Best Order To Watch All The Star Wars Movies

Best Order To Watch All The Star Wars Movies
Han Solo and Chewbaaca pose for the papparazi

Best Order To Watch All The Star Wars Movies


What is the best order to watch the Star Wars movies?

After the prequels were released, a serious debate arose amongst Star Wars fans. Which order should the movies be viewed in? With the release of five additional movies since then, this question has only gotten more difficult to answer.

This article will bring you the ultimate Star Wars movie viewing order, including the two stand-alone films.


11. Solo - 2018 (watch first)

Han Solo discovers the horrors of war.

Solo tells the origins of loveable scoundrel Han Solo. Based loosely on the Han Solo Trilogy by Ann C. Crispin, the movie begins in Corellia with Han working for a crime lord named Lady Proxima. Han would be forced to leave his home, and his girlfriend Qi'ra, after getting in a fight with Proxima. He would spend several years in the Imperial Army, before meeting and rescuing Chewbacca. The two would be recruited into a gang of thieves and enrolled in an elaborate heist that would lead to Han and Chewbacca going Solo, setting them on the path to meet Luke Skywalker and Ben Kenobi in A New Hope.

Solo has virtually nothing to do with the other movies in the series, other than featuring three characters with previous appearances. As such, it is the least important movie in the franchise and could easily be skipped. However, one might consider it the start of the Galactic Empire Era of movies, and it should be viewed first.


10. Rogue One - 2016

Darth Vader steals the show from the heroes.

Rogue One tells the tale of the Rebels that stole the original Death Star plans. The film follows Jyn Erso as she witnesses her mother killed and her father abducted by the Empire, her forcible recruitment into the Rebel Alliance, and her eventual sacrifice for the greater good. Jyn teams up alongside the roguish Caddian Andor, wise-cracking Droid K-2SO, blind monk Chirrut Imwe, reluctant warrior Baze Malbus, and former Imperial pilot Bodhi Rook. Together they can steal the plans on the planet Scarif, but none can make it out alive.

Rogue One is a prequel taking place just before the events of A New Hope. It features only a few characters from the Original Trilogy and is essentially a stand-alone film like Solo. Much like Solo, it could be skipped without losing out on the Star Wars experience. However, the film's ending takes place mere seconds before A New Hope begins. It also features one of the coolest scenes in the franchise in the final few minutes. 


9. A New Hope - 1977

The Rebel Alliance launches an attack on The Death Star.

In A New Hope, we are introduced to C-3P0 and R2-D2 as the ship they are on I'd attacked by the evil Empire. Princess Leia is taken Prisoner, while the Droids escape to the planet Tatooine and are eventually acquired by Luke Skywalker. Soon Luke is sent on a quest to Alderaan with the former Jedi Ben Kenobi, smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca, and of course the Droids. Instead, Alderaan is destroyed by the Empire, while our heroes have been captured themselves. All of them manage to escape, however, along with Princess Leia, except for Kenobi who sacrifices himself so Luke can escape.

The story of Star Wars began with A New Hope. It is the proper beginning of the franchise and should be the first movie viewed after the spinoffs. It establishes the base of the Star Wars universe and introduces the characters that the overall narrative will revolve around. Even though the prequels star other creatures, those films serve to heighten the story started in A New Hope.


7. The Phantom Menace - 1999

Darth Maul attacks Qui Gon Jin on Tatooine.

The planet of Naboo has had a naval blockade put in place by the Trade Federation, leading to Jedi Master Qui Gon Jin and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi's arrival on the scene. The Trade Federation attempted to kill the Jedi, leading them to try and warn the Naboo people of an incoming attack. From there, they escape the planet with Queen Amidala, Jarjar Binks, and several others. After making an emergency landing on the planet Tatooine, they meet a young Anakin Skywalker, who is a slave owned by an alien named Watto. Qui Gon makes a gamble that frees Anakin and gets them off the planet, eventually leading to Anakin being taken in by the Jedi Order.

After seeing Luke leave his home and join the Rebel Alliance, it is time to watch Anakin leave his home to become a Jed. Watching The Phantom Menace right after A New Hope is important to see the parallels between Anakin and Luke. This also saves the shock of a later scene to hit even closer to home and helps establish early on just how similar and different Luke and Anakin are from one another.


8. The Empire Strikes Back - 1980

Luke Skywalker confronts Darth Vader in Cloud City.

Three years have passed since the Battle of Yavin, and tensions are high between our heroes. As Han Solo plans on leaving, the Empire attacks, separating Luke from his friends. Luke journeys to the planet of Dagoba to receive Jedi training from Yoda, while the others are chased by the Empire before eventually reaching Bespon where they believe Lando Calrissian will offer them sanctuary. Instead, Lando is forced to sell them to the Empire, and Luke forsakes the rest of his training to save them. The movie ends with what can only be described as a complete failure for the heroes, who are left broken and powerless.

