How To Watch Star Wars Movies In Chronological & Release Date Order – Guide

Diving into the vast world of Star Wars can seem tricky, especially when figuring out the best way to watch the movies. You’ve got two options: chronological order or release date order. Each choice shapes how you understand the story.

Viewing Star Wars Movies: Chronological and Release Order

When you decide to watch the Star Wars series, you’ve got two main choices: watch the movies in the order of the story or by when they were released. Both ways change how you see and understand the story. It’s good to consider both options to see how they reveal the story and characters differently.

Watch in Chronological Timeline Order

The Phantom Menace Movie

Watching the Star Wars movies in chronological order lets you see the story unfold just as it happenedallows you to see the story unfold just as it did in their world.

It starts with ‘The Phantom Menace,’ where we meet young Anakin Skywalker. We watch him grow up and eventually turn into Darth Vader through the first three movies.

After that, ‘Solo’ and ‘Rogue One’ fill in some gaps and set the stage for the original trilogy.

This way, you get to understand why characters do what they do and how all the pieces fit together in the big picture.

It’s like putting together a puzzle, seeing how each part leads to the next, and it makes the whole saga more clear and more exciting.

Order Movie Title Release Year Plot Continuation in Chronological Order
1 The Phantom Menace 1999 Two Jedi find a young boy who might be the Chosen One while a Sith Lord shows up. Starts the story of Anakin Skywalker’s journey from a hopeful young boy to his turn to the dark side.
2 Attack of the Clones 2002 Jedi guard Senator Amidala as war nears, and a secret love grows. Shows the unrest that leads to the Empire’s rise.
3 Revenge of the Sith 2005 The Jedi Order ends, and Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader. Ends the prequels, showing the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Empire.
4 Solo: A Star Wars Story 2018 Young Han Solo goes on big adventures and meets Chewbacca and Lando. Explains Han Solo’s early life before “A New Hope.”
5 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 2016 Rebels try to steal Death Star plans, leading right into A New Hope. Shows how the rebels got the Death Star plans, leading into “A New Hope.”
6 A New Hope 1977 Luke Skywalker joins rebels to destroy the Death Star and learn about the Force. Starts the original trilogy, showing the battle against the Empire.
7 The Empire Strikes Back 1980 Rebels face big losses as Luke learns from Yoda and finds out about his father. Continues the fight against the Empire and deepens personal stories.
8 Return of the Jedi 1983 Rebels attack the Empire finally, and Luke faces Darth Vader and the Emperor. Ends the original trilogy, finishing the Empire conflict and Luke’s journey.
9 The Force Awakens 2015 Rey finds out she has the Force as she joins the Resistance against the First Order. Starts the new trilogy, introducing new heroes and continuing the older heroes’ legacies.
10 The Last Jedi 2017 Rey trains with Luke as the Resistance fights the First Order and learns big secrets. Adds new challenges and explores themes of legacy and identity.
11 The Rise of Skywalker 2019 The Resistance fights the returned Emperor Palpatine in a final battle for peace. Ends the new trilogy and the whole Skywalker story, trying to wrap up the main themes and conflicts.

Watch by Release Date Order

A New Hope movie

Watching the Star Wars movies in the order they came out is like taking a step back in time with the series. It starts with ‘A New Hope’ from 1977, then ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return of the Jedi.’ This way, you get to see the story unfold just as people did back then. It keeps the big surprises and the way the story flows, which really pulled people in.

After those, it goes to the prequels, beginning with ‘The Phantom Menace.’ This lets you dive deeper into the backgrounds of characters and events, but with the knowledge from the first three movies in mind. Seeing the movies in the order they were released shows how film technology has changed over time, making the whole experience even more interesting.

Order Movie Title Release Year
1 A New Hope 1977
2 The Empire Strikes Back 1980
3 Return of the Jedi 1983
4 The Phantom Menace 1999
5 Attack of the Clones 2002
6 Revenge of the Sith 2005
7 The Force Awakens 2015
8 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 2016
9 The Last Jedi 2017
10 Solo: A Star Wars Story 2018
11 The Rise of Skywalker 2019

You may also like our article on how to watch Batman movies in Order.


To sum up, how you watch the Star Wars movies shapes how you understand and enjoy the story. Watching them chronologically lays out the story from start to finish in a straight line, which helps make sense of everything. However, watching them in the order they were released keeps the original surprises and shows how movie-making has evolved over time. Both ways have their perks, so it comes down to whether you prefer a clear storyline or experiencing the movies as they were first presented.

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