Star Wars Watching Order

In 1983, there was no question of how to watch the Star Wars trilogy. Star Wars, Empire, Jedi. As 2005 rolls around, there are two schools of thought: release order, or story order (or just forget about the new trilogy entirely). But now, not only do we have the Sequel Trilogy, but also other, non-Skywalker stories set in our favorite galactic history, Rogue One, as well as Solo.

Then, if you really want to go hard, you can include some of the shows. Now, I’m not signing up to rewatch all of Clone Wars, as well as the other five shows (as of this writing), so I’ve found just the essential episodes to watch from each series, to tie into the larger, overall story.

Just Films

A New Hope

Between Luke on Tattooine with Ben Kenobi, or the Galactic Trade Federation, A New Hope is a much more exciting and emotional open to this amazing saga. You learn about the Force with Luke, as opposed to watching him learn about something that was just a given. You see the ultimate battle between good and evil, and the ultimate (at the time) power in the universe. The major cliffhanger, is how was Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi the master of Darth Vader during the Clone Wars? What does that mean? And why doesn’t Ben remember owning a droid that claims is his. How does Ben have Lukes fathers Lightsaber?

lukes first saber.jpg

The Empire Strikes Back

The rebellion is at a constant tug-of-war with the Empire, and is barely able to survive the Fall of Hoth. With Luke learning his place in this universe, he seeks the wisdom of Yoda, at the behest of the now dead Obi-Wan. You meet Boba Fett (the most overrated character), hear about Jabba the Hutt,  and hear the greatest plot twist in cinematic history: “No, I am your father.” Han Solo is frozen in carbonite, sent to be a trophy on Jabba’s wall, as we will see, after seven years have passed! With all of this new information, it’s time for an explanation.

i am your father

The Phantom Menace

Now we start watching the prequel trilogy, the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker, in the form of a flashback. We see the creation of C-3PO, and how Obi-Wan and R2-D2 began to adventure together. We see Yoda leading the Jedi council, and why Obi-Wan looks to him for guidance.

phantom menace jedi council.jpg

Attack of the Clones

Obi-Wan doesn’t remember owning R2-D2, because he switches between droids like a person switches between phones. He doesn’t argue against it, it might have happened, but to him, there is very little difference between R2-D2 and R4-P17. We see what the Clone Wars is, and how Obi-Wan and Anakin fought side-by-side. We see Anakin marry Padme, and why a Jedi, traditionally chaste, would have a child.

attack of the clones wedding.jpg

Revenge of the Sith

We understand now the relationship between Emperor Palpatine (Darth Sidious), and Darth Vader. We understand why Vader is always on the front lines, and we barely see Sidious do anything besides sit in a chair. We see “A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights. He betrayed and murdered your father…Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force.” With the conclusion of this film, we now understand who are the major players of this story. We know Luke and Leia, Obi-Wan, Vader, Palpatine, even Artoo and Threepio. This three movie flashback of exposition in the Skywalker story is complete. Also, I think that the plot twist that Luke and Leia are related is pulled off much better in this movie, than it is in Return of the Jedi. The doctor mentions that Padme is having twins, has baby Luke, then announces a baby girl, who Padme names Leia, and it just feels like a much better revelation.

anakin skywalker burned.png

Return of the Jedi

With all of the puzzle pieces set in place, it is time to rendezvous the team, grant Luke full Jedi Knighthood, and destroy the Empire. In two movies we see Vader join, then betray the Emperor, allowing any parallels to be recognized. This ends the Skywalker Saga.

return of the jedi.jpg


Now, as we end the Original Trilogy, we are going to have a few more flashbacks, as a bit of a break, before we get back into the Skywalker Saga. Solo, is more of a fun action flick, that doesn’t give a whole lot into the Star Wars canon. Take a minute, breathe, watch a cool train heist scene, and get ready for more story! Also, after in Empire Lando almost punches Han when he arrives on Bespin, and the emotional moment it is for Han when he gives the Falcon back to Lando for the final attack on the Death Star in Return of the Jedi, it’s nice to know the history behind all of that. Fun Fact: In A New Hope, C-3PO mentions how the Millennium Falcon has an interesting “dialect” for a computer program, and in this movie we realize what he meant.

