The order in which things were released is not the order in which they happen on the Star Wars timeline.
With more Star Wars always on the way, you’ll need help to schedule a rewatch of the entire franchise. But the order in which things were released is not the order in which they happen on the Star Wars timeline.
So we’ve put together the entire saga of Star Wars in chronological order, including movies that don’t fit into the nine-episode series but are part of the Star Wars universe, as well as the animated series and, yes, the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special.
This is how to watch Star Wars in chronological order. Expand each list item for more detail on the title.
1. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
While A New Hope was the first movie released in the series, The Phantom Menace is the saga’s actual chronological beginning. The story is set 32 years before A New Hope and introduces fans to a young Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) as he is being trained in all things Jedi by Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson).
This is also our first introduction to Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), a nine-year-old who, as we all know, eventually becomes Darth Vader. Natalie Portman joins the series here, Queen Padmé Amidala.
The Phantom Menace is a movie busy with politics. The Trade Federation has cut off every route to the planet Naboo, so Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are assigned to settle this issue, and they stumble upon Anakin along the way. Phantom Menace is perhaps best remembered, infamously, as the place we met one of the most reviled characters in Star Wars history: Jar Jar Binks.
2. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
Attack of the Clones is set 10 years after The Phantom Menace and 22 years before A New Hope. Ten years is a long time, and Anakin is now a young man. Both he and Obi-Wan are called upon after an assassination attempt on Senator Padmé Amidala.
After a second attempt on her life, Anakin is tasked to guard Padmé as she travels back to Naboo while Obi-Wan is sent to investigate the attempts on Padmé’s life. Obi-Wan ends up on Kamino, where he discovers the Republic is producing a clone army.
There may be too much going on in Attack of the Clones, where the love story between Padmé and Anakin seems stilted and wooden at best. But for all its negatives, it does set up the beginning of Anakin’s turn toward the dark side.
3. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2014, 2020)
Clone Wars is an animated series that first began as a theatrical release and then went on to the Cartoon Network, where it ran for five seasons. A sixth season was produced and aired on Netflix. A 7th season was then shown on Disney+.
If you’re watching Star Wars in chronological order, then this story is set during the three years between Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
The series began by telling many stand-alone stories that captured the flavor of the time between Episode II and III. As the seasons moved on, the stories had a little more diplomatic feel to them, moving away from the battleground. All along, though, the series moved Anakin closer and closer to the dark side.
4. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Episode III begins three years after the events of Attack of the Clones and is set 19 years before A New Hope. While the title calls for revenge, this story is about many beginnings. It has Palpatine’s revelation that he is Sith Lord Darth Sidious.
It has the birth of Darth Vader at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi. It has the construction of the Death Star, and it has the birth of Luke and Leia, taking us to the middle three stories we all know and love.
5. Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
This project saw many changes before audiences made it the lowest-grossing Star Wars franchise film. The story is set about a decade before A New Hope and tells how Han Solo met Chewbacca and won the Millennium Falcon from smuggler Lando Calrissian.
The film is also noteworthy for showing Han’s famous Kessel Run. If you’re watching Star Wars in chronological order, then this is your first look at Han Solo.
6. Star Wars: Rebels (2014-2018)
Star Wars: Rebels is another animated Star Wars series introducing a whole new set of characters who don’t show up in any of the live-action Star Wars movies. It is set five years before A New Hope filling in the gap between Episode III and IV.
The story is about young rebels who come together on the starship Ghost. They learn together and travel the galaxy together to fight the Empire.
7. Andor (2022)
If Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was a winner in your book, then Andor will be as well. The 12-episode Disney+ series is a prequel to Rogue One and is set five years prior to those events and also those of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
Here we get a more gritty look at Star Wars as we are reintroduced to Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna. When we first meet Andor, he is a thief who is reluctant to get himself involved with the Rebellion.
As events quickly unfold, we get to see Andor go from a jaded thief to a revolutionary, the man who gives everything for the cause. Andor shows a side of Star Wars that we’ve rarely seen, which in this case, is a good thing.
8. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Rogue One is another stand-alone Star Wars and another which required extensive reshoots. The final product received much better fanfare than Solo did.
It tells the story of Jyn, whose father became the lead engineer on the Empire’s Death Star. Jyn, along with intelligence officer Cassian Andor, race to steal the Death Star plans before it can be completed.
If you’re looking at Star Wars in chronological order, then this story ends moments before A New Hope and introduces both Princess Leia and Darth Vader.
9. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
The one that started it all. This movie has everything. Heroes, villains, romance, action, and adventure.
Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie were the talk of the town back in 1977 as George Lucas introduced us to a spectacle of special effects and edge-of-the-seat excitement.
10. Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
This Holiday Special was made for TV and was intended to bridge the gap between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. It starred the main cast from A New Hope and also introduced the world to bounty hunter and fan favorite Boba Fett.
