Star Wars‘ influence has reached far and wide since the release of the first movie in 1977. The franchise has spawned numerous sequels, prequels, TV series, books, comics, and video games. With so much Star Wars content out there, it can be difficult to know where to start. Whether it’s your first time to dive into the Star Wars universe or you’re a long-time fan, here’s a watch order guide for the Star Wars movies and shows.
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999 Movie)
Timeline: 32 BBY
The first movie to watch should be the 1999 movie, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. It is set 32 years before the events of the original trilogy and introduces key characters, such as Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Maul.
The movie also sets up the conflict between the Galactic Republic and the Trade Federation, which leads to the Clone Wars. As such, it is an important movie to watch first in order to understand the events of the following movies and shows.
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002 Movie)
Timeline: 22 BBY
Next, you should watch Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002 movie). This is set 10 years after the events of The Phantom Menace and follows Anakin Skywalker as he falls in love with Padmé Amidala and becomes involved with the Clone Wars.
In a roundabout way, it also features the first appearance of Darth Vader, although he’s not yet the villain we all know and love. Rather, it sets up the character’s tragic story arc.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008 Animated Movie)
Timeline: 22 BBY
After watching the live-action movies The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, the next thing to watch in chronological order is The Clone Wars, an animated movie that follows Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi as they fight against the Separatists during the Clone Wars. More importantly though, it introduces Ahsoka Tano to the Star Wars canon as Anakin’s Padawan, as she becomes an important character in the Expanded Universe and then on the Disney+ shows.
While it is not essential to watch this movie before Revenge of the Sith, it does provide some useful context for what Anakin is going through during the events of that movie.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2020 Animated Series)
Timeline: 22-19 BBY
You’ll also want to watch the Star Wars: The Clone Wars 3D animated series before diving into the series. The show is set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and it informs Anakin’s ultimate turn to the Dark Side, along with fleshing out the Star Wars universe and several of its major characters in general. This is where Ahsoka receives most of her character development.
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005 Movie)
Timeline: 19 BBY
In Revenge of the Sith, you’ll learn how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader after turning to the Dark Side. It also sets up the original trilogy, as heroes Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa are born at the end. Revenge of the Sith is a crucial Star Wars movie to watch, as it’s the only one that shows Vader’s complete transformation and fall.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch (2021-2023 Animated Series)
Timeline: 19 BBY
The animated series’s events take place during the “Dark Times.” It focuses on a group of elite clones who break away from the Republic to become mercenaries. They take on dangerous missions throughout the galaxy, often against overwhelming odds. These characters originally appeared in The Clone Wars.
Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018 Movie)
Timeline: 13-10 BBY
The movie tells of Han Solo’s early days on the streets of Corellia, his time with the Imperial Navy, and his fateful meeting with Chewbacca, which ultimately leads him to a life of smuggling. The events happen during the height of the Empire’s rule before the Rebel Alliance formed.
Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022 TV Miniseries)
Timeline: 9 BBY
This Disney+ show is based on the extremely popular Star Wars character Obi-Wan Kenobi and sees Ewan McGregor reprise his role as the titular character from the prequel trilogy. The show’s timeline falls between the end of the prequel trilogy and the beginning of the original trilogy and finds Obi-Wan going on an unexpected adventure with a young Leia Organa.
Star Wars Rebels (2014-2018 Animated Series)
Timeline: 5 BBY-1 BBY
Star Wars Rebels is an animated series that follows a band of rebels, including Jedi-in-training Ezra Bridger, who fight against the Galactic Empire. The show also takes place during the time period between the prequel movies and the original trilogy. It marks the TV debut of Grand Admiral Thrawn, one of the most popular and famous villains in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
Andor (2022- TV Series)
Timeline: 5 BBY-0 BBY
Andor is a prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and is set five years before the latter. It shows viewers how Cassian Andor became a rebel, who he was before meeting Jyn Erso, and what he did during the Galactic Civil War. It’s also just an absolutely fantastic TV show created by Tony Gilroy.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016 Movie)
Timeline: 0 BBY
After getting more insight into Andor’s backstory in his solo series, you’ll want to watch Rogue One next in the chronological viewing order for Star Wars movies. Although it’s not necessarily part of the literal “Skywalker Saga,” Rogue One follows a group of rebels who band together to steal the Death Star plans, making the events of A New Hope possible.
