With all the excitement over upcoming Star Wars spinoffs, now is a great time to catch up on anything you may have missed. The expansive universe of the galaxy far, far away is packed with lore, and most of the stories are deeply intertwined. Many Star Wars shows and movies can be enjoyed as standalone pieces, but the impact overall is significant when you understand why things are happening and how each individual production is connected to others. Of course, this introduces a slight issue: with so much media in the franchise, where do you start? What’s the timeline, and how do you enjoy it all from start to finish?
Fortunately, we can clear that up! Like the MCU timeline, the Star Wars cinematic universe features several entries — you’ll want to clear your schedule for a dedicated binge day. From the earliest days of the High Republic to the revival of the once-fallen Jedi, you can experience this incredible universe as one cohesive string. Feeling the pull of the Force? Here’s how to watch every Star Wars film and show in chronological order.
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
The Phantom Menace is the starting point for the entire franchise. Here, we meet young Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, two Force-users taken under the wing of Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn. The film shows us the early days of galactic political unrest and introduces many important characters, including Padmé Amidala, Chancellor Palpatine, the Sith, and the Jedi Council.
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
Directly following Phantom Menace, this film shows Anakin and Obi-Wan uncovering deeply-rooted political conspiracies as they train in the Jedi Order. Attack of the Clones introduces us to some of the most pivotal villains in the story, gives us a deeper insight into each character’s backstory, and shows the development of Padmé and Anakin’s relationship.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
The Clone Wars is an animated series that takes place between the events of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. We see more of the war between the Republic and Confederacy, and we get a deeper look at the Clone Troopers who are caught between the two forces. The show also gives us a look at the unseen adventures of almost every character from the Prequel Trilogy, in addition to the introduction of new ones who would later return in different Star Wars films and series, like Anakin’s Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano.
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
The third and final film in the Star Wars prequels, Revenge of the Sith sees the galactic war come to a head as Darth Sidious finally begins tearing the Jedi Council apart. Anakin struggles with pressure from both sides of the fight and his paranoia over losing Padmé. This is the movie that showcases the rise of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch
Another animated series, The Bad Batch is directly connected to The Clone Wars and brings in a squad of Clone Troopers with unique mutations. This squad — Clone Force 99, or ‘The Bad Batch’ — undertake the most dangerous mercenary missions in the galaxy after the execution of Order 66. While a second is still up in the air, The Bad Batch featured guest appearances from beloved characters of The Clone Wars.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Solo: A Star Wars Story is the origin story of Han Solo, the rebellious young pilot who builds a name for himself in the galaxy’s criminal underbelly. Here, we finally meet characters like Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian, and we’re treated to the first official sightings of the quintessential Millennium Falcon.
Star Wars: Rebels
Star Wars: Rebels is an animated series that takes place around 14 years after Revenge of the Sith and a few years before A New Hope. The Galactic Empire is still tracking down the last remaining Jedi as part of Order 66, and the dark atmosphere of the galaxy paves way for the beginnings of what will become a full-blown rebellion. The main cast is a group of ragtag rebels from across the stars, all of whom work together to start undoing the effects of the Emperor’s actions.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
A phenomenal story, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a direct prequel to A New Hope, and, in it, we’re introduced to the group of rebels who sabotaged the Death Star. After being denied support by the Rebel Alliance, this group boards a stolen ship (nicknamed ‘Rogue One’) and steals the Death Star schematics. The ending is a gorgeous and seamless transition into the next official Star Wars film.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
The first Star Wars movie ever released, A New Hope finally brings many of the established characters full circle. We see Luke and Leia Skywalker, Han Solo and Chewbacca, and Obi-Wan Kenobi as they fight against the devastating Galactic Empire. Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader continue their campaign to snuff out the Rebellion.
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
The Empire Strikes Back is a direct sequel to A New Hope, and more characters are brought back into the mix. Luke ventures off to train under Yoda while Han settles his score with gangster Jabba the Hutt, and the rebellion suffers major losses after Darth Vader has a showdown with Luke. This film originated the iconic line: “Luke, I am your father.”
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
The final installment in the Star Wars original trilogy, Return of the Jedi, showcases the rebels freeing Han and endeavoring to destroy the second Death Star before the Empire obliterates any other planets. Luke, Darth Vader, and Palpatine have one final battle, and the chapter closes with the Rebellion celebrating a massive victory.
A unique spin-off and the first Star Wars Disney+ series, The Mandalorian is a space Western that weaves the story of Din Djarin, a Mandalorian bounty hunter who becomes the reluctant guardian of the galaxy’s first known Force-user, Grogu, in decades. The Mandalorian takes place only a few years after Return of the Jedi. There are currently two seasons available to stream on Disney+, with its third having reportedly wrapped filming earlier this year. According to Den of Geek, The Mandalorian star Giancarlo Esposito suggested that season three could release “sometime this summer.”
The Book of Boba Fett
Another Star Wars Disney+ series, The Book of Boba Fett features two alumni of The Mandalorian: Fennec Shand and Din Djarin. Along with titular protagonist Boba Fett, these bounty hunters attempt to take over the criminal underworld once controlled by Jabba the Hutt.
Star Wars Resistance
Set in the early days of the New Republic, Star Wars Resistance sheds light on the First Order, which threatens to destroy everything the Rebellion fought for. This animated series is a semi-prequel to the official sequel trilogy, and some episodes take place during the events of the new films.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
The Force Awakens gives us an entirely new cast of Jedi, Sith and rebels, all connected to the iconic characters of the earlier films. 30 years after Return of the Jedi, we meet Rey, Poe Dameron, and Finn; these young heroes work alongside Han Solo and Leia Organa to take down Kylo Ren, leader of the New Order. Their mission? Find Luke Skywalker.
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
The direct sequel to The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi features many of the newer and veteran characters of the series. Kylo Ren and Rey continue to campaign against one another, and the Resistance is quickly fading from existence.
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker
The culmination of the entire Star Wars franchise, The Rise of Skywalker shows young Jedi Rey facing off against the revived Emperor Palpatine with a converted Kylo Ren. As the film comes to a close, the Resistance can at last celebrate victory while Rey finally makes peace with whom (and what) she is.
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