Star Wars: in which order to watch the films of the saga?

Do you want to see or re-watch the Star Wars movies? For those who have not followed the saga since the first episode released in 1977, the viewing order may seem confusing. Should we follow the films in chronological order or rather the release schedule? Or, are there alternatives that make sense? This is what we will see in this article.

Star Wars: order to watch the movies

Making a Star Wars film is only worth it if you are already very well imbued with the common thread of the saga. We invite you to embark on a grand tour in this very distant galaxy. The rise of Skywalker, recently available on Disney + and which was released at the end of 2019, closed the last trilogy (called postlogy). After more than 40 years of adventures in Cinema, the heart of the George Lucas saga has finally come to an end.

This does not mean that we have finished hearing about it. Derivative films and series have already emerged, and several are scheduled for years to come, such as that of Kevin Feige, the boss of Marvel Studios. The Mandalorian, whose first season was a hit, returned at the end of 2020 with an excellent second season, with an exceptional finale that remained secret until the end.

The same problematic of the 9 episodes of the central story arises here too. If there’s no need to have watched all Star Wars before The Mandalorian, a certain knowledge of the universe of the saga is a plus which will necessarily help you to understand several significant details which could go unnoticed by a novice.

If the franchise is completely new to you and like many, you finally decide to take an interest in it, we tell you in what order to watch the different Star Wars movies to enjoy it in the best possible way. By the way, there is a Blu-Ray box set with all the Star Wars episodes. Unless you prefer the streaming option since all of the movies in the franchise are also available on Disney +.

Star Wars: why this mess in the film schedule?

When George Lucas begins to write the screenplay for Star Wars by the early 1970s, the story laid the groundwork for the Skywalker family and already described the structure of the Jedi Order. Lucas will gradually develop the storyline by adding different characters, locations, as well as unique concepts that define the identity of the saga as we know it today.

He realizes that the story could not fit into a single film and plans to articulate it around three trilogies for a total of 9 episodes. For commercial reasons, Lucas decides to start with the central trilogy which in his eyes had the greatest potential. This is how episode IV is produced, which highlights from the start the most interesting character: Luke Skywalker.

To avoid confusing the public’s mind, 20th Century Fox, the only production company that believed in the project at the time, decided to simply release it with the name Star Wars (Star Wars). The enormous success of the film earned enough for George Lucas to take the reins of the production of the following films. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back released 5 years later, in 1983, then episode VI in 1987.

The shift in the timeline therefore concerns only the central trilogy which was put at the beginning because Lucas had felt at the time that it was the best way to introduce the saga to Cinema.

Star Wars: the order of production of the films

Star Wars therefore revolves around three trilogies. Episodes IV, V and VI, those of the central trilogy, are the first that the public discovered between 1977 and 1987. Episodes I, II and III (the prelogy) were released 22 years after the first film, between 1999 and 2005 The George Lucas saga then ended as planned with postlogy, episodes VII, VII and IX released between 2015 and 2019. To recap, here is the chronology of the releases.

  • 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 : La revanche des Sith (2005)
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
  • Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)
  • Star Wars Episode IX : L’Ascension de Skywalker (2019)

We limited ourselves to the films which constitute the heart of the saga, excluding the spin-offs released in recent years, in this case Rogue One : A Star Wars Story (2016) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). You can follow this order to experience the saga like everyone else, or rather the way it has gradually revealed itself to the audience on a script level.

Many fans decide to adopt this logic. The first Star Wars (episode IV) is sufficient in itself to dive into history. If many details only appear in the sequel, the notions of Force, rebels, Empire, or even Luke’s powers are seductive enough to make you want to discover the sequel, with the surprises that go with it.

Star Wars: The Timeline of History

Is it better to explore Star Wars in the order of production or by following the true storyline? This choice may seem like the most logical. Cartesian minds will be tempted to organize the film in order according to the times when the different episodes take place. We then discover the events in a natural succession: from Anakin’s childhood to the fall of the Empire in the first trilogy.

Then opens the postology which focuses on the fate of the galaxy after the end of the Empire, while closing the story of the Skywalkers. So here is the chronological order of the story to recap.

  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
  • Star Wars Episode III : La revanche des Sith (2005)
  • 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 VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
  • Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)
  • Star Wars Episode IX : L’Ascension de Skywalker (2019)

Following this order allows for more consistency but it is not the best way to discover Star Wars with all the suspense that the saga carries. Some surprise effects disappear completely. The most striking case being that of the revelation of the true identity of Darth Vardor. We avoid spoilers for those who want to discover it.

Star Wars: Order with the Machete

The machete? What does it mean ? This is the name of a blog maintained by a fan of the saga, Rod Hilton, who offered an interesting alternative regarding the order to watch the films. Star Wars. The concept has been carefully thought out for insert the prelogy as a flashback immediately after episode V. It is therefore a time travel in the past which offers an explanation of the evolution of the characters, what binds them together, and especially how they arrived at the events of episode V just before the final fight in part VI.

The order of the machete therefore starts like the production timeline, with the only difference that episode VI does not immediately follow the V and is shifted at the end of the prelogy. And this is without altering the interest of the story, while retaining the effects of surprise as imagined by George Lucas at the start.

  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • (Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
  • Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  • Star Wars, épisode IX : L’Ascension de Skywalker

Note that Episode I has been put on hold. This is to mean that you can do without it without losing any of the common thread. This is the other particularity of the order proposed by Rod Hilton, The Phantom Menace indeed ruins the mystical dimension of the Force by reducing it to a simple biological concept. It is of course alluding to the famous blood tests to measure the level of midichlorians, these microorganisms living in the heart of all species in the galaxy and which maintained their link with the Force.

To continue reading on the subject, please note that Disney is planning a lot of Star Wars content to come for 2021 and after. We will mention in particular the film Rogue Squadron, a series on Lando, Andor, The Acolyte, etc. There will also be The Book of Boba Fett series, which will be a separate series from The Mandalorian.

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