How to Watch All 12 Star Wars Movies In Order
In the almost 50 years since its initial release in 1977, Star Wars has become one of the most popular movie franchises in the world, amassing a cult following and a plethora of spin-off shows, books and games that spin a wide web of lore that stretches across an unfathomably long timeline.
We would love to travel in depth across the galaxy far, far away, but we should stick with the basics. The core story of the Star Wars franchise has expanded in recent years, bringing countless additional characters and fans into the fold. So, if you’re fresh into the many worlds of the Star Wars universe and are looking to witness the stories of Anakin, Luke, Leia and Rey as they were intended to be told, we’ve ordered all of the movies in a complete, chronological list.
Table of Contents:
How to watch the Star Wars movies in chronological order
The story of Star Wars stretches out across three movie trilogies, beginning with the rise of Jedi prodigy Anakin Skywalker and his defection to the Dark Side, which ultimately sees him transform into Darth Vader. Followed by the heroic tale of Luke Skywalker, another Jedi protege, and his feats against the Galactic Empire and ends many years in the future as we follow an orphaned scavenger, Rey, along her journey through the broken Jedi order as she discovers her own identity.
However, the initial order of release does not follow the chronology of the story timeline. In fact, the second, or “prequel” trilogy of films released in the late 1990s and early 2000s is where the story begins, bringing with them a wealth of clarification and story development some 20 years after the initial release.
If you would prefer to watch them in the order they were released to replicate the experience of those who have followed the franchise since its conception, go ahead by all means! But If you want to watch them in order of the story, here’s your full itinerary:
Episode I: The Phantom Menace 1999 (Running time: 2h 16m)
Episode I: The Phantom Menace follows Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) as a young Jedi apprentice under the guidance of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) as their paths cross with a 9-year-old Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) when they’re sent to settle matters with the Trade Federation who have cut off all routes to the planet Naboo.
Episode II: Attack of the Clones 2002 (Running time: 2h 22m)
Attack of the Clones is set 10 years from the events of The Phantom Menace, and the Galactic Republic is still entrenched in chaos and disorder. Various planets and powerful alliances band together to create a separatist movement led by an unrevealed, powerful force that presents new threats to the galaxy that even the Jedi struggle to contain. These plans in motion ultimately lead to the Clone Wars' beginning, marking the republic's untimely end.
NB: The timeline between Episode II and III continues throughout the animated series “The Clone Wars” as it follows the struggles the Jedi Knights face as they attempt to maintain order, as well as the growing bond between Anakin Skywalker and his Padawan learner Ahsoka Tano as they face the infamous fiend Jabba the Hutt.
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith 2005 (Running time: 2h 20m)
It has been three years since the Clone Wars began when Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) are sent to retrieve Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) from droid army commander, General Grievous, but Grievous evades them. Whispers of concern are raised among members of the Jedi Council concerning Chancellor Palpatine as a bond builds between him and young Anakin. Asked to play spy and bitter at his dismissal by the Jedi Council, Anakin embraces the Dark Side.
NB: Following Anakin’s defection to the Dark Side, there are several spin-off series and movies which act as fillers for the timeline between episodes I-III and IV-VI, including Solo: A Star Wars Story (movie), Obi-Wan Kenobi (series) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (movie). If you’re looking to absorb as much of the canon as possible, then take the time to watch each of these, too. If not, don’t fret! You will still get the overarching story from only watching the original six movies.
Episode IV: A New Hope 1977 (Running time: 2h 1m)
Darth Vader (David Prowse) and the unyielding Galactic Empire continue to bring disturbance and destruction across the galaxy as The Imperial Forces hold Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) hostage in their attempt to put an end to the rebellion against the Empire. The unlikely duo, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and the captain of the famed Millennium Falcon, Han Solo (Harrison Ford), work together with the droid duo C-3P0 (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) to assist the Rebel Alliance, save the princess and restore a semblance of order, freedom and justice to the Galaxy.
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back 1980 (Running time: 2h 4m)
This instalment of the saga sees the quartet of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) venture to the ice planet Hoth, where they come under attack by the Imperial forces and its AT-AT walkers. As Han and Leia escape, Luke searches to track down legendary Jedi Master Yoda in Dagobah. Only with his help will Luke prevail when the Dark Side beckons him and comes face to face with Darth Vader.
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi 1983 (Running time: 2h 11m)
The final film in the original trilogy has Luke Skywalker catapulted into the throws of battle with the hideous Jabba the Hut and nefarious Darth Vader as he attempts to save his Rebel Alliance comrades. Now coupled up with reaffirmed love and admiration, Leia and Han Solo band with Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian, alongside their trusty droids (C-3P0 and R2-D2)and the Ewoks to take down the evil Emperor Palpatine and quell the rule of the Dark Side once and for all.
NB: Taking place closely after the fall of the empire comes the highly revered The Mandalorian spin-off series, as well as The Book of Boba Fett and Ahsoka series, which offer additional lore and canon events which answer some questions that may have been raised during your time watching the main Star Wars movie saga.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens 2015 (Running time: 2h 16m)
Fast forward 30 years after the fall of the Galactic Empire, a new threat is rising in the form of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and a new iteration of the separatist movement dubbed the First Order. When Finn (John Boyega) defects from his role in the First Order and crash lands on the desolate surface of Jakku, he crosses paths with Rey (Daisy Ridley), a scavenger whose droid contains a top-secret map. Joining forces with the infamous Han Solo (Harrison Ford), the three of them must work to make sure what remains of the Resistance receives the intelligence about the location of the long-since exiled Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who stands as the last remaining Jedi Knight.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi 2017: (Running Time: 2h 32m)
The peaceful, solitary existence Luke Skywalker had come to find comes to an abrupt end as he encounters the budding signs of the Force in Rey, and she expresses her desire to learn the ways of the Jedi, which ultimately causes Luke to make a decision which will change their lives forever. At the same time, the First Order is led under the guidance of Kylo Ren and General Hux into an all-out assault against General Leia Organa and the Resistance in their quest to remain supreme over the galaxy.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 2019 (Running time: 2h 22m)
The revelation that Emperor Palpatine is still alive and did not die at Darth Vader's hands shakes the Resistance's rebels, as they must now race to discover his whereabouts. Finn (John Boyega) and esteemed fighter pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) lead the Resistance in their effort to the First Order's plans to resurrect the Empire; meanwhile, Rey anticipates her final confrontation with nemesis Kylo Ren.
How long does it take to watch all of the Star Wars movies in order?
The Rise of Skywalker is the final instalment in the Star Wars movie saga, making the entire series 12 movies long (if you don’t include the spin-off series and holiday specials) and taking the total run time to a whopping 14 hours and 4 minutes if you were to watch them all back to back.
Discover Star Wars toys at Toys for a Pound
Now that you’ve consumed every piece of Star Wars-related media there is to watch, we’re sure there’ll be demands for your little ones for all of the memorabilia they can get their hands on. Luckily, we have a treasure trove of Star Wars toys for you to browse here at Toys for a Pound. Whether you’re looking for a favourite character or a model of the best spacecraft, you’ll find it all in our online catalogue.