Are you a Star Wars fan, but unsure about the best order to watch the movies? Fear not, young Padawan! We’ve got you covered. From the original trilogy to the latest releases, we’ve watched them all and found the perfect order for your viewing pleasure. So, grab your lightsaber and get ready to join the rebellion as we take you on a journey through a galaxy far, far away. From the epic battles to the iconic characters, we’ll help you experience the Star Wars saga in the best possible way – and unlike a stormtrooper, our list is right on target.
Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t explored the Star Wars Saga yet and want to skip the spoilers – jump ahead to the watch list.
The Proper Watch Order According to Fans
Let’s dive deeper into the different viewing orders and why some fans prefer one over the other.
The Machete Order
The “Machete Order,” which was popularized by blogger Rod Hilton in 2011, takes a different approach, This order starts with A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, then jumps back in time to Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, before returning to finish with Return of the Jedi. The idea behind this order is that it preserves the big reveal of Darth Vader as Luke’s father in The Empire Strikes Back, while also providing context and backstory for Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the dark side.
For those looking for a more chronological viewing experience, the “Chronological Order” is the way to go. This order starts with The Phantom Menace, followed by Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, Solo, Rogue One, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and finally, The Rise of Skywalker. While this order can be a bit jarring with the time jumps between the different movies, it does provide a comprehensive look at the entire Star Wars timeline.
Ernest Rister Order
One alternative way to watch the Star Wars movies is called the “Ernest Rister order,” also known as the “flashback order.” This order presents the films in a nonlinear narrative that begins with Episode IV: A New Hope, then jumps back to Episodes II and III to explore Anakin Skywalker’s origin story as Darth Vader, before returning to the original trilogy’s conclusion with Episodes V and VI.
The idea behind this order is that it allows viewers to experience the original trilogy’s surprise reveal about Luke Skywalker’s parentage as a flashback, providing more context and emotional weight to the reveal. It also allows for a more natural progression of Anakin Skywalker’s character arc, from his fall to the dark side in Episode III to his redemption as Darth Vader in Episode VI.
For those who have been watching the Star Wars series since the original trilogy, this is the order they were exposed to. It may not be the most logical in the storyline, but it is the way that it was released, so in turn, the way it was originally intended to be consumed.
Ultimately, the best order to watch the Star Wars movies in is a matter of personal preference.
For a modern – and younger – spin, check out Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures and get another angle.
Whether you prefer release order, chronological order, or one of the many other viewing orders out there, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the epic space adventure that is Star Wars. Explore the full list below, in order of release, including the supplementary films that support the arc.
‘Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope’ (1977) – Watch Now
Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo team up to destroy the Death Star, a superweapon capable of destroying entire planets, while battling the evil Empire and Darth Vader.
‘Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back’ (1980) – Watch Now
Luke trains with Jedi Master Yoda while Han Solo and Princess Leia flee from the Empire, led by Darth Vader, who reveals a shocking secret to Luke.
‘Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi’ (1983) – Watch Now
Luke and his friends mount a final attack on the Empire, led by the evil Emperor Palpatine, while Darth Vader’s redemption comes to fruition.
‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace’ (1999) – Watch Now
Jedi knights Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi protect Queen Amidala from the evil Trade Federation while discovering a young boy named Anakin Skywalker with extraordinary force abilities.
‘Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones’ (2002) – Watch Now
Anakin Skywalker falls in love with Padme Amidala while the galaxy is on the brink of war. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan investigates a clone army conspiracy and encounters the bounty hunter Jango Fett.
‘Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith’ (2005) – Watch Now
Anakin Skywalker succumbs to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader, aiding the evil Emperor Palpatine in his takeover of the galaxy. Obi-Wan and the remaining Jedi must fight for survival.
‘Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens’ (2015) – Watch Now
A new generation of heroes, including Rey, Finn, and Poe, join forces with Han Solo and Chewbacca to defeat the First Order, led by the mysterious Kylo Ren.
‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ (2016) – Watch Now
A group of rebels, including Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor, embark on a mission to steal the Death Star plans, which ultimately leads to the events of the original Star Wars movie.
‘Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi’ (2017) – Watch Now
Rey seeks out Jedi Master Luke Skywalker for training while the Resistance, led by General Leia Organa, fights against the First Order and Kylo Ren’s dark ambitions.
‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ (2018) – Watch Now
Young Han Solo joins a group of smugglers, including Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian, for a heist that could set him up for life.
‘Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker’ (2019) – Watch Now
The surviving Resistance faces off against the First Order and their new leader, Emperor Palpatine, while Rey discovers the truth about her origins and the legacy of the Jedi.
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