How to Watch the Star Wars Movies in Order

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How to Watch the Star Wars Movies in Order

You can now watch the entirety of the Star Wars franchise with a Disney+ subscription. This includes the original trilogy, the prequel movies, and the sequel series released over the last few years. You can also watch standalone films like Rogue One and Solo, as well as Disney's growing collection of Star Wars TV shows, like The Mandalorian and The Bad BatchThe Bad Batch.

It's never been easier to marathon the whole series, but before you press play on the first movie, it's important to decide your preferred viewing order. Do you start with the original trilogy or the prequel movies? What about the standalone films and the television shows? Here is how to watch Star Wars in order, whichever order you choose.

Chronological Order

 

George Lucas had always intended for the original Star Wars film to be a small part of a much larger story. So just because it was the first film to be released doesn't mean it's the start of the story. Instead of going with release order, you can also try chronological order based on when the movies are supposed to take place.

This would mean starting with Episode I, II, and III of the prequel trilogy, before moving to IV, V, VI of the original movies, then finishing with VII, VIII, IX from the sequels. If you're adding the standalone films, you can fit Rogue One and Solo in between Episodes III and IV, and it should work fine.

However, since this order completely ruins the Darth Vader reveal in the original films, it is not advisable that anyone should watch these movies for the first time in this order. Watching Star Wars in chronological order is more of a fun experiment for longtime fans to see the series from a new perspective.

If you were to watch the Star Wars films in chronological order, it would look like this: 

 

 

 

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Theatrical Release Order

 

The most obvious answer is theatrical release order, since this is how the movies were shown and what George Lucas intended. It starts with the original trilogy, then takes us back to the prequel movies, before finishing with Disney's sequel films.

Following this order, you get the story of Luke overcoming Darth Vader, followed by Vader's origin story, then see Rey pick up the legacy Luke left behind. This can get a little awkward if you intend to add the standalone Star Wars films to your watch party. Going by release date, Rogue One and Solo would interrupt the sequel trilogy.

If you're doing a re-watch and are interested in preserving the storyline of the core movies, just skip these two films. They have no impact on the overarching narrative, anyway. First-timers who want the full experience can certainly watch them in release order, or place the standalone films before or after the sequel trilogy. 

If you want to go by release order, your marathon should look like this:

 

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Machete Order

 

If you have already seen everything in release and chronological order, there's another option to try: Machete Order. This order splits the difference and has you watch Episodes II and III in between Episodes V and VI.  

You start with A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, but then things get wonky. Just after Luke discovers the truth about Darth Vader, turn to the prequels as a flashback sequence. Watch Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith to witness how a young Anakin Skywalker was consumed by the Dark Side, before finishing with Return of the Jedi.

The Machete Order cuts out Phantom Menace entirely, since almost everything in the movie is self-contained and has no effect on the other prequels. Qui-Gon Jinn plays no importance to the greater story. Midi-chlorians are barely mentioned again. You also basically avoid Jar Jar Binks entirely. It isn't perfect, though, so watch at your own risk.

If you're not happy about removing Episode I and are also wondering where the sequel movies fit in here, the original creator of the Machete Order has a suggestion. In an update to his original post, Rod Hilton says to watch Episodes VII, VIII, and IX after the other movies. You can then treat Episode I as an anthology, like Rogue One and Solo.

So if you go by the Machete Order, you would watch the movies as follows: 

 

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Disney's Narrative Timeline

 

But what about the television shows? Star Wars has become more than just movies, with The Clone Wars, Rebels, Resistance, and The Mandalorian arriving in more recent years. While there's no specific watch order for all these different pieces of the Star Wars universe, Disney has released an official timeline.

You probably assumed that The Clone Wars animated series takes place between Episodes II and III, but what about the others? According to Disney, Star Wars: Rebels is set before the events of A New Hope. The Mandalorian takes place after Return of the Jedi but before the Star Wars: Resistance animated series.

If you happen to be crazy enough to watch every movie and show in chronological order, here's what that would look like: 

 

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Best Star Wars Games

 

You could also certainly make the case that some Star Wars video games fit into the franchise's greater canon, but that's a huge ask for anyone other than the most devoted fans. Instead, if you're looking to even more Star Wars goodness, consider some of the best video games from a galaxy far away.

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