s one of the most beloved and culturally significant movie franchises of all time, the Star Wars movies have captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people around the world. Whether you're a longtime fan or a newcomer to the franchise, it can be challenging to know where to start when it comes to watching the movies.
However, after careful consideration and analysis, the Youtini staff has developed a recommended viewing order that will allow you to fully appreciate the Star Wars universe and all that it has to offer. One thing we kept in mind while creating the order is that Darth Vader’s true identity is one of the most well-known pieces in all of pop culture.
If you have the fortune to either watch or introduce a friend to the movies for the first time without any knowledge of who Darth Vader is, we would recommend watching the films in release order, starting with Episode IV: A New Hope.
It goes without saying that there is no correct viewing order for the Star Wars movies. Everyone is unique in their preferences and dislikes.
A massive reason that the franchise still remains one of the most popular staples in media is that it does a magnificent job of appealing to multiple generations of fans everywhere. I am a 25-year-old who grew up when the Prequel Trilogy was being released, and therefore I have certain biases as to how I view the films.
Despite a later release date, our recommendation is to start with the Prequel Trilogy, as they are easier for new viewers to approach than the Original Trilogy. The Prequel Trilogy consists of Episodes I–III: The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. While some fans may criticize the prequels, they do so much to expand on the Star Wars universe that George Lucas created that we feel they deserve to lead off our watch order. The prequels provide a deeper understanding of the history, politics, and conflicts that led to the events of the original trilogy. Watching the prequels first gives the viewer the added bonus of knowing the circumstances and motivations that ultimately led to the Original Trilogy, enhancing the overall viewing experience.
The prequels additionally introduce excellent new characters, such as the iconic Darth Maul, Count Dooku, and General Grievous, and explore the backstories of established characters like Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Furthermore, the prequels showcase new planets and cultures, such as Coruscant, Kamino, and Utapau, which add to the richness of the Star Wars universe. Overall, the prequels are a great example of world-building and offer valuable insight into the fall of the Jedi Order and the rise of the Galactic Empire.
After watching the prequel trilogy, it's time to dive into the original trilogy: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. These movies are the ones that started it all and are considered by many to be some of the best sci-fi movies ever made. The original trilogy is beloved for its imaginative world-building, complex characters, and timeless themes of heroism, sacrifice, and redemption. It is a cultural touchstone that has inspired countless works of art, literature, and entertainment and continues to captivate audiences worldwide.
A New Hope introduces us to Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and the rest of the Rebel Alliance as they fight against the evil Empire. The Empire Strikes Back is often considered the best of the series, with its iconic reveal of Darth Vader's true identity and the intense battle on the ice planet Hoth. Return of the Jedi brings the story to a satisfying conclusion, as the rebels launch a final assault on the Empire and Luke confronts Darth Vader in an epic showdown of good vs. evil.
With the original trilogy finished, it's time to move on to the sequel trilogy, which includes The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker. These movies take place several decades after the events of Return of the Jedi and bring back the beloved characters from the original trilogy while introducing a new generation of characters such as Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, and Poe.
The films are visually stunning, with breathtaking special effects and epic battle scenes that captivated audiences. Additionally, the sequels expand on the Star Wars universe by exploring the history and mythology of the Force, providing fans with new insights into the Jedi and the Sith. While the sequels may have received some criticism, they undeniably continued the epic story of the Star Wars franchise and gave fans an exciting and satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga.
Rogue One & Solo: Star Wars Stories
While the above movies are essential to the Star Wars story, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Solo: A Star Wars Story are standalone films that can be enjoyed at any point in your viewing journey. Both of these films are valuable additions to the Star Wars universe as they add depth and explore different aspects of the story that are not touched upon in the main saga.
Rogue One tells the story of the rebels who stole the Death Star plans, setting the events of A New Hope in motion. The film features some fantastic action sequences and some of the most memorable characters in the entire franchise, such as K-2SO and Chirrut Imwe. Rogue One is a great way to explore more of the Star Wars universe and understand the sacrifices made by the rebels in their fight against the Empire.
Solo follows a young Han Solo as he joins a group of smugglers and takes part in a heist that could make him rich. Solo offers a unique perspective on the Star Wars universe and is a fun, action-packed adventure that fans of the franchise will love. Han and Chewbacca’s first encounter, the Kessel Run, and Lando including the Millenium Falcon in his Sabacc bet are all iconic moments fans have always wanted to see and get to in this movie.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
For those who want to dive even deeper into the Star Wars universe, The Clone Wars movie and TV show are a must-watch. The movie takes place between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith and follows Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Padme as they try to stop the Separatist movement. The TV show expands on the events of the movie and introduces new characters and storylines that are essential to understanding the Star Wars universe. If you are still hooked after watching all of the movies, the journey through The Clone Wars show and the shows that follow are an incredible experience!
In conclusion, the ideal viewing order for the Star Wars movies is the Prequel Trilogy, followed by the Original Trilogy, and then the Sequel Trilogy. While Rogue One and Solo can be enjoyed at your convenience, they are best watched after the Skywalker saga as they add depth to the overall story. Additionally, The Clone Wars movie and TV show provide a great way to explore even more of the Star Wars universe. By following this viewing order, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the Star Wars story and be able to appreciate the iconic characters and moments that have made it one of the most beloved franchises in history. May the force be with you!
The ideal viewing order for the Star Wars movies is the Prequel Trilogy, followed by the Original Trilogy, and then the Sequel Trilogy. While Rogue One and Solo can be enjoyed at your convenience, they are best watched after the Skywalker saga as they add depth to the overall story. Additionally, The Clone Wars movie and TV show provide a great way to explore even more of the Star Wars universe. By following this viewing order, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the Star Wars story and be able to appreciate the iconic characters and moments that have made it one of the most beloved franchises in history. May the force be with you!