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Top 5 Movie Franchises With Alternative Viewing Orders

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Script written by Michael Wynands. Chronological, by release date, or something stranger? Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 5 Franchises with Alternative Viewing Orders.
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Chronological, by release date, or something stranger? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 5 Franchises with Alternative Viewing Orders.

For this list, we’ll be looking at long running film franchises that, for various reasons, have inspired fans to suggest viewing orders that deviate from the order in which the films were released. WARNING: There will be some spoilers.

#5: Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-)
The number of interconnected MCU films is staggering. Though they are mostly released chronologically, there are some exceptions, and as we move forward, it’s only going to get more complicated. For those interested in taking the chronological plunge, you’re going to want to start with “Captain America: The First Avenger,” followed by “Iron Man 1” and “2,” then go back for “The Incredible Hulk.” The next major deviation is with “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Chronologically-speaking, “Vol. 1” and “2” should be watched back to back between “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Age of Ultron.” “Black Panther” and “Captain Marvel” both complicated things further, being set immediately after “Civil War” and in the 90s, respectively.

#4: “The Fast and the Furious” franchise (2001-)
“The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” might be the entry that most fans would simply prefer to forget… but when revisiting these films chronologically, it’s arguably the most crucial piece of the puzzle. Despite being released third, “Tokyo Drift” actually fits between “Furious 6” and “Furious 7.” Han is the key here, as he met his demise in “Tokyo Drift,” only to later be introduced as a member of the gang in “Fast & Furious,” the fourth installment. In this order, Han’s story gains more significance. While you’re at it, you should also watch the two short films. Though many of today’s alternate orderings are debatable, this one’s widely accepted as the way to go.

#3: “James Bond” franchise (1962-)
James Bond has been thrilling audiences for over a half century and he shows no signs of slowing down. Unlike the other franchises on our list today, the James Bond series is more of an anthology; with a few key exceptions, each film operates as a standalone story. As a result, unless going by release date, there are no hard and fast viewing order rules, so why not take a fun (but informed) “pick your own adventure” approach. Superfans and pop culture aficionados around the world have put together their own recommended quality-based or thematic viewing orders. Rather than tough it out through the more inferior entries, why not embrace a condensed version?

#2: “X-Men” franchise (2000-)
The “X-Men” franchise has such a convoluted timeline that you might just want to stick to the release order. But for serious fans… there’s something attractive about trying to rearrange these films into a viewing order that at least resembles a chronological one. Given the time travel and concurrent timelines (we’re looking at you, “Days of Future Past”), it gets messy fast, but here’s how best to attempt it. Start with “First Class” (a shared origin story for both timelines), followed by “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Next, tackle the original “X-Men” trilogy, followed by “The Wolverine.” Then, finish the original timeline with “Days of Future Past,” followed by “X-Men: Apocalypse,” “Deadpool,” and finally, “Logan.” Good luck!

#1: “Star Wars” franchise (1977-)
For the sake of galactic peace… let’s just begin with a reminder: there’s no right answer here. For many, release date remains the only way to go. Given the clear timeline, however, going chronologically is a popular choice, especially with the addition of “Rogue One.” However, given the hatred that “Episode I” received upon release, and the argument that it allegedly brings nothing to the overarching narrative, some fans have embraced the “Machete Order,” which, in the name of suspense, goes “A New Hope”, “Empire Strikes Back,” “Episode II,” “Episode III,” and then finishes off with “Return of the Jedi.” Of course, if you like pod racing, by all means, keep “Episode I.” Happy binging!
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