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What order should you watch all the Star Wars films and shows?

, US contributing editor · ·
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(Pocket-lint) - Disney+'s latest Star Wars TV series is Obi-Wan Kenobi. To understand what it's about, you need to watch or revisit the full Star Wars Universe. The entire franchise is loaded with callbacks to all the various installments. For instance, the Mandalorian makes his way to the Mos Eisley Cantina, from the very first Star Wars film.

In fact, the events of The Mandalorian and Disney+'s other Star Wars series - The Book of Boba Fett - take place five years after Return of the Jedi, or near the middle of the known Star Wars timeline, which consists of 11 feature films. Obi-Wan Kenobi will be set squarely between the films Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. So, if you really want to know what's going on, it's time for a re-watch.

Daunting, right? No worries. Just follow our watch guide below.

A spoiler-free version of our guide is at the bottom of this page, along with some other spoiler-free orders worth considering - such as chronological, theatrical, and even Machete and Rinster. The "Machete Order", for instance, takes a machete to The Phantom Menace by cutting it out of your rewatch  For the most conclusive viewing order, which includes all the animated Star Wars series to date, check out the Complete Star Wars Saga order also at the bottom.

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Star Wars movies and shows: Best viewing orders
Best Star Wars order (spoilers)Best Star Wars order (spoiler-free)
Chronological movie order (spoiler-free)Theatrical movie order (spoiler-free)
Machete and Rinster orders (spoiler-free)Complete Star Wars saga order (spoiler-free)

There are many ways you can revisit the Star Wars saga. You can watch the movies and shows by release date order or in chronological order, for instance. 

While the chronological order might be the obvious choice, some argue it's not as enjoyable because you start with The Phantom Menace, our least-favourite film. Watching chronologically also spoils the biggest twist in the series by prematurely revealing the identity of Luke's father.

Watching the release date order also has unsatisfying points.  Sure, the “I am your father” surprise stays intact, but the storyline is jumbled.

You hop between Episodes IV-VI (the original trilogy released between 1977 and 1983), then Episodes I-III (the prequel trilogy released between 1999 and 2005), and Episodes VII-IX (the sequel trilogy released between 2015 and 2019). And then there's the Anthology films: Rogue One (2016) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). They take place between the originals and prequels but released during the most recent "sequel" trilogy. Plus, there's the new Disney+ series. You can see how all this quickly becomes a mess.

This is why we’ve created the perfect order that solves these problems. We included all 11 feature films as well as The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series.

THERE ARE SPOILERS BELOW.

Disney

While technically the sixth movie, chronologically, in the Star Wars franchise, A New Hope is worth visiting first in your re-watch purely because it's the start of everything. It’s also the only Star Wars film that treats viewers as if they’ve never watched the saga before.

So, you'll start with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) meeting Obi-Wan (Alec Guiness). He gets a lightsaber from Obi-Wan and ultimately learns about the Force and Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) from him before heading off to save Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and destroy the Death Star.

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Disney

The first of the new "Anthology" films, Rogue One is filled with A New Hope backstory. It follows the daughter of the Death Star's creator, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), as she is freed by the Rebel Alliance and tasked with finding the plans that lead to the ultimate weapon's destruction.

Yes, it ends where A New Hope begins, but because it's so reliant on you knowing A New Hope already, we think it’s best to watch them in reverse. You'll learn who created the Death Star, why it's so easily destroyed, and you'll meet the many Bothans who died to steal the Death Star plans.

Disney

Empire Strikes Back is widely regarded as one of the greatest sequels of all time. After the initial battle on the frozen planet Hoth, Luke heads to begin his Jedi training with Yoda, while Han Solo and Princess Leia head to Cloud City to meet with Han's old friend Lando Calrissian. But Han and Leia are betrayed and then used as bait by Vader to lure Luke. It all culminates in a showdown between Vader and Luke and ends with a twist.

Disney

And, just like that, we go from one of the most loved installments of all time to the most loathed.

This film follows Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) as they attempt to protect the Queen of Naboo and stumble upon a young slave boy named Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd). You're also forced to sit through two hours of Jar-Jar Binks and sleep-inducing Galactic Senate negotiations. So, if you’ve seen this film before, just skip it on your next rewatch.

Although it does provide some details important to another prequel film, and it has a great lightsaber duel.

Disney

While the films up to this point have shown Darth Vader as the ultimate evil villain, Attack of the Clones begins to show us the road that led him to the Dark Side, with the death of his mother at the hands of Tuskan Raiders. We also see his growing love affair with Queen Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman). Meanwhile, Obi-Wan Kenobi stumbles upon a clone army for the Republic that will form the foundation of the Empire's Stormtroopers.

