Skip to main content

How to watch the Star Wars movies in order

A chronological guide to watching the Star Wars movies in order

Fancy an intergalactic binge-a-thon of all the Star Wars movies in order? With every adventure from far, far away now available on Disney Plus – in 4K and HDR, no less – you can marathon each episode and two spin-offs any time you want. There's plenty of non-movie fare on the platform, too: The Mandalorian season 2 is well underway, if you can stomach the giant worms and ice spiders. Ew.

Whatever you choose, in this guide we'll be explaining how to watch the Star Wars movies order, with both theatrical and chronological orders covered. Chronological one is simple enough: you start with the Phantom Menace (if you really want to) all the way through to The Rise of Skywalker (again, if you really want to). That said, the two spin-offs, Rogue One and Solo, do complicate things a bit. Don't get us started on how shows like Clone Wars and Rebels muck things up further, too.

Either way, we're here to help you watch the Star Wars movies in order. That includes the chronological order we outlined above, plus the theatrical order, and the ultimate one featuring pretty much everything, spin-offs and shows all. Not forgetting the infamous Machete Order – more on that below – let's get into it. Here's how to watch the Star Wars movies in order.

Star Wars movies in chronological order

Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

The chronological order of the Star Wars movies is likely the droids... sorry, the order you're looking for. Below you'll find every Star Wars movie, plus the two spin-offs, Solo and Rogue One, arranged in order. In our opinion, this is the best way to enjoy the films. 

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, so you have a bit of context on when events take place.

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

As a quick explainer, The Clone Wars animated movie and series are set between Episodes II and III, and end they during Revenge of the Sith (or slightly after, in the case of The Clone Wars' final Darth Vader scene). Star Wars: Rebels is essentially set between Episodes III and IV. The Mandalorian is definitely set between Episodes VI and VII. Upcoming series The Bad Batch will be set after The Clone Wars. 

The upcoming Obi-Wan series will be set between Episodes III and IV. The upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story spin-off about Cassian Andor is confirmed to be set five years before Rogue One, and therefore after the prequels and before the original trilogy. The Resistance animated series is set in the sequel trilogy time period, so it runs concurrently with The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Again, check out our ultimate Star Wars viewing order below for a full breakdown. 

Star Wars movies in release order

Kylo Ren and Rey fighting in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

(Image credit: Disney)

Want to relive the moments you first saw the Star Wars movies in cinemas? The overwhelming excitement of the first films, followed by the disappointment of the prequels? Only for them to be redeemed (somewhat) by the new batch featuring Rey and Kylo Ren?

Watching the Star Wars movies in release order is an unusual way to do it since the timelines get a little muddled, but each to their own. Here's how to watch the Star Wars movies in release order, going back 43 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.  (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. We'll add the newer Disney Plus Star Wars shows like Obi-Wan, The Bad Batch and Cassian Andor to this list when they release. 

  • 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)
  • 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: The Machete Order explained

THE MANDALORIAN SEASON 2 RECAPS

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Remind yourself what's happened so far with our recap of The Mandalorian season 2 episode 1, The Mandalorian season 2 episode 2 and The Mandalorian season 2 episode 3.

The Machete Order is one created by Rod Hilton in 2011. It's a way of watching the Star Wars movies in order without the Phantom Menace. It focuses entirely on Luke Skywalker's story, with the idea being that The theory is that it preserves The Empire Strikes Back's big twist. It also misses out a pretty terrible film, by all accounts. 

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 the final battle in Return of the Jedi.

  • 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?

We think chronological viewing is the best Star Wars viewing order, for a few reasons. For one, it doesn't take as long to watch as the ultimate order, which requires a massive time commitment that'll be a little much for most people. 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 2020. 

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 it might vary where you are. 

The best Star Wars movies, ranked

Rey and Kylo Ren versus Snoke's guards

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

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

The Rise of Skywalker score has settled on a 6.7, which seems about right.