Rogue One

Now that we have seen Luke Skywalkers role in the Galactic Civil War, it is time to acknowledge some other amazing players. One of which, is Jyn Erso, daughter of the Lead Engineer of the Death Star, and how she helps get the greatest Achilles Heel of a weakness to Leia at the beginning of A New Hope. Also, with such a huge gap between movies, any new plot holes might not be noticed. (Leia, you were clearly just at the Battle of Scarif, not on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan.)

rogue one cast.jpg

The Force Awakens

Having seen the two Anthologies, we can return to a long form story with The Force Awakens, with reminders to how these stories are told. Grand gestures, huge shows of force (pun intended), and mythological style story telling.

force awakens.jpg

The Last Jedi

Now we can finish the sequel trilogy, and finish the full Skywalker Saga. We learn about what being the galaxy’s greatest hero can do to your psyche, with Luke attempting to fully remove himself from the legend, but coming to the realization that sometimes people need the legend more than the actual person, because a legend can inspire others to become the people they need to become.

the last jedi.jpg

Rise of Skywalker

Finally we finish the Sequel Trilogy, and (hopefully) see the last of the Emperor. This trilogy has had a rocky reception with fans, but I believe that, just like how people are kinder to the Prequel Trilogy, soon too will people look back at these films with a fondness that they are blinding themselves to.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker review – a thrilling, fun-filled,  light-speed finale | Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker | The Guardian

Including the Shows

You know, if we include the shows, it really only make sense to go in Chronological Order. The fun poetry of mixing up the films is lost when there are other shows on either sides of various films. So, let’s just take a look at when to watch the shows, and what are the most essential episodes of each one.

  • The Phantom Menace
  • Attack of the Clones

The Clone Wars

Not only are the Clone Wars in universe the stimulus that destroyed centuries of peace and started every conflict that follows across every piece of canon Star Wars media so far, but it’s also really cool. If I only include the episodes I think are most crucial to the overall story, we have over 19 hours of tv to watch over 11 story arcs. So take from that what you will.

  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars Movie (only the first 28 minutes are really necessary, to meet Ahsoka)
  • Character Introductions Arc
    • 1.9 Cloak of Darkness
    • 1.10 Lair of Grievous
    • 1.11 Dooku Captured
  • Mandalore Arc
    • 2.12 The Mandalore Plot
    • 2.13 Voyage of Temptation
    • 2.14 Duchess of Mandalore
  • Young Boba Fett Arc
    • 2.20 Death Trap
    • 2.21 R2 Come Home
    • 2.22 Lethal Trackdown
  • Night Sisters Arc
    • 3.12 Nightsisters
    • 3.13 Monster
    • 3.14 Witches of the Mist
  • Anakin Loses Obi-Wan
    • 4.15 Deception
    • 4.16 Friends and Enemies
    • 4.17 The Box
    • 4.18 Crisis on Naboo
  • Darth Maul Arc
    • 4.21 Brothers
    • 4.22 Revenge
  • Saw Gurrera Intro
    • 5.2 A War on Two Fronts
    • 5.3 Front Runners
    • 5.4 The Soft War
    • 5.5 Tipping Points
  • Mandalore Arc
    • 5.1 Revival
    • 5.14 Eminence
    • 5.15 Shades of Reason
    • 5.16 The Lawless
  • Ahsoka Arc
    • 5.17 Sabotage
    • 5.18 The Jedi Who Knew Too Much
    • 5.19 To Catch a Jedi
    • 5.20 The Wrong Jedi
  • Order 66 Arc
    • 6.1 The Unknown
    • 6.2 Conspiracy
    • 6.3 Fugitive
    • 6.4 Orders
    • 6.10 The Lost One
    • 6.11 Voices
    • 6.12 Destiny
    • 6.13 Sacrifice
  • Finale Arc
    • 7.9 Old Friends Not Forgotten
    • 7.10 The Phantom Apprentice

The Finale Arc actually overlaps with Revenge of the Sith, so we are going to watch that, then come back to the show for the 2 final episodes.

  • 7.11 Shattered
  • 7.12 Victory and Death
Star Wars: A complete guide to Clone Wars, Rebels on Disney+

Bad Batch

The sequel series to Clone Wars, follows some of the clones after Order 66, and seeing first hand what some of the new rules are.

  • 1.1 Aftermath
  • 1.2 Cut and Run
  • 1.14 Replacing the Clones
Inside Star Wars: The Bad Batch, The Clone Wars Spin-Off That's a Bit Like  The Mandalorian | NDTV Gadgets 360

Then we’ve got Solo.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

I really liked this show, partially because I love the Prequel Trilogy just as much as I do the Original Trilogy. The show was just great, and shows that Leia was always a more assertive character than our faulty memories may have us believe. When A New Hope begins, Luke is whining about buying power converters, and Leia is face to face with Darth Vader, giving him a piece of her mind. Not only this, but we get some great Obi-Wan/Anakin tension that really feels more emotionally complete, and why Obi-Wan is so calm when he faces Vader in A New Hope. So much of this show bridges the gap between the two trilogies, not just in events, but emotionally.