The story follows Han Solo and Chewie as they attempt to visit Chewie’s homeworld to celebrate “Life Day.” The world was also introduced to Chewie’s father Itchy, and his wife, Malla. They also met Chewie’s son, Lumpy.
Was it that bad? Unfortunately, yes, yes, it was. Still, it’s part of watching Star Wars in chronological order.
11. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The series got back on track with what most consider the best entry in the entire franchise. Set three years after A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back brings Luke, Leia, and Han back together along with Chewie, C3PO, and R2D2.
The Death Star has been destroyed, but that hasn’t stopped Darth Vader. Vader continues his search for Leia’s Rebel Alliance while Luke finds himself on the planet Dagobah, where he learns the ways of the Force from Yoda.
This all leads to the climactic battle between Luke and Vader, where Vader reveals to Luke, “I am your father.” This Star Wars entry introduced the original owner of the Millenium Falcon, Lando Calrissian.
12. Star Wars: Ewok Adventures (1984-85)
The Ewok Adventures were comprised of two made-for-TV movies, Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. The first, Caravan of Courage, tells the story of a family whose spaceship crashes on Endor. Two children find themselves separated from their parents, who have been taken by a vicious monster called the Gorax. The kids encounter the Ewoks and convince them to help rescue their parents.
The second, The Battle for Endor, follows one child from the first Ewok adventure, Cindel, as she helps the Ewoks retrieve a power supply stolen by marauders, who think the power supply is magical. Both TV movies were met with a lukewarm response but are considered part of the Star Wars family and fit into the chronology.
13. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
The culmination of Episodes IV and V is told in this final entry of the original trilogy set four years after A New Hope. A second Death Star is being built to destroy the Rebel Alliance for good.
Luke first must battle Jabba the Hut and his group of henchmen before he can help destroy the second Death Star. More romance, action, and adventure await our heroes.
The battle between light and dark with Luke plays large in this story as Luke also attempts to turn Vader away from the dark side.
14. The Mandalorian (2019)
Hailed by many as a return to the original spirit of Star Wars, this Jon Faverau-created series for Disney+ is a hit. The Mandalorian is set around nine years after A New Hope and revolves around the Mandalorian, a bounty hunter who looks a lot like Boba Fett but is not Boba Fett.
The series is ongoing and has taken the Mandalorian to many places and many adventures. His first “job” was to track down a bounty that turned out to be a baby from the same species as Yoda. Thus the Baby Yoda memes were born.
The first season comprises eight episodes and it has already been greenlit for a second season which will no doubt fit right after this first season if you’re watching Star Wars in chronological order.
15. The Book of Boba Fett (2021)
It is amazing how far we have come with a Star Wars character that barely registered a blip in the original Star Wars trilogy. Yet, somehow, Boba Fett caught the attention of many, and now, fans get their wish with The Book of Boba Fett.
The series brings our favorite (sorry Han) bounty hunter back from the depths of the Sarlacc pit to claim what he feels is rightfully his – the territory once controlled by the infamous Jabba the Hut.
Temuera Morrison stars as Boba Fett, a clone of his father Jengo Fett (Morrison played Jengo Fett in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones). The Book of Boba Fett is set between the events of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi and the second season of The Mandalorian.
It tells how Fett, along with Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), goes about taking over Jabba’s territory. The only complaint with this series, surprisingly, is that there wasn’t enough Boba Fett.
16. Star Wars: Resistance (2018)
Another animated series set in the Star Wars universe, Resistance finds itself 34 years after A New Hope. The series of shorts brings in Resistance Commander Poe Dameron, from the new trilogy, as he recruits a young New Republic pilot, Kazuda Xiono, for missions to help bring down the First Order.
17. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Set 34 years after A New Hope, the new trilogy was expected to bring big things to the Star Wars universe. Financially it did, but the storyline and the death of Han Solo didn’t sit well with many Star Wars fans who felt its story was simply a rehash of A New Hope. Many others weren’t enamored with the new characters introduced and the lack of a strong villain angered fans.
But, over 2 billion dollars is hard to argue with and this JJ Abrams-directed film was received with great critical praise. The Force Awakens story follows a new group of characters as they battle the First Order. Leia returns and is searching for her brother Luke, who has been missing for a long time.
18. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)
In what may be the most divisive film in the entire series, The Last Jedi is set 34 years after A New Hope. Following Rey’s meeting with Luke, Luke must decide how much a part he wants to play in helping the Resistance against the First Order. This film won over critics but did not sit well with fans. Rian Johnson (Knives Out) wrote and directed a story that many felt took away from the spirit of the original trilogy.
The controversial ending to The Last Jedi only sets up what’s to come next.
19. Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Rise of Skywalker is the conclusion of the current Star Wars chapter. Set 35 years after A New Hope it sees the return of Rey, Cameron Poe, Finn, and bad guy Kylo Ren. Our review of the film called it “a wildly mixed bag” and says that “while some arcs conclude in a satisfying fashion, others are hasty, don’t stick the landing, or try to please everyone.”