While the original Star Wars may have seemed like a stand-alone film, a sequel came just a few years later. It showed that despite the Rebel's success in the previous film, they were still on the run from the powerful Empire. Watching just after The Phantom Menace serves to give space between the viewings, helping the audience appreciate the time skip. It also helps the shock factor hit even better after seeing young Anakin.


6. Attack of The Clones - 2002

The Grand Army of The Republic arrives to save the day.

Padme Amidala, now a senator, is being targeted for assassination. Anakin takes her to Naboo to protect her, only for a romance to begin to bloom between them. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan tracks the attempted assassin to the planet of Kamino, where an entire Clone army has mysteriously been made for the Republic. The assassin, Jango Fett, lures Obi-Wan to Geonosis where he is captured. Padme and Anakin are captured soon after, leading to the Galactic Republic’s intervention and the start of the Clone Wars.

Coming off the reveal that Darth Vader is Anakin Skywalker, you should now watch Anakin's rise through the Jedi Order then fall to the Dark Side. This movie sets up how the Jedi will eventually be destroyed and parallels Luke's dismemberment with Anakin's. It also shows how the Dark Side was always a part of Anakin, and how he gave into it rather than fight it.


5. Revenge of The Sith- 2005

Anakin Skywalker leads the 501st Legion in an attack on the Jedi Temple.

Chancellor Palpatine has been kidnapped by the nefarious Count Dooku and General Grievous. Anakin and Obi-Wan rush to save him above Coruscant, as a fierce battle rages across space and on the planet itself. While the pair are successful, none know that Palpatine is secretly Darth Sidious, and he plans for the war to come to a swift end. By the time the Jedi realize his true identity, it is too late. Sidious executes contingency Order 66, and the Clone army mercilessly guns down their Jedi allies across the galaxy.

Continuing the flashback sequence, you should go straight into Revenge of The Sith. This film completes Anakin's fall to the Dark Side and shows exactly why Obi-Wan Kenobi was hanging around on Tatooine. It also tells the audience just how broken Vader is, both physically and emotionally. 


4. Return of The Jedi - 1983

Our heroes engage in their escape plan from Jabba The Hutt.

A year after The Empire Strikes Back, our heroes embark on a mission to rescue Han Solo from Jabba The Hutt. Once successful, they set on a mission to destroy the new Death Star in the Endor system. Luke Skywalker must face Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine alone, while the others head to the forest moon to take the battle to the Empire.

With the flashback movies complete, you are ready to complete the Original Trilogy. Everything is brought to a close, from Han's abduction to Vader's anguish. Luke does what his father never could, and he had previously failed to do and defeats the Dark Side. He strikes down Vader but chooses not to kill him, not to continue the cycle of hate and violence. The Empire is defeated not just by some humble farm boy, but a true Jedi Knight, saving the galaxy from ruin.


3. The Force Awakens - 2015

Kylo Ren fights Finn and Rey outside Starkiller Base.

34 years have passed since Return of The Jedi. The Resistance is at war with The First Order, a reformed Empire. We meet defector Finn, scrapper Rey, and pilot Poe as they are drawn together to fight the First Order. Leading many of the new Stormtroopers is Kylo Ren, a quick to anger and childish warrior with a crimson crossguard lightsaber.

Following Return of The Jedi, you can now move straight on to the sequels. The Force Awakens is first, kicking off with a rather dark opening sequence. Despite the large time skip, familiar characters seem to be in their classic roles, with newcomers taking the roles of others. This movie is also eerily similar in plot to A New Hope.


2. The Last Jedi - 2017

Captain Phasma attempts to execute Finn and Rose.

Starting just after The Force Awakens, Rey has gone to receive Jedi training from Luke Skywalker while The Resistance is being torn apart by The First Order. Finn and newcomer Rose attempt to gather allies to save their fleet and Kylo Ren becomes increasingly frustrated with his organization. 

After The Force Awakens, you can move straight onto The Last Jedi. Similar to The Force Awakens, the plot of this film is very similar to The Empire Strikes Back. There is no need to watch anything between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi since there were no other movies released between the events, or tied into them.


1. The Rise of Skywalker - 2019 (watch last)

Rey fights Kylo Ren for the last time.

Somehow, Palpatine has returned. Kylo Ren rushes across the galaxy to find answers, while the Resistance attempts to stop whatever horrible plan Palpatine has. Finn and Poe gather allies, Rey uncovers clues to her heritage, and Lando Calrissian is finally there. Ultimately, the entire galaxy must come together in order to defeat Palpatine once and for all.

Finally, you are ready for The Rise of Skywalker. This was the last Star Wars film to be released and is the last movie in the chronology. Until they release new movies, this is where you should end your film watching. If hungry for more though, there is still Disney+ shows such as The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and The Bad Batch that take place across the timeline.

You may also be interested in:

More on this topic:

Experienced gamer. Loves horror, RPGs, and tactical combat. She has been a creative geek for years, becoming an expert in various gaming and pop culture topics.
Gamer Since: 2005
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Knights of The Old Republic 2, Rimworld, Stray
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin, XCOM 2, Dishonored 2

More Top Stories