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How to watch the Star Wars movies in order

Star Wars movies in order
(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

You don't need the Force to watch the Star Wars movies in order — just a subscription to Disney Plus. Unlike the MCU, which is still splintered in some corners (its Hulk and Spider-Man movies lost on other platforms), Star Wars is more properly organized. And now is as good a time as any to watch the classic Star Wars films, as the return of the classic Jedi master sends fans crawling for the original and prequel trilogies.

Our guide to watching the Star Wars movies in order (which can help you rank the Star Wars movies and TV shows) covers the original trilogy, prequel trilogy and sequel trilogy, plus the standalone spinoffs. They're all available in breathtaking 4K HDR, so keep those dusty VHS and DVD copies in storage for when you want to see the original, unedited versions.

Our rundown explains the multiple ways to watch the Star Wars movies in order, which is mostly a result of the Skywalker Saga's three distinct trilogies being released in a non-chronological manner. We've also got details on how the non-mainline Star Wars movies and TV series fit in. As for what's up next? The Obi-Wan Kenobi show is coming up soon, and it's a high-ranking show on the list of what's new on Disney Plus.

We mentioned the multiple ways of watching the Star Wars movies in order, because there's no truly correct way to consume the franchise (watching them with the coolest Star Wars LEGO and other toys is optimal, though, so check out our guide to the best Star Wars Day deals). Some fans prefer to view them in release order, others prefer chronological timeline order and certain fans enjoy a hybrid of both. Either way, as noted above, it's much easier than watching all of the Marvel movies in order.

But some pople 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 in order

If you’re looking for the easiest and most affordable way to watch the Star Wars movies in order, you should sign up for Disney Plus ($7.99 / £7.99 / $11.99 AUD per month).

Disney’s streaming service has the entire Skywalker Saga (Episodes I-IX) as well as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Solo.

Disney Plus

Disney Plus is the home of most of the Star Wars movies. $7.99 per month, Disney Plus is cheaper than most streaming services and boasts an enormous library that also includes Marvel movies and series, classic animated films and newer hits like The Mandalorian.

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 of story timeline

Star Wars movies in order of story timeline — 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 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 

First suggested by fan Rod Hilton, “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. 

Machete 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, so it doesn’t factor in the sequel trilogy or spin-off films (not to mention later Star Wars series on TV and Disney Plus — more on that below). 

  • 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

Throw out a lot of what you knew about the upcoming Star Wars movies. The December 2022, 2024 and 2026 release windows are now gone. As for the stories those movies will tell, and their directors, some of the deals are locked in, but not all details are official. Here's what we know:

At Disney's 2020 Investors Event, the company confirmed that Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins will direct Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, the next Star Wars movie, coming out in December 22, 2023. This seems to have stood the test of internal issues, as a delay announcement saw Rogue Squadron on hold.

Taika Waititi (What We Do In The Shadows, Thor: Ragnarok) is also going to make a new Star Wars movie, and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy confirmed it at the Investors Event. While Kennedy said that Waititi was still working on the script, The Daily Record reported that production has begun already.

Rian Johnson (The Last Jedi) was 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. But reports suggest those movies are now shelved.

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.

See more

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. No word on this has come out since Feb. 2020.

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

Old and upcoming 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. All seven seasons are 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. 

Star Wars: The Bad Batch: This animated series follows the elite and experimental clones of the Bad Batch, who were first introduced in Clone Wars.

Obi-Wan Kenobi: Find out 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. The show is also bringing back Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Coming May 27, 2022.

Star Wars: Andor: 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, this Western-tinged drama focuses on a lone bounty hunter as he explores a murky post-Empire universe. What will Din Djarin and Grogu do now in season 3?

Star Wars: Ahsoka: Anakin's former Jedi padawan, Ahsoka Tano, debuted in live-action form (played by Rosario Dawson) in The Mandalorian. Now, she gets her own show.

The Book of Boba Fett: The OG bounty hunter made an impressive cameo on The Mandalorian; this spinoff follows Boba and partner-in-buttkicking Fennec Shand. Reviews were mixed, to say the least.

Lando Star Wars series: Details are thin for this project from creator Justin Simien  (Dear White People). We don't even know if Billy Dee Williams or Donald Glover will reprise their role as the charming rogue. 

And if you don't have enough new Star Wars to watch, maybe consider canceling Disney Plus (which you could also do by calling up Disney Plus customer service).

Henry T. Casey
Henry T. Casey

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.