A New Hope – Junta
The one that started it all! These masterpieces debuted mostly under the radar, and with little in the way of expectations, and ultimately set the stage for what would become an obsession for so many adoring fans. Unique, refined, inventive, and revolutionary – this list would not exist without both of these creations.
The Empire Strikes Back – Lawn Boy
It is one thing to create something great. It is far more impressive to follow it up with something that is arguably even better. Both Empire and Lawn Boy did just that. Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, Marco Esquandolas reminds us that we are just getting started.
Return of the Jedi – The Story of the Ghost
What do you get when you combine great writing, interesting effects, and a bit of oddity to a well-established and beloved brand? Instant classics. These works both fit that bill well. I sometimes forget that Guyute’s first studio appearance was almost 10 years after the first album came out. It fits so well into the complete discography and could easily have been on Junta or A Picture of Nectar. Similarly, Return of the Jedi is a seamless continuation of the story.
In both cases, the projects could have stopped with these climatic achievements. I am very glad that neither did though.
The Phantom Menace – Joy
Having been released after an extended break, both Episode I and Joy encountered the tough challenge of meeting fan unrealistic expectations. While both are creative and inspired in their own rights, neither fully lives up to the legacy of their respective predecessors. Still, as time has ticked on and new releases have since come and gone, we are able to appreciate these installments for their role in re-establishing (and even reinvigorating) what was once presumed dead.
Attack of the Clones – Undermind
Can you enjoy these? Yes. Are they going to be your first choice? Likely not.
Both Attack of the Clones and Undermind were sequels for the second time, but unlike Empire and Lawn Boy, these installments did not quite meet the execution of their immediate predecessors. (As an aside, both Attack of the Clones and Undermind have recently become guilty pleasures of mine that I do not readily admit to. That does not change my overall opinion of them though.)
Revenge of the Sith – Billy Breathes
These are arguably the most emotional works in their respective catalogs. Try watching Anakin kill the Padawans while listening to Swept Away and not shed at least one tear… It is impossible! Episode III and Billy Breathes both have earned their spot right in the middle.
The Force Awakens – Farmhouse
A little fan service and a lot of recycled material provides us with installments that are certainly enjoyable but fail to capture the authenticity and essence of their brethren. Nonetheless, there is something easy about both that I really appreciate.
The Last Jedi – Fuego
The Last Jedi and Fuego epitomize the third generation of their respective collections by being chastised for their new approach while at the same time being penalized for not being inspired enough (it is difficult to please these fan bases sometimes). Both were sequels for the third time, and in my personal opinion, did a good job adding fuel to overall creative process. Were they what fans wanted or expected? No. That’s why I like them and exactly why they are so important to the overall narrative.
The Rise of Skywalker – Big Boat
New and exciting with a lot to be happy about… and the most recent victims of jaded vet judgement. They are not like the others (on purpose) and they honestly are not for you anyway.
Rogue One – The White Tape
While not considered part of the main group, both are exceptional creations and fan favorites. They also provide a lot of context for the for the primary installments.
Solo – Party Time
Neither of these really needed to ever have been released. There are a couple of moments in each that fans can point to as intriguing or fun, but no one has gone back for a second serving. Not a single person has ever watched/listened to either of these all the way through for a second time. Prove me wrong.