Charting out the “Star Wars” timeline isn’t an easy thing. Over the years, prequels have been sandwiched between other episodes, and on top of that, you have to consider whether you just want to watch live-action movies or if you should include the spin offs. Add to that the leaps in time backward and forward that various trilogies traveled, the differences in special effects among the movies over time, and the timing of certain critical “reveals,” and you find that fans are almost as passionate about viewing order options as they are despondent about the upcoming “Rise of Skywalker.”

If you wanted to view the live-action “Star Wars” series in chronological story-line order — NOT the order in which the movies were released — we’re told by the true “Star Wars” aficionados that it would look like this:

Star Wars Episode I: “The Phantom Menace” (set 32 years before “A New Hope”)
Star Wars Episode II: “Attack of the Clones” (set 22 years before “A New Hope”)
Star Wars Episode III: “Revenge of the Sith” (set 19 years before “A New Hope”)
“Solo: A Star Wars Story” (set about a decade before “A New Hope”)
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (ends moments before “A New Hope”)
Star Wars Episode IV: “A New Hope” (this is the original first “Star Wars” movie released)
Star Wars Episode V: “The Empire Strikes Back” (set three years after “A New Hope”)
Star Wars Episode VI: “Return of the Jedi” (set four years after “A New Hope”)
Star Wars Episode VII:” The Force Awakens” (set 34 years after “A New Hope”)
Star Wars Episode VIII: “The Last Jedi” (set 34 years after “A New Hope”)
Star Wars Episode IX: “The Rise of Skywalker” (set 35 years after “A New Hope”)

The movie release order looks somewhat different. Watch them this way, and while you will experience them the way movie-goers did, you’ll have to make some mental leaps back and forth through time that could fry your brain.

Star Wars Episode IV: “A New Hope” (1977)
Star Wars Episode V: “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980)
Star Wars Episode VI: “Return of the Jedi” (1983)
Star Wars Episode I: “The Phantom Menace” (1999)
Star Wars Episode II: “Attack of the Clones” (2002)
Star Wars Episode III: “Revenge of the Sith” (2005)
Star Wars Episode VII: “The Force Awakens” (2015)
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016)
Star Wars Episode VIII: “The Last Jedi” (2017)
“Solo: A Star Wars Story” (2018)
Star Wars Episode IX: “The Rise of Skywalker” (2019)

On top of that, there are about a dozen other ways to view the series, including the famed “Machete Order” that keeps the focus on Luke Skywalker. And there’s another guide for watching all the “Star Wars” movies including the TV shows, as well. We don’t have enough space to include all of those lists, but you can find them at techradar.com.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: