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How to watch the Star Wars movies in order

A chronological guide to watching the Star Wars movies in order

Star Wars movies in order
(Image: © © LucasFilm 2021)

With Star Wars Day upon us once more, there's no better time to watch the Star Wars movies in order. In this guide, we'll give you a definitive breakdown of how the Star Wars timeline works – explaining how the main saga and its many spin-offs fit together in the post-Disney canon established by Lucasfilm. You'll learn the chronological order of the Star Wars movies, along with the release order, and an ultimate order featuring TV shows like The Mandalorian.

It's not that hard to make sense of the Star Wars movies order, really – the main nine films are simple enough to follow. It's only when you start adding bits and pieces like The Clone Wars, Rogue One and Solo where it's good to check on how it all fits together, especially as new animated spin-off The Bad Batch hits Disney Plus

Disney Plus is a great place to watch the Star Wars movies in order – in fact, it's their only streaming home, though you can buy the movies individually on-demand. The service hosts the movies in 4K, and now features a comprehensive archive of Star Wars content and oddities, including the 2D Clone Wars cartoon. 

It's set to be a busy few years for Star Wars, too: Lucasfilm is making new TV shows like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor and The Acolyte. The Mandalorian season 3 is likely to release at some point in 2022, while spin-offs Ahsoka and Rangers of the New Republic will take the story even further. And that's just the tip of the iceberg – Star Wars has really never been stronger.

Here's how to watch the Star Wars movies in order.

Star Wars movies in chronological order

Rey vs Kylo Ren

(Image credit: Disney)

The Star Wars movies in chronological order are probably why you're here. You'll find every Star Wars movie in the list below, as well as the only two live-action movie spin-offs so far, Solo: A Star Wars Story and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This will make a fun weekend of movie binging in a galaxy far, far away.

Here's how to watch the Star Wars movies in chronological order:

  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (set 32 years before A New Hope)
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (22 years before)
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (19 years before)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (about a decade before)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (ends moments before ANH)
  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope 
  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (three years after A New Hope)
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (four years after)
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (34 years after)
  • Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (34 years after)
  • Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (35 years after)

You'll only find live-action Star Wars movies on this list, and we've used A New Hope as an anchor point in the timeline, which tends to be how the timeline is measured officially in the fictional universe.

If you'd like a Star Wars order with the canon TV shows thrown in, including The Mandalorian, we've got that, too: you'll find our Star Wars Ultimate Order list further down this page. 

Star Wars movies in release order

(Image credit: Lucasfilm/Disney)

Watching the Star Wars movies in release order isn't the optimal way to follow the story of the saga, really, but this might be handy to know as you track your own chronology with Star Wars. Here's how to watch the Star Wars movies in release order, going back a frightening 44 years to A New Hope.

  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
  • Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
  • Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

The ultimate Star Wars viewing order, including TV shows

The official Star Wars timeline, from Disney Plus, which is accurate as of The Mandalorian season 2. (Image credit: Disney Plus)

When Disney acquired Lucasfilm and the Star Wars rights, it reset the Expanded Universe continuity of other related media that had built up in the background. That meant only the Prequel Trilogy, Original Trilogy and The Clone Wars CG animated series remained canon. 

Disney has added significantly to the canon since, with books, games, comics and more existing in the same continuity as the Star Wars movies. This list below doesn't feature everything, but it'll certainly keep you busy – it's pretty much every movie and TV show collated into one canonical order. We'll add the newer Disney Plus Star Wars shows like Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Cassian Andor to this list when they release. For now, we've just added The Bad Batch in May 2021, to reflect the animated series hitting Disney Plus.

