The Perfect Order in Which To Watch The Star Wars Movies

The order that makes the Star Wars movies that much better

Star Wars movie poster with all the film's incorporated

There is much debate about what is the best order to watch the Star Wars movies, for example some people argue that they should be watched in chronological order which would be as follows:

Star Wars movies in chronological order

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (set ten years after episode one)

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (set three years after attack of the clones, and thirteen years after episode one)

Solo: A Star Wars Story (set about twenty years after episode one)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (set thirty-two years after episode one)

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (begins moments after rogue one ends, and thirty-two years after episode one)

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (three years after A New Hope, and thirty-five years after episode one)

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (set four years after Empire strikes back, and thirty-nine years after episode one)

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (set sixty-six years after episode one, and twenty-seven years after return of the Jedi)

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (set in the same year as the previous film)

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (set a year after the previous film, and sixty-seven years after episode one)

Others argue that it is best to watch them in the order in which they were released which is as follows:

Star Wars movies in order of release

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

But I don’t think either of the above orders are the best ways to watch the Star Wars movies, I believe that the following order is best:

The order that I think is best

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Why this is the best order to watch the Star Wars movies

The first thing that you may have noticed about the above is likely that the Han Solo film, Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), has been omitted. That is because it does not really feel a part of the main narrative and I only wanted to include films which are part of the main narrative.

The second thing you will probably have noticed is that Rogue One comes after a New Hope, when chronologically speaking Rogue One comes before a New Hope. The reason I prefer watching a New Hope first is because a New Hope sets the scene for the entire Star Wars saga.

It is this film that will most likely make a person either fall in love with Star Wars or decide that Star Wars is not for them. Therefore, in my view this film has to come first. It just has to. This film is what created the entire Star Wars world, so to not watch it first in my view just makes no sense.

In regards to why Rogue One should come second, Rogue One carries much more emotional weight when it comes after a New Hope, that is to say when you know the stakes and just what they really are up against the story of Rogue One really packs a punch. A much greater punch than if it is watched prior to a New Hope.

So for those reasons for me a New Hope needs to come before Rogue One. And after Rogue One needs to come the Empire Strikes Back, my reason for this is that again this is a massively important film in the Star Wars saga and a film which really brings the saga to life, so watching it early on in my view is really important.

What is also really important in my view is watching episodes 1 to 3 next. However, squeezing episodes 1 to 3 between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi may seem questionable, but I assure you it is not and in fact makes perfect sense. Allow me to explain, in Empire Strikes Back we learn that Darth Vader is Luke’s father which perfectly sets up episode six, Return of the Jedi first – the film where Luke will try to bring his father back to the light.

And this is important, without episodes 1 to 3 we don’t know much about just who Darth Vader is, yet by watching episodes 1 to 3 after the Empire Strikes Back that changes, because we learn the tragic story of just how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. And in doing so it sets us up perfectly for Return of the Jedi, which in my view carries much more emotional weight when you know just how Darth Vader became Darth Vader. And that’s because it tells us that there may just be some good in Darth Vader and that he might not be quite as bad as he seems, which perfectly ties in with the narrative of Luke believing that there is good in his father which is what the entire story of episode six Return of the Jedi is about.

But that’s not all, by watching episodes 1 to 3 at this point it gives us a proper look into the Emperor, just who he is and how he gained his power which helps to set the scene for just how much of a titanic battle it is going to be to overthrow the Emperor and free the Galaxy from his tyrannical rule. On top of that it also shows us just how much danger Luke is in regards to the Emperor’s attempts to turn him to the dark side. That is to say if he can turn Anakin maybe he truly can turn Luke.

So that’s why episodes 1 to 3 in my view are best watched squeezed between episodes five and six, they just carry so much more punch when watched at that point. In terms of what comes next, Disney’s contributions to the saga, episodes 7 to 9. The position of these are pretty much self-explanatory, though I have to be honest I was tempted to have these films at the beginning and that is because as enjoyable as the film’s are they are just not as good as the originals and you just cannot escape the feelgood factor that comes from finishing on episode six.

At the same time it is inescapable that story wise it just makes no sense to have them at the beginning hence why I somewhat reluctantly caved in and added them in their chronological place as the final three films. But if you’re not bothered about watching them in any form of chronological order I have to say I’m a big fan of watching these three films first so that you can finish on episode six.

And that’s because despite the lukewarm reaction to them by many, they are enjoyable films and they also are a great way to get yourself back into the mood for watching the original saga. And even if you’ve never watched the saga before they are a great way to introduce yourself to it in readiness to watch the originals.

I’m almost selling myself this order against the one that I have chosen, which is really the problem with the Star Wars films, there are many great ways in which to watch them. But in this post I want very much to focus on the best order story wise and that in my view is the order that I presented above.

With that said that’s me done, let me know if you agree or disagree!

Author: David Graham

Sci-fi and fantasy writer, blogger and photographer emanating from the north-east of England.

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