The Ultimate Guide to Star Wars

December 17, 2019

Journey to the galaxy far far away…

The Ultimate Guide to Star Wars 

 

Happy “Star Wars” month everyone! With the final movie in the Skywalker Saga blasting into theaters this month, this could be the perfect time for those unlucky few who have yet to see a “Star Wars” movie to finally start their journey. If you are one of those who say “‘Star Wars’ is dumb,” odds are you still have yet to see one of the movies. One of the good ones, at least. Before discussing the different ways to watch the series, I’ll give you a refresher course on what you need to know.  

 

“Why is the timeline so confusing?”

I’m sure a lot of you have pondered this question before, unsure of what makes this 11-film franchise so difficult to order properly. Well, the first movie to ever be released was the fourth episode, “A New Hope” (1977), however, it wasn’t labeled “Episode IV” until the late-90s. From ‘77-’83, three “Star Wars” movies were released; 

“Episode IV: A New Hope” (1977),

“Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” (1980), and 

“Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” (1983), this is called the Original Trilogy.

These films were given their episodic numbers in the 90s to coincide with the release of the prequels. These movies tell the story of the events that happened before the Original Trilogy. They are about the beginnings of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda. These movies were released on the turn of the century;

“Episode I: The Phantom Menace” (1999),

“Episode II: Attack of the Clones” (2002), and

“Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” (2005), these movies make up the Prequel Trilogy.

Throughout these three decades, thousands of comics and novels and dozens of shows and movies were released. Some of the shows and movies were two movies based on Ewoks, a series based on R2-D2 and C-3PO called “Droids,” a series and movie called “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” and a holiday special.

In 2012, Disney purchased Lucasfilm, the company that makes Star Wars movies, to create more entries for the saga. This purchase made a deal saying that the only entries to remain canon in the saga were the six movies (I-VI) and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” Canon is what is accepted as existing in the universe, so now the other movies and shows (Ewoks, Droids) no longer are a part of the franchise. If you’re still confused, don’t worry, just know that those don’t count any more. Those are now considered Star Wars Legends.

Under Disney’s ownership, four movies have been released, with the fifth movie on its way. Three of the five movies are a part of the Sequel Trilogy, these are set after the events of the Original Trilogy and follow a new group of characters to save the galaxy. These three movies are;

“Episode VII: The Force Awakens” (2015),

“Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” (2017), and

“Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker” (2019).

The two other Disney-produced movies are spin-offs;

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” (2016), and

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” (2018).

These movies are set between the Prequel and Original Trilogies. If you’re completely confused about everything, I can’t blame you. When a franchise has this many prequels, sequels, and spin-offs it tends to get frustrating. But I’m not just here to explain all of this to you, I’m here to fill you in on the chronological placement of everything.

 

The Chronological Placement of Everything*!

Everything* = just the movies, not including the shows

Going in order of events, the saga is as follows;

  • Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  • Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (You probably don’t want to watch this one)
  • Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Episode IV: A New Hope
  • Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • Episode VII: The Force Awakens
  • Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  • Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

Hopefully this helps you understand the order! However, this is not the order I would recommend viewing them in. Speaking of orders…

 

The Various Viewing Orders

There are three main ways to watch the series. Release order, chronological order, and the machete order. There are a couple other ways to watch it, but I won’t focus on those so much.

Release Order:

Release Order is, as the name suggests, watching the movies in the order they were released. This is my personal favorite, as it is the way the story was originally told. It is also a better viewing experience because you start and end with the better movies.

  • A New Hope
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Return of the Jedi
  • The Phantom Menace
  • Attack of the Clones
  • Revenge of the Sith
  • The Force Awakens
  • Rogue One
  • The Last Jedi
  • Solo
  • The Rise of Skywalker

Chronological Order:

Chronological Order is what was listed above, it tells the story in the order the events occurred. While a lot of people choose to watch them in this order, I would strongly suggest not to. Not only are you started with the worst movies, it also ruins many of the surprises in the Original Trilogy.

  • The Phantom Menace
  • Attack of the Clones
  • Revenge of the Sith
  • Solo
  • Rogue One
  • A New Hope
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Return of the Jedi
  • The Force Awakens
  • The Last Jedi
  • The Rise of Skywalker

Machete Order: 

Machete Order is a strange one, but adored by many fans, including our very own beloved Mr. Fox. It begins with the Original Trilogy, but before watching Episode VI, you go back and watch Episode II and III. Machete Order tells the story of Anakin and Luke Skywalker maybe turning to the dark side. In my opinion, it’s a clever idea but all too confusing for first-time viewers.

  • A New Hope
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Attack of the Clones
  • Revenge of the Sith
  • Return of the Jedi
  • The Force Awakens
  • The Last Jedi
  • The Rise of Skywalker

 

Other Orders:

These remaining orders aren’t as important as the three listed above, but they’re worth pointing out.

Imperial/Rebellion Order:

This viewing order consists of only five movies, but it tells a great tale. It is one big build-up from Solo to the climax in Return of the Jedi. It follows the rise of the Empire and Rebel Alliance and their conflicts. 

  • Solo
  • Rogue One
  • A New Hope
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Return of the Jedi
  • (You can also add The Mandalorian as here as an Epilogue)

Flashback Order:

This is similar to Release Order, but more concise with the spin-off films. It views the prequels and spin-offs more as flashbacks.

  • A New Hope
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Return of the Jedi
  • The Phantom Menace
  • Attack of the Clones
  • Revenge of the Sith
  • Solo
  • Rogue One
  • The Force Awakens
  • The Last Jedi
  • The Rise of Skywalker

Skywalker Saga:

Similar to Chronological Order but without the spin-off films. It only includes the episodic films.

  • The Phantom Menace
  • Attack of the Clones
  • Revenge of the Sith
  • A New Hope
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Return of the Jedi
  • The Force Awakens
  • The Last Jedi
  • The Rise of Skywalker

The Ultimate Order:

This order consists of everything; movies, shows, spin-offs, and games.

  • The Phantom Menace
  • Attack of the Clones
  • The Clone Wars (Movie)
  • The Clone Wars (Series)
  • Revenge of the Sith
  • Jedi: Fallen Order (Game)
  • Solo
  • Rebels (Series)
  • Rogue One
  • A New Hope
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Return of the Jedi
  • Battlefront 2 (Game)
  • The Mandalorian (Series)
  • Resistance (Series)
  • The Force Awakens
  • The Last Jedi
  • The Rise of Skywalker

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