In fact, this heist movie has some of the best action sequences in any Star Wars film and sets up the original 1977 film perfectly.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977 Movie)
Timeline: 0 BBY – 0 ABY
A New Hope is the original Star Wars movie that started it all. It is set 19 years after the formation of the Galactic Empire. Luke Skywalker joins forces with the Rebel Alliance to help save Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader, with help from lovable smugger Han Solo and aging Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980 Movie)
Timeline: 3 ABY
The second movie released from the Star Wars saga follows Luke Skywalker furthering his Jedi training with Master Yoda on Dagobah while Darth Vader leads the Empire’s hunt for Luke. It is generally considered to be the best movie in the entire franchise.
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983 Movie)
Timeline: 4 ABY
The end of the Galactic Civil War and Vader’s redemption are the focus of Return of the Jedi. The Emperor is defeated, Luke becomes a Jedi, and it’s pretty much a happy ending all around. Fans of the original trilogy love this movie for its satisfying conclusion.
The Mandalorian (2019-2023 TV Series)
Timeline: 9 ABY
The Mandalorian is a space western series set in the Star Wars universe. It follows the adventures of a Mandalorian bounty hunter named Din Djarin and his companion, the “Child” nicknamed “Baby Yoda” by fans (but his name is actually Grogu). The events fall between the films Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. To make sure you don’t miss anything in the story though, you must watch The Book of Boba Fett (below) before watching season 3 of The Mandalorian.
The Book of Boba Fett (2021-2022 TV Series)
Timeline: 9 ABY
The Book of Boba Fett also provides much insight into the Mandalorian’s backstory. It is set after the events of Return of the Jedi and follows Boba Fett as he establishes his reputation as the galaxy’s most fearsome bounty hunter. It’s generally not well regarded, but part of the season becomes a continuation of The Mandalorian following the conclusion of that show’s second season, making it important to watch anyway.
Star Wars Resistance Season 1 (2018 Animated Series)
Timeline: 34 ABY
The series follows Kazuda Xiono, a young pilot recruited by the Resistance to spy on the First Order. It’s set prior to the events of The Force Awakens, where the Resistance is formed to fight against the First Order.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015 Movie)
Timeline: 34 ABY
The sequel trilogy begins by establishing a new set of characters, including Rey, Finn, and Poe, who team up with classic Star Wars characters Han Solo and Leia Organa in the Resistance to battle the First Order, led by Supreme Leader Snoke. It also sets up another major new villain for the franchise, Kylo Ren.
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017 Movie)
Timeline: 34 ABY
The Last Jedi picks up where The Force Awakens left off. Rey has found Luke Skywalker, who is hiding on the planet Ahch-To. Kylo Ren and the First Order are hot on the Resistance’s heels though following the destruction of Starkiller Base, and a showdown between the two forces seems inevitable.
Star Wars Resistance Season 2 (2019-2020 Animated Series)
Timeline: 34-35 ABY
The first season of Star Wars Resistance ended with the First Order destroying the Hosnian system and Poe Dameron sending Kaz Xiono on a secret mission to spy on the First Order.
Season 2 picks up six months later with Kaz undercover as a mechanic on a First Order star destroyer, while the Colossus platform has been taken over by pirates. The show also introduce new characters like Jarek Yeager’s long-lost love interest, Torra Doza.
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019 Movie)
Timeline: 35 ABY
The last movie in the Skywalker Saga and the ninth movie of the Star Wars franchise as a whole, Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker is set 35 years after Return of the Jedi. In it, Rey, Finn, and Poe conclude their fight against Kylo Ren and the First Order.
Why Are Star Wars Years in BBY and ABY?
The short answer is that BBY and ABY refer to the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. In that movie, Luke Skywalker destroyed the Death Star during the Battle of Yavin, an event that occurred in 0 BBY (“Before Battle of Yavin”). Therefore, any date prior to 0 BBY is referred to as BBY, and any date after 0 BBY is referred to as ABY (“After Battle of Yavin”). However, it’s worth noting that Star Wars movies and shows don’t always adhere strictly to this timeline.
Now you know how to watch all of the Star Wars movies and TV shows in order!