  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (set 32 years before A New Hope)
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (set 22 years before A New Hope)
  • The Clone Wars animated movie (represents the start of the animated series)
  • The Clone Wars animated series (begins 22 years before A New Hope, ends 19 years before)
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (set 19 years before A New Hope)
  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch (set immediately after The Clone Wars)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (set about a decade before A New Hope)
  • Star Wars: Rebels animated series (set five years before A New Hope, with an epilogue set much later)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (ends moments before A New Hope)
  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope 
  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (set three years after A New Hope)
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (set four years after A New Hope)
  • The Mandalorian (set around nine years after A New Hope)
  • Star Wars: Resistance animated series (set 34 years after A New Hope onwards)
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (set 34 years after A New Hope)
  • Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (set 34 years after A New Hope)
  • Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (set 35 years after A New Hope)

Put simply, this is the Star Wars order you want if you're curious about how Ahsoka Tano fits into the timeline. It covers all her appearances in The Clone Wars and Rebels, right up to her live-action debut in The Mandalorian. 

In terms of how future Star Wars shows will fit into this viewing order, Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi is set 10 years after Revenge of the Sith – so, reasonably close to the timeframe of Solo. 

Meanwhile, Star Wars: Andor, a spin-off of Rogue One, is set five years before that film, meaning it's pretty close to the timeframe of Rebels. Perhaps we'll even see a crossover in characters between the shows?

A spin-off focused on Lando Calrissian is also in the works, but it's unclear exactly when that's going to be set. Our guess is it'll be connected to the movie Solo in some way, but we can't be sure right now. 

We expect all three The Mandalorian spin-offs, Ahsoka, The Book of Boba Fett and Rangers of the New Republic, to be set before The Force Awakens, just like Mando is. The Acolyte will be set in the High Republic era, years before The Phantom Menace. 

Star Wars: The Machete Order explained

The Machete Order is a well-known viewing order created by Rod Hilton in 2011. It's a way of watching the Star Wars movies without The Phantom Menace, essentially, and shifts how the story is told. It focuses entirely on Luke Skywalker's story, with the idea being that it preserves The Empire Strikes Back's big Darth Vader-shaped twist. Missing Episode I is no bad thing, right?

The Machete Order starts with A New Hope, move on to The Empire Strikes Back, then the first two prequels are watched as a flashback to Anakin's story, before returning to the final battle in Return of the Jedi. It's definitely more of an acquired taste than the other Star Wars lists here, but it's worth a look.

  • Episode IV: A New Hope
  • Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

To continue the Machete Order from there, watch the sequel saga, too:

  • Episode VII: The Force Awakens
  • Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  • Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

What's the best Star Wars order?

The chronological viewing is the best Star Wars viewing order for most people. For one, it doesn't take as long to watch as the ultimate order, which requires an enormous time commitment that'll be a little much for most viewers. 11 movies is enough for a solid Star Wars marathon, and the two spin-offs, Rogue One and Solo, add texture to the universe that you won't necessarily get from the main Star Wars movies. That's the Star Wars order we'd pick in 2021 – but if you've got the time, adding the TV shows will give you plenty to do until new Star Wars shows and movies land.

Star Wars movies on Disney Plus

Disney Plus now has every Star Wars movie available to stream, including The Rise of Skywalker and Solo. These are the Star Wars movies on Disney Plus:

  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones 
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope 
  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi 
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens 
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 
  • Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  • Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker 
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story 

Note that this only applies to Disney Plus in the US, UK and Australia, and that the selection might vary where you are. If you're wondering what other Star Wars shows and various bits of content are on Disney Plus, here's a list of other stuff you can watch on the streamer that's connected to the saga:

  • Star Wars: Rebels
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008 movie)
  • Star Wars: Resistance
  • Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian
  • Various Star Wars Lego specials
  • Empire of Dreams: The Making of the Star Wars Trilogy
  • Star Wars: Forces of Destiny
  • The Story of the Faithful Wookiee
  • Ewoks
  • Ewoks: The Battle For Endor
  • Caravan of Courage

The best Star Wars movies, ranked

Rey and Kylo Ren versus Snoke's guards

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Want to see the Star Wars movies ranked? Below, we've done just that, based on IMDB user scores. We don't think all of the calls below make sense, but that's the price of a public vote – your mileage may vary, but surely no movie featuring the word 'Younglings' is better than The Last Jedi or Solo. 

The Rise of Skywalker score has pretty much stopped on a 6.6, which seems about right.