How to watch Star Wars in order—even the shows

If you're settling in for a Star Wars marathon of galactic proportions, the order you watch everything in may matter.
Din Djarin (the Mandalorian) in his spaceship with Grogu (baby Yoda) on his lap, traveling through hyperspace.
If you sit down to watch Star Wars in order with your kid, you might feel a little like Grogu (left) and Din Djarin (right) in this scene from season three of The Mandalorian. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Since filmmaker George Lucas introduced audiences to the ways of the Jedi with Star Wars (now titled A New Hope) in 1977, the chronicles of that galaxy far, far away have grown to 11 movies, nine animated shows, five TV series, and a slew of non-canon shows, miniseries, video games, books, and other media. Even if you just stick to the canon stuff, it can be overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to figure out how to watch Star Wars in order.

But before we get into it, we’ll emphasize that there really isn’t a “correct” viewing order. There are several ways to enjoy the Star Wars universe as you proceed along your Jedi journey, and you may even be able to create your own method.

Watch the Star Wars movies in order of release

The Star Wars movie timeline spans several decades, starting with the original trilogy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The prequel trilogy dropped in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and the sequel trilogy hit theaters in the 2010s. Various standalone films were released intermittently throughout this timeline, offering fans opportunities to explore specific characters and events more deeply.

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By choosing to watch the Star Wars movies in theatrical release order, you’ll experience what it was like to grow up with the series. Although this order doesn’t necessarily provide you with a cohesive timeline, each trilogy can stand on its own. They demonstrate complete arcs for key characters, yet tie in beautifully with the other trilogies.

This viewing order allows you to experience the excitement and surprises of the original trilogy first, followed by the backstory-building prequels. Finally, you can witness the epic conclusion of the sequel trilogy. Watching this way can help you appreciate the evolution of the Star Wars universe and see how it has captivated audiences for decades. 

Original trilogy

The original trilogy introduces iconic characters such as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, taking viewers on a thrilling journey through the Rebel Alliance‘s fight against the evil Galactic Empire. These films set the foundation for the Star Wars universe.

  1. Episode IV: A New Hope (1977 movie)
  2. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980 movie)
  3. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983 movie)

Prequel trilogy

Then there’s the prequel trilogy, which delves into the origins of the Star Wars saga by exploring the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker, as well as the events leading up to the Galactic Civil War. These films provide a deeper understanding of the complex political landscape underlying the action and provide some background information on Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda.

  1. Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999 movie)
  2. Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002 movie)
  3. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005 movie)

Sequel trilogy

Set decades after the events of the original trilogy, the sequel trilogy introduces a new generation of characters. It’s the first time audiences get to see Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, and others, and there are plenty of appearances by beloved characters such as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and Han Solo. These films explore themes of redemption, identity, and the ongoing struggle between the light and dark sides of the Force.

  1. Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015 movie)
  2. Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017 movie)
  3. Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019 movie)

If you want to throw in the two related movies that are not part of the trilogies, you can watch the Star Wars movies in this order:

  1. A New Hope 
  2. The Empire Strikes Back 
  3. Return of the Jedi 
  4. The Phantom Menace 
  5. Attack of the Clones 
  6. Revenge of the Sith 
  7. The Force Awakens 
  8. Rogue One (2016 movie)
  9. The Last Jedi 
  10. Solo (2018 movie)
  11. The Rise of Skywalker 

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How to watch the Star Wars movies in chronological order

If you’re a fan of linear storytelling, you may want to watch the Star Wars movies in chronological order. This means starting with Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and progressing through the prequel trilogy before moving on to the original trilogy and concluding with the sequel trilogy. This will allow you to experience the story in the order in which events occur within the Star Wars universe. This list includes the two Star Wars universe theatrical releases that aren’t part of the trilogies:

  1. The Phantom Menace 
  2. Attack of the Clones 
  3. Revenge of the Sith 
  4. Solo 
  5. Rogue One 
  6. A New Hope 
  7. The Empire Strikes Back 
  8. Return of the Jedi 
  9. The Force Awakens 
  10. The Last Jedi 
  11. The Rise of Skywalker 

Machete Order

The Machete Order is a unique Star Wars viewing experience designed by fan Rod Hilton. It skips Episode I: The Phantom Menace because some viewers deem it less relevant to the overall narrative. Machete Order preserves Darth Vader’s true identity until The Empire Strikes Back, enhancing the viewing experience and allowing for a more emotional and dramatic storyline.

  1. Episode IV: A New Hope 
  2. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 
  3. Episode II: Attack of the Clones 
  4. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith 
  5. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi 

How to watch Star Wars in order—all of it

Outside of the movies, Star Wars has expanded to include TV shows like The Clone Wars, Rebels, Andor, and The Mandalorian, many of which have been produced since Disney bought Star Wars and Lucasfilm in 2012. Disney has, in fact, released an official timeline for these various Star Wars universe pieces, conveniently queued up when you select the Star Wars tab on Disney+ (you’ll need a subscription or a free trial).

  1. Tales of the Jedi (2022 animated series)
  2. Episode I: The Phantom Menace 
  3. Episode II: Attack of the Clones 
  4. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008 animated film)
  5. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008 animated series)
  6. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith 
  7. Star Wars: The Bad Batch (2021 animated series)
  8. Solo 
  9. Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022 live-action miniseries)
  10. Star Wars: Rebels (2014 animated series)
  11. Andor (2022 live-action series)
  12. Rogue One 
  13. Episode IV: A New Hope 
  14. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 
  15. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi 
  16. The Mandalorian (2019 live-action series)
  17. The Book of Boba Fett (2021 live-action miniseries)
  18. Ahsoka (2023 live-action miniseries)
  19. Star Wars: Resistance (2018 animated series)
  20. Episode VII: The Force Awakens 
  21. Episode VIII: The Last Jedi 
  22. Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker 
  23. Star Wars: Visions (2021 animated series)

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FAQs

Q. Should I watch Obi-Wan Kenobi before Star Wars?

It’s not necessary to watch the Obi-Wan Kenobi series before watching the Star Wars movies, but doing so can provide additional context and depth to the character of Obi-Wan. However, the movies themselves provide enough information to completely understand the story. 

Q. What is considered the best Star Wars movie? 

Opinions on the best Star Wars movie vary among fans, but many consider The Empire Strikes Back the pinnacle of the franchise. Its darker tone, iconic plot twists, and memorable characters have made it a beloved favorite for many.