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How to watch the Star Wars movies in order

A chronological guide to the Star Wars movies

(Image: © Lucasfilm/Disney)

Star Wars is a big part of the Disney Plus offering, with all of the movies set to land on the streaming service by the end of 2020. Many of them are presented in 4K for the first time, too, including the Original Trilogy of Episodes IV-VI. If you're a fan of media set in a galaxy far, far away, then, Disney Plus is arguably an essential purchase already.

If you're looking to marathon the Star Wars movies before Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in December, below we've listed the Star Wars movies in several different orders. You can check them out in chronological order, as most fans are likely to do, or release order. We've also included the Machete Order, which proposes throwing out Episode I for narrative reasons, and an ultimate order that factors in the TV shows. We've also ranked the Star Wars movies based on user scores, in case you somehow need more opinions on these films. 

We'll explain how the various spin-offs fit into the timeline, like The Mandalorian, The Clone Wars, and even upcoming Disney Plus Star Wars shows. We'll keep this as simple as possible, so you can get on with the important business of watching the movies. 

From pod racing to the end of the Skywalkers, then, here's the chronological order of Star Wars movies. 

Star Wars movies in chronological order

(Image credit: LucasFilm)

Here is the chronological order of Star Wars movies, with The Phantom Menace being the start of the series, leading up to this year's The Rise of Skywalker, which completes what's known as the Skywalker Saga. It's fairly straightforward.

Note that we've kept this to just the live-action movies, but for reference, The Clone Wars animated series and movie are set between Episodes II and III. Star Wars: Rebels is primarily set between Episodes III and IV. The Mandalorian is set between Episodes VI and VII. The upcoming Obi-Wan series will be set between Episodes III and IV. The upcoming Rogue One spin-off about Cassian Andor is set before that movie, and likely after the prequels. The Resistance animated series is set in the sequel trilogy time period. Scroll down to find a viewing order with these put back in.

The official Star Wars timeline uses The Battle of Yavin as a center point of events in that universe. For ease, we'll simply use A New Hope in contextualizing the chronological order of these movies. 

  • 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)
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (set 19 years before A New Hope)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (set about a decade before A New Hope)
  • 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)
  • 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)

Star Wars movies in release order

Rogue One

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

It's less likely you'll want to watch all of the Star Wars movies in release order, given that the prequels are sandwiched between Episodes VI and VII, but here's the order for reference in case you want to do so. It's also a shocking reminder that A New Hope is 42 years old. Also: as much time has passed between The Phantom Menace's release and the present day as A New Hope's release and the Special Edition re-releases in 1997. We're turning to dust as we type this. 

  • 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)

Star Wars: The Machete Order explained

The Machete Order, introduced famously by Rod Hilton in 2011, posits an order with no Episode I at all, keeping the focus on Luke's story. The idea is not to rumble the big twist in The Empire Strikes Back by starting with the prequels. Instead, you start at A New Hope, progress to Empire, then watch two of the three prequels as a kind of flashback to Anakin's story, before the final confrontation in Return of the Jedi. 

It works best if you've never seen Star Wars before, and we won't fight a timeline without The Phantom Menace. 

  • 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

The ultimate Star Wars viewing order, including TV shows

When Disney bought Lucasfilm and the rights to Star Wars, it reset the Expanded Universe continuity that had accumulated up until that point. That meant only the Prequel Trilogy, Original Trilogy and the then-airing The Clone Wars CG animated series remained canonical. Since then, Disney has added significantly to the canon, with books, games, comics and more. For ease, below we've created a viewing order guide that just includes the movies and TV shows, but will take a long time to watch. We'll add the newer Disney Plus Star Wars shows to this when we know exactly when they're set. 

  • 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 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)
  • 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)

Star Wars movies available to stream now

Not every Star Wars movie is on Disney Plus right now, partly because of the rights situation around existing movies, but most of them are. By the end of 2020, too, they should all be on there. Here's what you can watch now in the US, and what'll be added at a later date. 

  • 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 (coming December 25)
  • Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker (likely coming in 2020)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (coming July 9, 2020)

The Star Wars movies, ranked

(Image credit: LucasFilm)

Most Star Wars fans usually have a pretty firm opinion on which films in the series are good and bad, but in case there's any ambiguity, we've put together a guide ranking the Star Wars movies based on IMDB user scores. Your mileage may vary, and, er, surely no movie featuring the word 'Younglings' is better than The Last Jedi or Solo.