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Star Wars in Chronological Order: What Order to Watch the Films and Shows?

Star Wars in Chronological Order: What Order to Watch the Films and Shows?

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For those new to Star Wars, it can be confusing to work out which movie or TV series to watch first.

Start with the oldest film? That’s Episode IV. The Disney Plus shows? They’re set before the most recent movies.

What about the animated series, are they just for kids? Or can adults enjoy them too?

While there’s no official right answer, most fans would agree the best way to watch Star Wars is to begin with the original trilogy.

These three films are the heart of the Star Wars universe and a major part of movie history. The rest of the films and TV series should then be watched in chronological order.

Best Star Wars Watch order (spoilers!)

The list below is the chronological order of Star Wars films, live-action, and animated TV series. As per the red arrow, it’s best to begin with the original trilogy.

Star Wars films and shows in order
The Chronological order of Star Wars films and shows. Begin with the Original Trilogy, circled in red.

Beginning with Star Wars: A New Hope will help introduce you to the main themes and characters of Star Wars.

There are a number of big reveals in the original trilogy that will be spoiled by watching in chronological order.

These include Darth Vader being Luke Skywalker’s father, Princess Leia Luke’s twin sister, and Yoda’s identity.

Watch Order NameMedia Type
1. Star Wars Episode IV: A New HopeFilm, Skywalker Saga
2. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes BackFilm, Skywalker Saga
3. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the JediFilm, Skywalker Saga
4. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom MenaceFilm, Skywalker Saga
5. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the ClonesFilm, Skywalker Saga
6. The Clone WarsAnimated series/film
7. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of The SithFilm, Skywalker Saga
8. The Bad BatchAnimated series
9. Obi-Wan KenobiLive action series
10. Solo: A Star Wars StoryFilm, anthology
11. Star Wars RebelsAnimated series
12. AndorLive action series
13. Rogue OneFilm, anthology
14. The MandalorianLive action series
15. The Book of Boba FettLive action series
16. Star Wars ResistanceAnimated series
17. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force AwakensFilm, Skywalker Saga
18. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last JediFilm, Skywalker Saga
19. Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of SkywalkerFilm, Skywalker Saga

You can decide how deep you want to go – whether you want to watch just the nine Skywalker saga films or every bit of official Star Wars media ever released.

Or perhaps do a deep dive into your favorite era – prequels, originals, or sequels – after finishing the main films.

But first, let’s get to know the difference between the prequels and the sequels, Rebels, and Resistance.

What are the different kinds of Star Wars films and TV shows?

The first Star Wars film was made almost 50 years ago. Since then, there have been 11 theatrical films, four live-action TV series, one animated film, four animated TV series (with more to come), and many short spin-off series for children.

There are many more films and shows in production or scheduled for the future.

Most of Star Wars is set during the three-generation Skywalker saga, spanning 67 years.

The Original Trilogy – Episodes IV, V and VI of the Skywalker Saga

Watch Order: 1, 2, 3

Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi posters
The original Star Wars trilogy.

Made between 1977 and 1983, the original trilogy focuses on Luke Skywalker.

The first film, Star Wars, was retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in 1981. It was followed by The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983).

Writer and Director George Lucas has made several “special editions” and “remasters” of the trilogy.

These are mostly CGI changes to update the original films’ special effects. However, many of the changes were not popular with fans.

If you are new to Star Wars, it doesn’t particularly matter which version of the original trilogy you watch – none of the changes add much to the plot (for better or for worse). 

The Prequel trilogy – Episodes I, II and III of the Skywalker Saga 

Watch Order: 4, 5, 7

The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith
The Star Wars prequel trilogy.

The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005) are known as the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

They focus on the story of Luke’s father, Anakin Skywalker, and his fall to the dark side.

The trilogy, with the exception of Revenge of the Sith, was not well received by critics or fans.

The generation who grew up on the prequels, however, have retrospectively spread recognition of the films as an essential part of Star Wars canon.

The Sequel trilogy – Episodes VII, VIII and IX of the Skywalker saga

Watch Order: 17, 18, 19

The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker posters
The Star Wars sequel trilogy.

The most recent theatrical Star Wars films are the sequel trilogy – The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017) and The Rise of Skywalker (2019).

The films tell the story of Rey, a desert scavenger who becomes a Jedi. They also explore the legacy of Luke, Leia, Han, and the Galactic Empire.

The sequel trilogy was made by Disney following their purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012.

While mostly well received by critics, the trilogy was divisive amongst Star Wars fans. As with the prequels, it’s likely the sequels will become more popular as younger viewers grow up.

The Star Wars Anthology films

Watch Order: 10, 13

Rogue One and Solo
The Star Wars Anthology films.

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) and Rogue One (2016) are standalone films supporting the original trilogy.