Disney

The final film of the prequel trilogy shows Anakin's heart turn to black. While initially excited upon hearing of his wife Padme's pregnancy, visions of her dying begin to poison Anakin, allowing Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) to lure him to the Dark Side of the Force. This then leads to the destruction of the Republic and the murder of many Jedi, including all the young Padawans, at the hand of the newly named Darth Vader.

Disney

The next Star Wars series is a continuation of the prequel trilogy set around Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). It's set years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, while Obi-Wan is watching over a young Luke Skywalker on Tattooine. Hayden Christensen will return to reprise his role as Darth Vader. Debra Chow is directing the new series with Joby Harold writing. The series is now streaming on Disney+.

Disney

The origin story for the coolest guy in the Star Wars Universe provides a tonne of unnecessary backstory.

Apparently, Han Solo (Alden Ehrinreich) just wanted to act like Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and date Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) in his prime, which is understandable, but it's a little eye-rolling. Still, it’s an entertaining heist film that gives us more information about the most important ship in the galaxy, the Millenium Falcon, including Han making the Kessel Run with her in under 12 parsecs.

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Disney

Now that we’ve learned Darth Vader/Anakin’s background, it’s time to watch him sort of redeem himself with all that knowledge in hand. Plus, after saving Han Solo from the clutches of Jabba the Hutt, we see Luke trying to defeat his father and the Emperor, all while Han and Leia work to demolish a nearly completed second Death Star. Also, there are teddy bears with stone-age technology that help destroy the Empire, too.

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Disney

This live-action Star Wars TV series has become a smash hit on Disney+, and there's one very small, adorable reason for that.

The show follows Pedro Pascal as the titular Mandalorian. He's a gunfighter and bounty hunter who makes his way in the furthest reaches of the galaxy five years after the events of Return of the Jedi, placing it well before the events of The Force Awakens and the creation of the First Order. The second season sees Mando looking for more information on the history of Baby Yoda. Both seasons take place back to back. A third series has been confirmed.

Disney

The Book of Boba Fett premiered on 29 December 2021. It sees Temuera Morrison return as Boba Fett after appearing in the prequel trilogy and The Mandalorian. Boba is working with Fennec Shard (Ming-Na Wen) to claim Jabba the Hut's criminal empire as his own.

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Disney

The first Star Wars film made by Disney after it purchased the franchise is set 30 years after Return of the Jedi. We see that there's a new conflict emerging between the budding Republic, led by Leia Organa-Skywalker and The First Order, which rose from the ashes of the Empire. Caught between this all is a young girl named Rey (Daisy Ridley) who seems to be really strong with the Force.

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Disney

After tracking down Luke Skywalker, Rey’s next challenge is convincing him to train her. Luke is unwilling due to his failures with Kylo Ren. Meanwhile, the remaining Republic forces are on the verge of total annihilation thanks to The First Order, leaving Rey and Luke as their only hope.

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Disney
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The conclusion to the Skywalker saga is out now and available on Disney Plus. The film sees the return of Emperor Palpatine as Kylo Ren's The First Order and the rebels led by Rey prepare for a final confrontation on the planet known as Exegol.


What is the best streaming device for your TV? Our top recommendation is the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max. Also excellent are the Google Chromecast with Google TV, the Roku Express 4K, the Apple TV 4K and the Amazon Fire TV Stick.


OK, so here is the at-a-glance, spoiler-free version of the order above:

If you want to watch films in order of the events that happen, and thus spoil the identity of Luke's father for first-timers, here you go:

This is the order in which the movies were released in cinemas. While it keeps the twist of Luke's father intact, the storyline is jumbled. You start with the originals, then go to the prequels, and end with the sequels. That's confusing, especially for kids being introduced to Star Wars.

The "Machete Order" basically cuts The Phantom Menace from your movie rewatch, because many people don't enjoy that film. It preserves the "I am your father" moment. But it was created in 2011, so it doesn't include the sequels and is no longer a complete order.

OK, here is a bonus list we haven't mentioned yet: The "Rinster Order" is named after Star Wars superfan Ernest Rinster, who created it to preserve the Luke-father twist, but it also keeps The Phantom Menace. There are no sequel films, though, so we still prefer our order.

Here is an all-encompassing order - with all the movies and shows from the Star Wars saga in chronological order. The saga began in 1977, and since then, there have been new trilogies added as well as countless spinoffs in the form of live-action and animated TV shows and movies. Not all of them are great, but if you want to take in every bit of Star Wars (even the 1978 holiday special), this is the chronological order for you.

Star Wars series and limited specials are bolded below.

Then maybe you'll like our other movie order viewing guides:

We also have these rumour round-ups on upcoming movies:

Writing by Maggie Tillman.