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The best order to watch all the Star Wars movies and shows

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Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi Photo: John Wilson/Lucasfilm

The Rise of Skywalker is behind us, The Skywalker saga is complete, the Clone Wars animated series has come to an end, we’re between seasons of The Mandalorian, and Taika Waititi just signed on to direct the next big theatrical installment of the franchise. This is to say, there’s never been a better time to catch back up on all things Star Wars, and Disney Plus has nearly every movie and show that’s currently canon (you’ll have to jump to Netflix to watch Solo until it arrives on Disney’s platform in a few months), which should make things easy.

But how to watch it? After George Lucas released his prequel trilogy, Star Wars fans debated the order in which to devour the series. Now, with animated and live-action spinoffs, the “proper” way to watch the Star Wars saga is even more complicated. With all that in mind, here are a few different viewing orders to guide you, whether you’re a longtime fan looking to revisit the films and shows, or a newcomer in need of a Star Wars crash course.

Watching Star Wars in chronological order

young anakin skywalker gives side eye in phantom menace Image: Lucasfilm

This viewing order doesn’t require much explanation. This is how the events of the Star Wars universe happened on the BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) / ABY (After the Battle of Yavin) timeline. It starts with the earliest events and moves forward in time from there. A couple of these may happen simultaneously, but that’s not our fault.

  1. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
  2. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
  3. The Clone Wars animated movie
  4. The Clone Wars animated series
  5. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
  6. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  7. Star Wars Rebels animated series
  8. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  9. Star Wars: A New Hope
  10. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
  11. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
  12. The Mandalorian
  13. Star Wars Resistance season 1
  14. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  15. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  16. Star Wars Resistance season 2
  17. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Watching Star Wars in Skywalker Saga order

Luke Skywalker walking toward the two-sun sunset on Tatooine in Star Wars: A New Hope Image: Lucasfilm

Taking a bit of inspiration from the internet-famous Ernst Rister order — originally taken from a now-deleted forum post — this list uses A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back as setup for the prequel movies, and puts more focus on Luke Skywalker. Viewing the movies and shows this way makes sure that you know where his family came from.

This order diverges from the Skywalker story between Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi, but it gives you a much better context for Anakin’s heroics during the Clone Wars and sets up his redemptive moment of siding with Luke over Emperor Palpatine. As you get into the new trilogy, it continues to put Luke at the center.

  1. Star Wars: A New Hope
  2. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
  3. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
  4. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
  5. The Clone Wars animated movie
  6. The Clone Wars animated series
  7. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
  8. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  9. Star Wars Rebels animated series
  10. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  11. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
  12. The Mandalorian
  13. Star Wars Resistance season 1
  14. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  15. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  16. Star Wars Resistance season 2
  17. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Watching Star Wars in ... galaxy brain order

old han solo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens Image: Lucasfilm

We recommend this playlist for those who’ve seen all of Star Wars enough times that they want to mix things up with a truly weird experience. This doesn’t really complement any one character or storyline so much as the series as a whole. This order should help you catch all the small references from one movie or show and connect them to the next — though you’ll probably still miss a few.

In the first three movies, the focus is on the Rebellion. Then, at its lowest moment, we switch sides to Anakin to see how he became Darth Vader and how the Empire gained control of the galaxy. After that, we see the fall of the Empire in Return of the Jedi, and the aftermath in The Mandalorian.

The last weird piece of this order is repositioning the new trilogy with Han as a more central figure. We see his family struggle in The Force Awakens, and then catch up on his backstory with Solo. This order turns Luke giving Han’s lucky dice to Leia in The Last Jedi into a slightly more important moment, and makes it clear that this is Luke attempting to mend some of the pain he brought to Han’s family.

Note: If you want to go all the way on this order, we recommend watching A New Hope up until the planning meeting for the Battle of Yavin. At that point, swap to Rogue One, watch the whole thing, and then go back to the rest of A New Hope. This way, Rogue One plays a little like a heroic flashback for the Rebellion.

  1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  2. Star Wars: A New Hope
  3. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
  4. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
  5. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
  6. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (the animated movie)
  7. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (the animated series)
  8. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
  9. Star Wars Rebels
  10. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
  11. The Mandalorian
  12. Star Wars Resistance season 1
  13. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  14. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  15. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  16. Star Wars Resistance season 2
  17. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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