The tricky thing with this is that while large chunks of most episodes are skippable (Ben and Leia in the back of a pickup), each episode has at least one scene that I feel is crucial, again not only to the show, but to the larger overall canon and emotion of leading into A New Hope.


Rebels is tough because, unlike Clone Wars, it was created to be a much more focused and intentional series. There aren’t near as many “filler” episodes in this show, and so more are essential. Now, as of this writing, I haven’t actually seen Rebels (or Resistance), so this list comes from and I’ll be testing it myself in the next month or so.

  • 1.1+1.2 Spark of Rebellion
  • 1.5 Rise of the Old Masters
  • 1.10 Path of the Jedi
  • 1.12 Vision of Hope
  • 1.13 Call to Action
  • 1.14 Rebel Resolve
  • 1.15 Fire Across the Galax
  • 2.1+2.2 The Siege of Lothal
  • 2.3 The Lost Commanders
  • 2.4 Relics of the Old Republic
  • 2.6 Brothers of the Broken Horn
  • 2.9 Stealth Strike
  • 2.11 Legacy
  • 2.13 The Protector of Concord Dawn
  • 2.15 The Call
  • 2.17 The Honorable Ones
  • 2.18 Shroud of Darkness
  • 2.20 The Mystery of Chopper Base
  • 2.21+2.22 Twilight of the Apprentice
  • 3.1+3.2 Steps into Shadow
  • 3.3 The Holocrons of Fate
  • 3.5 Her’a Heroes
  • 3.7 Imperials Supercommandos
  • 3.10 An Inside Man
  • 3.11 Visions and Voices
  • 3.12+3.13 Ghsots of Geonosis
  • 3.15 Trials of the Darksaber
  • 3.16 Legacy of Mandalore
  • 3.17 Through Imperial Eyes
  • 3.20 Twin Suns
  • 3.21+3.22 Zero Hour
  • 4.1 Heroes of Mandalore
  • 4.6 Fight of the Defender
  • 4.7 Kindred
  • 4.9 Rebel Assault
  • 4.10 Jedi Knight
  • 4.11 DUME
  • 4.12 Wolves and a Door
  • 4.13 A World Between Worlds
  • 4.14 A Fool’s Hope
  • 4.15+1.16 Family Reunion and Farewell
Through Four Seasons, Star Wars Rebels Has Been a Storytelling Bridge |

Another Movie Binge!

  • Rogue One
  • A New Hope
  • Empire Strikes Back
  • Return of the Jedi

Now the Galactic Empire has fallen, and we are in a post-Empire galaxy, with all of the new troubles that come along with that.


  • 1 The Mandalorian
  • 3 The Sin
  • 5 The Gunslinger
  • 8 Redemption
  • 11 The Heiress
  • 13 The Jedi
  • 14 The Tragedy
  • 16 The Rescue
The Mandalorian' Season 2: A 'Star Wars' lore cheat sheet - Los Angeles  Times

The Book of Boba Fett

Two of these episodes aren’t even about Boba Fett, but that’s okay, because this show was really a spin-off of Mandalorian in the first place.

  • 1 Stranger in a Strange Land
  • 2 The Tribes of Tatooine
  • 5 Return of the Mandalorian
  • 6 From the Desert Comes a Stranger
  • 7 In the Name of Honor
How Boba Fett Came Back From the Dead—Again and Again and Again | GQ


This show was the most made for kids, even more so than the Cartoon Network era of Clone Wars, so I am definitely not interested in watching the whole thing. But some of the episodes do lead directly into the Sequel Trilogy.

  • 1.1+1.2 The Recruit
  • 1.7 Signal from Sector Six
  • 1.10 Secrets and Holograms
  • 1.11 Station Theta Black
  • 1.20+1.21 No Escape
  • 2.7 The Relic Raiders
  • 2.18+2.19 The Escape
Star Wars Resistance' is the Best Star Wars Show on Disney+ You're Not  Watching | Decider

All we have left now, is just the Sequel Trilogy, and we are done!

  • The Force Awakens
  • The Last Jedi
  • Rise of Skywalker

With all of those essential episodes, that comes out to about 77 hours of Star Wars, so good luck, and May the Force Be With You.

What order do you watch Star Wars? Let us know in the comments below!


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