What Is the Chronological Order of the Star Wars Movies?
These days, if you haven’t heard of George Lucas’ epic space opera Star Wars, you must be either dead, or a hermit comparable to Episode VIII’s Luke. It is incontrovertibly an integral part of Sci-Fi history. With eleven theatrical releases under the series’ belt, plus the conclusion of the ennealogy (like a trilogy, but with nine parts) coming up this December, it’s easy to lose track of which movie fits where.
If you want to watch the films in their chronological order, look no further. We’ve listed them here for you, to save future confusion and arguments. And don’t worry, no-one’s going to mention the Christmas Special.
1 – Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- 1 – Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- 2 – Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- 3 – Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- 4 – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- 5 – Solo: A Star Wars Story
- 6 – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- 7 – Episode IV: A New Hope
- 8 – Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- 9 – Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
- 10 – Episode VII: The Force Awakens
- 11 – Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
- Order 66
Featuring a whiny child, and a much-hated, CGI-created, ‘comic’ relief idiot (with a surprisingly awesome fan-theory making his existence actually worthwhile… check out the ‘Darth Jar Jar theory’ on Google), the first of the Prequel trilogy left many fans disappointed.
2 – Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Filmed mostly in front of a green screen, Episode II was not the return to form that fans had hoped for. Lumbered with wooden acting and a plodding script (“I hate sand”, anyone?) the second installment of the prequel trilogy didn’t do much to improve over the first. Did we really need to spend so much time watching C-3PO’s slightly sad misadventure in the droid factory? Did R2 really need jump jets? And why did Jango Fett die so easily?
3 – Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Set after the outbreak of the titular Clone Wars, this offering served as an introduction to the television series of the same name. It was compiled of what was originally going to be the first few episodes of the series, which George Lucas decided to turn into a feature film “almost as an afterthought.” It was a critical flop, but the show that followed ended up being an excellent addition to the Star Wars canon.
4 – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Third time’s the charm. While still not quite on par with the original trilogy, this installment is generally agreed to be the best of the prequels. Watching Anakin’s descent into the Dark Side has some dramatic highlights, a few excellent lightsaber duels, and if nothing else, it has provided us with a plethora of meme-materials.
5 – Solo: A Star Wars Story
Harrison Ford’s shoes are very big ones to fill, and Solo went some way towards that goal. A somewhat polarizing entry in the list, fan and critical opinions are divided over whether this movie is actually any good. It features an entertaining turn by Donald Glover as Han’s on-again-off-again best buddy Lando, but generally it played things somewhat safe, unlike what we’d expect from its eponymous hero. Fans of the Extended Universe beware, the back story provided here bears no resemblance to what you used to know.
6 – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
An entire film based on the first paragraph of the title crawl from the original movie of the original trilogy. It seems a tall order, but this reference-heavy offering is the best of the spin-offs so far. Find out just how the Rebels got their hands on the Death Star plans, and wait until the end to see Darth Vader’s single coolest sequence committed to film.
7 – Episode IV: A New Hope
Where it all began. Shot on a shoestring budget, and dismissed as a piece of wacky Sci-Fi silliness, the first film of the original trilogy captured the hearts and imaginations of viewers around the globe. Ignore Han’s terrible maneuvers in the Falcon, because this is the movie you are looking for.
8 – Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Quite possibly the highlight of the entire saga, this one has it all. Starting with an epic snow-bound showdown between the military might of the Empire versus the plucky but outgunned rebels, and ending with betrayal, heartbreak, and a hell of a cliffhanger, this is one of the greats. Plus, you get to see what happened to Yoda after he went crazy and hid in a swamp.
9 – Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Action-packed space battles contrast with absurd, fluffy, cut-price, mini-Wookies. The conclusion to the original trilogy makes a few missteps but is all around an excellent capstone to an incredible trilogy. Watch as Luke fixes all the issues his emotionally unbalanced Dad introduced into the galaxy. Plus 3PO makes those adorable whooshy noises while telling bedtime stories to the Ewoks.
10 – Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Set 30 years after the destruction of the second Death Star, this movie introduces a new generation of characters while also somehow being almost thematically and functionally identical to Episode IV. Even so, as Disney’s first entry into the saga, it was well-received and a welcome improvement over the disappointment that was the prequels.
11 – Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Green milk, grumpy Luke, and Kylo Ren’s absurd abs. The second of the sequel trilogy was not as popular as the first, despite some exciting action sequences and clever touches. Fans were disappointed by the lackluster death and lack of backstory for Supreme Leader Snoke, as well as Luke’s transition from beacon of hope to crotchety old cynic.
In case you’ve not been paying attention, here’s the conclusive chronological order for the Star Wars movies so far, for your enjoyment of the saga in its full, if occasionally slightly awkward, glory.
- Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- 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
Which is your favorite Star Wars movie? Which of the upcoming movies are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments!