Possible Duplicates:
In what order should the Star Wars movies be watched?
Why did Lucas begin the episode numbering at IV?

A story can be presented in any order, but why start with an episode IV?

  • @Sachin - I don't understand "what about naming?" It's pretty important because it establishes chronology - III happened before IV. Feb 23, 2011 at 10:28
  • @Wikis These are rare. You can ask a question, too. Generally, naming of any series (book, software, movie etc.) is in incremental order (if numerical).
    – user931
    Feb 23, 2011 at 11:20
  • I've read somewhere that part of it was that the special effects required for the first part would be too difficult/expensive with the technology of that time (1977), but then, this is only a rumour. Feb 23, 2011 at 14:21
  • Sorry to @Shekhar, but isn't this a duplicate of scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/1520/…? Feb 23, 2011 at 15:12
  • 2
    @Scahin Shekhar - good point, but isn't it a duplicate of this question scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/872/… Feb 23, 2011 at 16:15

2 Answers 2


George Lucas already knew that there were earlier materials, he had the basic story worked out in advance (sources disagree on exactly how well developed they were, though). The reason he started with Episode IV (according to himself) was that it had more potential for commercial success and, since he was a relatively unknown card at the time, therefore easier to get a studio to accept. Apparently he was right.


I think the general, most basic idea behind it all was...

In medias res or medias in res (into the middle of things) is a Latin phrase denoting the literary and artistic narrative technique wherein the relation of a story begins either at the mid-point or at the conclusion, rather than at the beginning (cf. ab ovo, ab initio), establishing setting, character, and conflict via flashback and expository conversations relating the pertinent past.


Likely original to the oral tradition, the narrative technique of beginning a story in medias res is a stylistic convention of epic poetry, the exemplar in Western literature being the Iliad (9th c. BCE) and the Odyssey (9th c. BC), by Homer.

(source: Wikipedia)

I think Lucas consciously picked this kind of opening to create what he believed would be an epic (in all senses of the word) movie.

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