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How to watch the Star Wars movies in order

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

Star Wars day is here, and there's never been a better time to watch all of the Star Wars movies in order. Now that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has finally hit Disney Plus, it's easier than ever to binge the entire Skywalker Saga from beginning to end.

And if you're wondering where the non-mainline Star Wars movies (as well as the shows) fit in, we've got you covered. However, with three distinct trilogies released out of chronological order, finding the proper Star Wars viewing order can seem daunting for new fans.

There’s technically no “right” way to watch all of the Star Wars films — some fans like to watch them in release order, others prefer chronological timeline order, and certain fans enjoy a hybrid of both. 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, hits Disney Plus on July 9, 2020.

Disney Plus will soon be the home of all 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

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker went on sale well ahead of the scheduled March 17 release date, dropping on March 13. Currently available for digital purchase in 4K, you can watch the end of the Skywalker Saga from the comfort of your own home. 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. 

  • 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)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
  • 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 VII — The Force Awakens (2015)
  • Star Wars: Episode VIII —The Last Jedi (2017)
  • Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

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. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news and that it's unclear as to whether or not this could become the same Star Wars film that Feige is signed on for.

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.

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.