The Correct Order To Watch The Starship Troopers Movies

"Starship Troopers" was not a big hit when it arrived in 1997, and many audiences didn't know what to make of the darkly satirical tone created by "RoboCop" filmmaker Paul Verhoeven. In the years since its release, however, Verhoeven's violent, funny, action-packed sci-fi flick has been re-evaluated and become both a cult classic and a movie that some people still don't understand

Adapted from Robert A. Heinlein's novel (but adapted in a cheeky, almost mocking way), "Starship Troopers" follows a group of youngsters who get swept up in being soldiers when alien bugs attack Earth. Of course, the war ends up being hell, and many of these fresh young faces are cut down in increasingly nasty ways. And then, just in case all of the satire went over your head, Verhoeven ends things by having Neil Patrick Harris show up dressed in a Nazi uniform. 

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Well, how about this: did you know there were two live-action sequels to "Starship Troopers"? And then there were two animated sequels as well? If you didn't, I'm not surprised — these follow-up films did not have the impact of the original, and the sequels went direct to video instead of hitting theaters. But now that you know there are multiple "Starship Troopers" movies, you might be wondering: where should I start? What order should I watch them in? Does it even matter? Well, we're here to help. 

The correct order to watch

Not to state the obvious, but the order of release is probably the best way to watch these films if you're planning on watching all three. The original, released in 1997, is easily the best of the bunch. In fact, if I were you, I'd just watch that and skip the sequels. But if you want to keep it going, follow it up with 2004's "Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation." This sequel actually has some mighty talent behind the camera: it was directed by Phil Tippett, a legendary special effects artist who worked on "Star Wars," "Jurassic Park," and Paul Verhoeven's "RoboCop." He also directed the stop-motion nightmare that is "Mad God." Sadly, the presence of Tippett isn't enough to save the film, which is rather bad. To make matters worse, it more or less jettisons the satirical angle of the first film to go for a more straightforward action sequel route. 

Then there's the next film in the series, "Starship Troopers 3: Marauder." While nowhere near as good as the original film, this threequel does attempt to recapture some of what made that movie special. The satire is back, and so is Casper Van Dien, who reprises his role from the first film, Johnny Rico. Van Dien was reportedly down to return for part 2 as well, but the script didn't call for his character at that time. 

But wait, there's more! If you're still not satisfied with your "Starship Troopers" fix, there are animated options, too! There's the 2012 adult animated flick "Starship Troopers: Invasion," helmed by Shinji Aramaki. Then there's the 2017 animated feature "Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars," directed by Shinji Aramaki and Masaru Matsumoto. These two films feature characters from the live-action movies, but they also stand on their own (provided you know the basic set-up of humans vs. bugs). There was also an animated TV series, "Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles," which ran for 1 season.

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So here are your options: watch the live-action movies in a row: "Starship Troopers," "Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation," and "Starship Troopers 3: Marauder." Then follow that up with the animated sequels, "Starship Troopers: Invasion" and "Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars."

Or you could be bold and risky and skip part 2 entirely and just watch the more similar parts 1 and 3 back to back, and forgo the animated movies entirely. That's right — I'm recommending you skip "Hero of the Federation" and simply watch "Starship Troopers" followed by "Starship Troopers 3: Marauder." Actually, if I'm being honest, I'd suggest skipping all the sequels entirely and just watch the excellent first movie all on its own. But I understand that some people want to be completists. And if you want to keep the fun going, why not head over into the world of video games