Here’s The Correct Way To Binge All The ‘Star Wars’ Movies In Chronological Order
Get ready for 'The Rise of Skywalker' by watching every Star Wars film.
It’s one of the most iconic film franchises in the galaxy, the definitive sci-fi epic on the big screen. It’s goddamn Star Wars, bitches.
It’s also been going for goddamn ever — Star Wars: A New Hope exploded into our collective consciousness back in 1977, kickstarting the original trilogy which ran to 1983.
We then had to wait a couple of decades before we got some prequels in the naughties, and honestly, maybe we should have kept waiting.
And now, since 2015 we’ve had a new Star Wars film every year. It’s a good time to be a space laser fan! If you love watching a moon explode, then you’re in luck. Wanna see a zoomy sword? Come right this way, friend.
But with all the new films — including stand-alones like Rogue One and Solo — the order of how to binge all the Star Wars films in order becomes slightly trickier. Plus, the epic saga is best watched chronologically — the entire story of the galaxy far, far away is laid out when you do.
So, here’s how to chronologically watch Star Wars in the correct order.
1. Star Wars Episode I – A Phantom Menace (1999)
Imagine trying to introduce someone to the Star Wars franchise with this movie? It would have to be a hard sell.
Giving A Phantom Menace a plucky young protagonist, surrounded by goofy swamp aliens and camp robots did a lot to infantilise the franchise, which was probably a marketing ploy. Babies have got the dollars! It made Phantom Menace one of the most hated films in existence as a consequence.
However, there are some good bits — the podracing is quite fun, and the lightsaber battle with Darth Maul is epic.
2. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
It’s a shame that some huge action sequences and big battle scenes are almost completely overshadowed by the world’s worst romance, the somewhat gross courtship between Queen Amidala and a young Darth Vader. There’s a reason the “I don’t like sand” line has become pop-culture legend — it’s emblematic of an on-screen chemistry that ranges from dull to upsetting.
However, Attack of the Clones is fun when you move past all that. If you can.
3. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Bing-bong! If you’ve ever wanted to see someone get all chopped up and left to die in a volcano, then this movie is for you!
Honestly, there’s something tonally off with this film, considering it’s got more child death than most blockbusters usually truck with. It should be more epic! That said, it’s a must-see — it helps round out the preview trilogy and gives birth to Darth Vader, everyone’s favourite evil dad.
Honestly, all three of these movies are trash, but go off.
4. Solo – A Star Wars Story (2018)
It is a SIN that this film isn’t better.
It’s got a killer cast of supporting characters (sexy Lando, anyone?), and a brilliant concept — the life of a young, even more roguish Han Solo, as he gets involved in a Star Wars-style heist. That SHOULD have been an absolute romp.
But it seems like somewhere between conception and execution, they got worried about actually making the film any fun, and tried to make it more tonally similar to its more epic predecessors, and leached all the joy and (literally) colour from it. They also made it about 45 minutes too long.
It takes place supposedly five years before A New Hope, which is also a bit of a head trip. What HAPPENED to Han in those five years?
But, it’s still a fairly good time. Just be wary it suffers in comparison to most of the other Star Wars films.
5. Rogue One – A Star Wars Story (2016)
OK, if you can ignore a huge cast of characters almost devoid of any defining personality traits, this film is a goddamn good one.
Set almost immediately before the iconic events of A New Hope, it provides more nuance and details to the original trilogy’s story, as well as an absolutely blistering stand-alone action film. A lot of people didn’t feel it was very Star-Warsy, because it moves away from the epic, heroes-quest style for more of an ensemble military thriller.
It’s real good. Lots of explosions!
6. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
I mean, every single film in this list has been basically leading to here. The bloody Star Wars film that changed the world.
And here’s the thing — it still holds up! It’s great. It’s got everything you need — a pure sweet magic boy, a giant laser, a sexy pirate, a badass princess. Honestly. Even the graphics aren’t particularly hard to handle.
This is where people should probably start watching.
7. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Generally considered to be the best in the entire Star Wars franchise, it’s definitely the EPITOME of what we love about this universe.
It’s so much darker and more dramatic than the first film, and the sense of desperation that the rebels have gives the movie stakes out the wazoo. And there are some real twists! How good is it when Han Solo gets turned into an ugly statue? How good is it when Luke has his good hand chopped off? Ah, this film.
8. Star Wars: Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi (1983)
I personally love this film, but a lot of people tend to lump the Ewoks in with Jar Jar Binks as franchise ruining cuteness.
Regardless, it’s a big, climactic end to the original trilogy, with all sorts of deaths and explosions and redemptions. We even get another Death Star! I think it’s also got the most epic space battle in all the movies.
It’s also an incredibly satisfying end — the good guys win, the bad guys very much do not.
9. The Mandalorian (2019)
What?! A TV show? On this list of films? What next?
But yes — canonically, the Star Wars universe is expanding to the tiny screen via the Disney+ streaming service, with The Mandalorian.
Set shortly after the events of The Return of the Jedi, the show follows the hijinks of a bounty hunter wearing Mandalorian armour, and helps us explore the universe going through a massive moment of upheaval, with the death of the Emperor, and the dying throes of the Empire.
The season is still coming out weekly on Disney+, so we’ll update this article when it’s finished — and see how much it foretells about the future happenings in The Force Awakens.
9. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
Star Wars is back! And this time, it’s sad!
Set 30 years after Return Of The Jedi, things are once again grim in the world of space. There’s some new Empire-lite fascists, some more superweapons, and all of our friends are old and sad now. But, there are new, young people, filled with the glow of youth and hope.
The film cops a lot of criticism for basically being another A New Hope — but if you look at the stories being cyclical for a reason, then it’s a really strong and epic start to a new trilogy.
10. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)
Ooft, talk about controversial.
For some reason, Rian Johnson’s foray into Star Wars was deeply hated by a lot of toxic fans, who felt entitled to the way stories in this franchise should be told. That’s stupid! It was great! It absolutely shifted the narrative away from what was expected. I will defend this film with my life.
It has some of the most BEAUTIFUL and epic scenes in the entire franchise.
11. Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise Of Skywalker (2019)
Star Wars: Episode 9 — The Rise Of Skywalker will hit cinemas on 20th of December 2019, rounding out the new saga. It looks pretty amazing — Rey jumps over a TIE Fighter, Lando Calrissian is back, the Emperor seems to be having a nice chuckle.
Cannot wait. In the meantime, let’s just keep watching the new trailer, and reading our deep dive into all the easter eggs we found.
Ooh, and here’s the Rise Of Skywalker final trailer!
Patrick Lenton is the Entertainment Editor at Junkee. He tweets @patricklenton.