Rogue One is set (literally just seconds) before A New Hope, telling the story of how the Rebel Alliance stole the Death Star plans. It was a critical box office success.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is an origin story for Han Solo, focusing on how he met Chewbacca and acquired the Millennium Falcon.

It performed poorly at the box office. Following its release, Disney abandoned plans for more Star Wars Anthology films.

They instead focused on developing content for its new TV streaming service, Disney Plus.

Star Wars Live-Action series

Star Wars Disney Plus shows - live action
The Star Wars live action TV series.

Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022)

Watch Order: 9

Originally planned as an anthology film, Obi-Wan Kenobi is about the latter’s life 10 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith.

Ewan MacGregor and Hayden Christianson reprise their roles and – to the delight of fans everywhere – once again cross lightsabers.

The series also prominently features a young Princess Leia along with original characters like Reva Sevander and Tala Durith.

Andor (2022)

Watch Order: 12

A series about young Cassian Andor, one of the main protagonists of Rogue One, and the beginnings of the Rebel Alliance. Mon Mothma, from Return of the Jedi, is also a main character.

The Mandalorian (2019)

Watch Order: 14

Set six years after Return of the Jedi, The Mandalorian chronicles the adventures of Din Djarin and ‘Baby Yoda’ Grogu.

The series was a huge success, with a second season in 2020. A third season is also currently in production.

The Mandalorian mixed original characters with appearances from fan favourites. These included Luke Skywalker, Boba Fett and also Ahsoka Tano, the latter in her first live-action appearance.

Read more: Yoda vs Grogu: Are They Related?

The Book of Boba Fett (2021)

Watch Order: 15

A seven-part “spin-off” from The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett explores the titular character’s adventures on Tatooine.

The story also includes flashbacks to how Boba escaped the sarlacc from Return of the Jedi, and his time living with a Tusken Raider tribe.

Episodes five, six and seven prominently feature Din Djarin and Grogu, and are essential viewing prior to season three of The Mandalorian.

Star Wars Animated Series and Film

Star Wars animated shows
The Star Wars animated series.

The Clone Wars (2003 series, 2008 film and series)

Watch Order: 6

Set mostly in between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, The Clone Wars is the largest Star Wars spinoff to date.

The animated series introduced hugely popular characters such as Ahsoka Tano, Cad Bane and Captain Rex.

The 2003 series were mostly three-minute shorts made for Cartoon Network.

Following that, The Clone Wars was rebooted in 2008 with a theatrically released animated film. Seven seasons with 133 episodes followed.

The Bad Batch (2021)

Watch Order: 8

A spin-off from The Clone Wars, The Bad Batch explores the adventures of five elite clone troopers after the events of Revenge of the Sith.

They are also joined by Omega, a young female clone. Season one of the Bad Batch had 16 episodes, with season two premiering in 2022.

Star Wars Rebels (2014)

Watch Order: 11

This four-season series is about original and existing characters within the Rebel Alliance.

The 75 episodes of Star Wars Rebels are set 14 years after Revenge of the Sith and five years before A New Hope. 

Popular new characters introduced in Rebels include Jedi Ezra Bridger and Mandalorian warrior Sabine Wren. Rebels also reintroduced Star Wars Legends character Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Star Wars Resistance (2018)

Watch Order: 16

Set just before, during and around The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, Star Wars Resistance is about an X-wing pilot recruited to spy on the First Order. The series ran for two seasons and had 40 episodes.

Animated kids’ series and non-canon shows

Star Wars for kids
Some of the many animated Star Wars shows for kids, or non-canon.

There are numerous animated Star Wars shorts made for children, or not canon.

These are not included in this article’s chronological order of Star Wars films and show, as it would otherwise be too long. Examples include:

  • Ewoks (1985) and Droids (1985) – The first two animated Star Wars spin-offs. Ewoks, which ran for two seasons and 26 episodes, was set prior to the events of Return of the Jedi. Droids was about the adventures of C-3PO and R2-D2, and ran for one season with 13 episodes.
  • Forces of Destiny (2017) – animated shorts focused on female Star Wars characters. There were two seasons with 32 episodes made for the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel.
  • Star Wars Roll Out (2019) – a web series for the Star Wars Kids YouTube channel. The 16 episodes were short, humorous stories with characters drawn in the style of BB-8.
  • Star Wars: Visions (2021) – an anthology series of nine original Star Wars stories, made as amines by multiple Japanese animation studios. A second season will be released in 2023.

Whether you just want to watch the movies, the shows, or every single episode of The Clone Wars, the Star Wars universe offers a huge range of stories for everyone.

Ground yourself by beginning with the 1977 Star Wars: A New Hope. And then, as Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Luke – “Feel, don’t think, use your instincts”.

Enjoy your time in the Galaxy far, far away.