How to watch the Star Wars movies in the right order

With the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker just around the corner, it's the perfect time to revisit the galaxy far far away

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Harrison Ford as Han Solo in star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Unsheathe your lightsabers – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is hitting theatres on 19th December 2019. The ninth film in the sprawling Star Wars franchise marks the conclusion of the Skywalker saga, which is comprised of three trilogies spanning the period between 1977 and 2019.

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But Star Wars, much like the galaxy itself, is an ever expanding universe. Since Lucasfilm was acquired by Disney in 2012, two prequel/spin-off films have been released (Rogue One and Solo) and The Mandalorian dropped on Disney +, marking Star Wars’ live action TV debut and the birth of Baby Yoda memes.

So, with so many new releases, plus the original trilogy and prequels to consider, what is the best order to rewatch the Star Wars movies in? Well… it depends.

What order should I watch Star Wars in?

Though some sources claim there are up to five different orders you could watch the Star Wars saga in, there are two generally accepted ways to do it. One is in order of episodes (following in-movie chronology) and the other is in order of production (going by release date). Both have their pros and cons.

Watch Star Wars by episode order

  • Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  • Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • Rogue One
  • Episode IV: A New Hope
  • Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 
  • Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • Episode VII: The Force Awakens
  • Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

If you choose to watch Star Wars in this order, you’ll be completely caught up ahead of Rise of Skywalker’s release. It does, however, come with a couple of downsides. For one, the big reveal about Luke’s parentage (one of the most iconic scenes in cinematic history) is ruined this way.

Star Wars Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith
2005 Lucas Films

It also makes the saga’s inconsistencies glaringly obvious, including Obi-Wan forgetting about Leia’s existence despite being present at her birth. And that’s assuming you make it through the divisive prequels, a feat that might require you to use the Force.

Watch Star Wars by production order

  • Episode IV: A New Hope
  • Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 
  • Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  • Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • Rogue One
  • Episode VII: The Force Awakens
  • Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Enjoying Star Wars by release date, aka the purist way, means you watch the films in the same order they originally came out in cinemas. After all, this is how most Star Wars fans experienced the intergalactic saga in the first place. However, George Lucas made more than a few tweaks to the original trilogy following the release of the prequels, and has been vocal about watching them by in-movie chronology instead.

Where can I watch the Star Wars movies?

Subscribers of NOW TV can watch the original trilogy (Episodes IV-VI), the prequels (Episodes I-III) and Solo on the streaming service.

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As for Rogue One and Episodes VII and VIII, they are only available to buy from the usual channels – Amazon, iTunes and Google Play. That is likely to change when Disney+ launches in the UK on 31st March 2020. On Amazon Prime Video the films range in price.