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Which Order to Watch the Star Wars Movie Saga

Updated on August 16, 2018

Best Way to Watch the Star Wars Movies

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What are the Different Watching Orders?

When the first Star Wars movie was released in 1977, I was 10, and instantly a fan. I went to the movies each time a new movie was released, so theatrical release is the only order I know. When you could start buying the movies on VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray, you could watch the movies in chronological or episode order and so the debate began. And you can also watch them in a custom order.

Hopefully, I will be able to do this without giving away too much, or at least some of the major suspense features of the movies.

Return of the Jedi movie poster
Return of the Jedi movie poster | Source

Chronological or Episode Order

The first method is Chronological or Episode order. I do not suggest doing this until you have viewed all the movies in release order or the custom order I suggest below. With the addition of the Solo Movie and Rogue One, the order starts to get a little murky. The Solo Movie is particularly difficult to determine where it comes in the list, as if you put it prior to The Phantom Menace, Han is much older than he appears in a New Hope. Put the appearance of a Sith like character similar to Darth Maul is strange. Since Darth Vader makes a cameo in the movie, we should put it after Revenge of the Sith and prior to Rogue One.


Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace - released in 1999

Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones - 2002

Episode 3 - Revenge of the Sith - 2005

Non-Episode - The Solo Movie - 2018

Non-Episode - Rogue One - 2016

Episode 4 - A New Hope - 1977

Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back - 1980

Episode 6 - Return of the Jedi - 1983

Episode 7 - The Force Awakens - 2015

Episode 8 - The Last Jedi - 2017

The Force Awakens movie poster
The Force Awakens movie poster | Source

Theater Release Order

The original theatrical release order is the way all the original Star Wars fans, including me, had to watch the Star Wars movies, waiting until each movie was released to enjoy the next chapter. Big reveals are more dramatic in this order and you are introduced to older versions of characters and then see a series of movies that work like flashbacks.

Episode 4 - A New Hope release in 1977

Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back - 1980

Episode 6 - Return of the Jedi - 1983

Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace - 1999

Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones - 2002

Episode 3 - Revenge of the Sith - 2005

Episode 7 - The Force Awakens - 2015

Non-Episode - Rogue One - 2016

Episode 8 - The Last Jedi - 2017

Non-Episode - The Solo Movie - 2018

The Phantom Menace movie poster
The Phantom Menace movie poster | Source

The Third Order - The Skywalker Family Order

By mixing the ten movies, I believe there is a better way for those that have never seen the Star Wars movies to enjoy this series. The main reasoning for this order is that it keeps the original story line surprises towards the end of the series. I'm going to call this the Skywalker Family Order.

Here's the order:

Non-Episode - Rogue One - As this doesn't have any of the original surprises in it and finishes with the first scene from Episode 4, this would be the first movie I would watch.

Episode 4 - A New Hope - I think you still start with the story of Luke Skywalker. This will setup the Skywalker story, and you want to learn about Luke's father Anakin and how Obi-wan Kenobi knew Luke's father. We learn about the dark side.

Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace - This begin's the story of Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker, and how Anakin becomes a Jedi. Lots of information about the Jedi knights.

Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones - Who does Anakin marry, and who is Luke's mother?

Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back - Here's the 1st big reveal. I'm not sure about waiting 3 movies for this reveal, but I like it here as it sets up the final two movies.

Episode 3 - Revenge of the Sith - The 2nd big reveal. This movie also confirms the 1st big reveal.

Episode 6 - Return of the Jedi - You learn more about the 2nd big reveal in this movie.

Non-Episode - The Solo Movie - In reality, this can be placed anywhere between Episode 4 and Episode 7 as it tells the back story of Han Solo. You certainly want to see this one prior to Episode 7.

Episode 7 - The Force Awakens - This movie builds on the previous seven, so it's a great one to finish on.

Episode 8 - The Last Jedi - As this is the next movie after The Force Awakens, it's a great place to end until Episode 9.

I know this order goes back and forth from one generation to another, but I feel, neither the movie release order or chronological order are the best way to watch these 10 movies as you prepare for the release of Episode 9 in 2019.

What is your optimal order for watching the six Star Wars movies?

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