odysseus.
Those are lofty comparisons and with plenty of merit considering the universe shaping accomplished on Luke's odyssey. However, it's hard for a commoner like myself to relate to a displaced man who would be king, and that's not really what Luke was to me.
Luke Skywalker bears a more striking similarity, in origin if not in epic journey, to another popular character I love: Peter Parker*, the Spectacular Spider-Man.
*NOTE: No relation to Professor Parker of the University of Maryland in the link above... as far as I know.
Both grew up as common folk. Luke Skywalker and Peter Parker were both raised by aunt/uncle figures with little or no knowledge of their true parents. Both were frustrated teenagers who struggled with their places in the world. And finally, both came to realize that they had a greater purpose to serve others-- but only after the tragic deaths of their surrogate parents.
Other similarities: Luke swinging across the Death Star's chasm with Princess Leia could be considered another homage to the web-slinger, but that's just fan-boy Brian kind of pushing it.
Darth Vader being a disfigured and armored villain is also rather Doctor Doom-ish. Oops! Did it again! J.J. Abrams is just one J away from being J. Jonah Jameson!! WEBSHOOTER THWIPS ARE LIKE THE VROOMS FROM STARTING A LIGHT SABER! SOMEBODY STOP MEEEEE!!!