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How to watch the Star Wars movies in order

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

If you want to watch the Star Wars movies in order right now, it's easier than getting into an argument with Han Solo himself. Now that the collective universe watched Disney unified the Star Wars movies inside Disney Plus (where they're all in pristine 4K HDR), that service is practically a must for all Star Wars fans (though there's something to be said for owning your media).

So, now that it's easy to watch them all, we've put together a big guide to explain the multiple ways to watch the Star Wars movies, in orders that vary depending on your experience. We've also got details on how the non-mainline Star Wars movies (and TV series) fit in. And it's normal to need help, as the Skywalker Saga's three distinct trilogies were released in a non-chronological manner, making the proper Star Wars viewing order possibly a bit complicated.

Above, I said the ways there are "multiple ways these movies can be watched in order" because there's no truly correct way to watch all of the Star Wars films. Some fans prefer to view them in release order, others prefer chronological timeline order and certain fans enjoy a hybrid of both. 

Oh, and while it's not strictly an Episode-caliber movie, Disney Plus is streaming The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special. It debuts Nov. 17, 2020, and brings Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie, Rose and a ship full of droids back to Chewbacca's homeworld for the celebration of Life Day.

Other fans, even, like to pretend that certain Episodes didn't exist. With that in mind, we’ve outlined the most popular Star Wars viewing orders for your intergalactic binging pleasure. 

Where to watch the Star Wars movies 

If you’re looking for the most cost-efficient way to watch the Star Wars movies in order, you should sign up for Disney Plus ($6.99 per month/$69.99 per year). As of May 4th (aka Star Wars Day), Disney’s streaming service has the entire Skywalker Saga (Episodes I-IX) as well as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Solo: A Star Wars Story, just came to Disney Plus on July 10, 2020.

Disney Plus is the home of most of the Star Wars movies. $6.99 per month, Disney Plus is cheaper than most streaming services and the bundle with Hulu and ESPN Plus is the same price as Netflix's standard package. However, Disney Plus doesn't make you pay extra for 4K Ultra-HD video with 4 simultaneous streams, which costs an extra $3 on Netflix.View Deal

If you can’t wait to watch Solo, you can currently find that movie on Netflix

Of course, you can also purchase or rent the Star Wars movies a la carte on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play

Star Wars movies in chronological order

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

The Star Wars saga kicked off with Episode IV, then got a prequel trilogy before getting a sequel trilogy, so the storyline is inherently out of order. Chronological order lets you see Star Wars' characters evolve in real time, including Anakin Skywalker's journey from bright-eyed boy to troubled warrior and Obi-Wan Kenobi's transformation from reluctant apprentice to sage Jedi runaway. If you’d prefer to see the Skywalker Saga from its chronological beginnings, here are the Star Wars movies in order of chronological events. 

In parentheses next to each movie, we list when the movie took place before or after the Battle of Yavin. So when we say Episode II — Attack of the Clones is 22 BBY, that means it took place 22 years before the Battle of Yavin. 

And, to help prevent confusion: Rogue One takes place immediately before A New Hope, and The Last Jedi takes place in the direct aftermath of The Force Awakens.

  • Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace (32 BBY)
  • Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones (22 BBY)
  • Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith (19 BBY)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (13 - 10 BBY)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (0 BBY)
  • Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (0 BBY/0 ABY)
  • Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back (3 ABY)
  • Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi (4 ABY)
  • Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens (34 ABY)
  • Star Wars: Episode VIII —The Last Jedi (34 ABY)
  • Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker (35 ABY)

Star Wars movies in order of release date

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

(Image credit: Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Getty )

If you want to experience the Star Wars movies as they came out, release order is the way to go. I’d personally recommend this order for new fans, as you get to witness the natural evolution of the Star Wars saga complete with all of its ups and downs. From the classic 80s sci-fi of the original trilogy, to the messy CGI and questionable acting of the prequels, to the modern glory of The Force Awakens and its divisive sequel, here’s every Star Wars movie in order of release: 

  • 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 movies in machete order 

A viewing order made popular by fans, “machete order” uses a mix of release and chronological order in order to preserve the big twist in The Empire Strikes Back while still providing some backstory via the prequels. The order starts with A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, dips back into Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith for Darth Vader’s origins, and then returns to the present to end the original trilogy in dramatic fashion with Return of the Jedi.

Yes, this order skips The Phantom Menace entirely, as some fans don’t consider the film to be essential to the plot (Sorry, Jar Jar). It’s worth keeping in mind that this order was created many years ago and doesn’t factor in the sequel trilogy or spin-off films, which you can slot in as you see fit.

  • Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977)
  • Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  • Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones (2002)
  • Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith (2005)
  • Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi (1983)

Upcoming Star Wars movies

What we know for sure, oddly, are the three release dates that Disney has already staked out for Star Wars movies: December 16, 2022, December 20, 2024 and December 18, 2026. As for the stories those movies will tell, and their directors, those details aren't locked in yet. Here's what we know:

Rian Johnson (The Last Jedi) is rumored to be a possible director for a full new Star Wars trilogy, though that might ruffle the feathers of those who vocally expressed their negative views about TLJ.

Marvel film president Kevin Feige is signed onto a Star Wars film, which he will helm with Lucasfilm president (talk about an ambitious crossover) Kathleen Kennedy, Variety reported.

Taika Waititi (What We Do In The Shadows, Thor: Ragnarok) is also going to make a new Star Wars movie. Work has begun already, as the crew is ready to film for three days in the Scotland's Highlands, according to The Daily Record

J.D. Dillard (Sleight) and Matt Owens (Luke Cage) are reportedly working on a new Star Wars project that could be in theaters or on Disney Plus.

Solo 2 is not even confirmed, but fans have been asking for it. Reports suggest it won't be a Disney Plus project.

What about the Star Wars TV shows?  

The Mandalorian

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Of course, the Star Wars universe isn’t limited to just the movies, and there are a variety of live-action and animated TV series that serve as canonical entries in the timeline. Better yet, all of them are available on Disney Plus. Here’s a breakdown of where some of the key shows fit in:

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: This popular animated series is set between Episodes II and III, and follows the adventures of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka Tano during the Clone Wars. The show's seventh and final season just wrapped up, and you can watch it all on Disney Plus. 

Star Wars: Rebels: A follow-up to Clone Wars, Rebels sees a rag-tag group of fighters including Kannan Jarrus, Ezra Bridger and Hera Syndulla battle a fledgling Galactic Empire between Episodes III and IV. 

Untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi Series: The upcoming Disney Plus Obi-Wan show will reveal what Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) was up to between Episodes III and IV following the slaughter of the Jedi at the hands of the Empire. 

Untitled Cassian Andor Series: Details are thin on this upcoming Disney Plus original show, but considering that this Rogue One prequel will focus on the adventures of Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and his sassy droid pal K2S0 (Alan Tudyk), we expect it to take place between Episodes III and IV.

The Mandalorian: Taking place five years after Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, The Mandalorian focuses on a lone bounty hunter as he explores a murky post-Empire universe. The story will continue in The Mandalorian season 2, which reportedly will see the return of Boba Fett and the first live-action appearance of Ahsoka Tano. We also just learned a ton of new details about the next season, including the influences it's taking from Game of Thrones and how the Darksaber is just the tip of Moff Gideon's weapons chest.

Star Wars: Resistance: Set just before the events of Episode VII: The Force Awakens, this colorful animated series puts the spotlight on a ragtag group of Resistance pilots.