In what order should the Star Wars movies be watched?

  • Please don't lynch me, but I've never sat through an entire Star Wars film. I'm aware that the 3 (new) films are technically prequels, but I feel strange watching 3 new films then 3 old films?

    Do I need to watch the new ones then the old ones?

    Related question on

    The Holiday Special and the Ewoks movies are the only good ones.

    I would now, if you haven't seen any of the films, go see Rogue One in the theater and then go home and immediately pop A New Hope into the DVD.

    See also "In what spot would the new Star Wars movie “Rogue One” go in the Machete Order?"

  • Mike Scott

    Mike Scott Correct answer

    10 years ago

    The best order I’ve seen suggested is as follows:


    • IV: A New Hope (original trilogy)
    • V: The Empire Strikes Back (original trilogy)
    • I: The Phantom Menace (prequel trilogy)
    • II: Attack of the Clones (prequel trilogy)
    • III: Revenge of the Sith (prequel trilogy)
    • VI: The Return of the Jedi (original trilogy)
    • VII: The Force Awakens (sequel trilogy)
    • VIII: The Last Jedi (sequel trilogy)

    Basically, you have a very extended flashback between episodes V and VI.

    That puts the oldest and clunkiest SFX first, avoids spoiling the revelations from episode V, and finishes at the end of the original story before moving on to the sequel trilogy. And it means you won’t stop and give up in disgust after watching only one movie.

    Edited 2015-12-20: I have now seen The Force Awakens, and it definitely fits in to this order after Return of the Jedi, and thus after all six of the other movies (or at least those of them that you choose to watch). And you should see it; it's a worthy successor to the original trilogy.

    Edited 2017-01-04: And I suggest watching Rogue One after seeing the original Star Wars/A New Hope but it doesn't really matter if you see it before or after any of the other movies.

    I love this recommendation. And as the parent of small kids, let me add that your appreciation of the various films is clouded by your age and what you were first exposed to. My kids loved I,II and III much more than the ones I grew up watching.

    Doesn't the very end of Episode III spoil the revelation made to Luke on Dagobah in Episode VI?

    @Chris: Maybe, but the significance would be debatable. Remember if you follow this plan you start with 2 movies getting to know everyone. I don't recall the end of E3 being a detailed explanation so much as a "here's the visual history" moment for people who knew what was going on. And even then, it's only spoiled for about 30 minutes.

    Just need to add the clone wars animated series in between ep II and III for completeness.

    I think this is right, but that Phantom can be dropped. It doesn't add anything and it just a distraction. It can be watched later as a bit of extra back story if you like.

    Is there a *name* for this order? I want to be able to tell people "You should watch it in X order!"

    @Mooz this is called the Machete order. Although technically the Machete order skips the Phantom Menace.

    Is there anyone that has actually done this? I can't imagine any kid, much less adult, wanting to wait to find out what happens to Han Solo and Vader. Conversely, there isn't much passion for Hayden Christiansen any time before the stand-alone episode III. Also agreed with Preston -- this answer says that you should watch IV and V first to get them out of the way, so that you can get to the better looking films? Hmm... I don't feel old, just sad...

    Mike, have just left R1 to the side for now. Perhaps when a few more films have been released some sort of sensible order will present itself.

    And where does Solo fit in?

    @TheAsh I’m pretty sure it should be off to the side with _Rogue One_, to be watched after _Star Wars/A New Hope_, but other than that it doesn’t matter.

    @MikeScott Why is there IV twice in the diagram? Isn't there a glitch in Revenge Of The Sith?

    @TGar Obviously, box number 5 should be III as shown in the list below. Everyone knows that Revenge of the Sith is episode III...

    The diagram was kindly added by @neilfein, and I don’t have the original to edit. Hopefully he will see this comment.

    @MikeScott - I'll upload a corrected version. Also, if you want to get me an email address I'll give you access to the original Google Document for future changes.

    @neilfein Thanks, I have sent you a message via your website contact form. Don’t really want to post my email address here.

    @MikeScott Perfect, you should have an email now.

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM