Lucasfilm has been doing films of starwars since 1977, but when The Empire Strikes Back was released in 1980, it came with the subtitle “Episode V” (with the original film dubbed Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope).
Since then, the film series has gone back and forth in time as it tells the story of the Skywalker family and fills in various narrative holes in a galaxy far, far away.
What this means is that there are two different and distinct ways to approach all movies: in the order that they were released in theaters, or in the order of chronological events. Both have their pros and cons, but they are equally legitimate ways to experience the Star Wars saga as a whole.
Star Wars movies in chronological order of events
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Released to theaters in 1999 as the first installment in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, The Phantom Menace is the first film set in the timeline and kicks off the story of Anakin Skywalker, a precocious boy who seems supernaturally gifted. in the ways of the Force, a mystical and magical power wielded by heroes and villains alike in the Star Wars universe.
You will meet the Jedi, an order of knights who use the Force for good, and the Sith, acolytes of the dark side of the Force who are generally trying to take control of the galaxy. It takes place about 32 years before the Death Star is destroyed.
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
In the second film of the prequel trilogy, set some 10 years after the events of The Phantom Menace, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) has grown into a sullen teenager and continues his Jedi training with Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Ewan McGregor, actor in the prequel trilogy).
He also falls in love with Galactic Republic Senator Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) and begins to let his growing anger get the better of him.
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
It’s Anakin vs. Obi-Wan in the prequel finale, when Anakin falls to the dark side and ultimately becomes the villainous Darth Vader. As he battles his mentor, Padmé gives birth to twins, whom she names Luke and Leia.
Meanwhile, the Republic is dismantled and the nefarious Empire takes its place. The film takes place about three years after the events of Attack of the Clones.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
An origin story for everyone’s favorite galactic smuggler, Han Solo, taking place about 10 years before the events of A New Hope. Here, Alden Ehrenreich plays young Solo, who sets off to make his fortune and meets future Star Wars mainstays Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian along the way.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Set immediately before the original Star Wars trilogy, Rogue One is a standalone film that tells the story of a group of Rebel spies trying to steal the plans for the Empire’s new secret weapon: the Death Star. Rogue One will give you your first real look at the Rebel Alliance, which was formed to fight against the Empire.
Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope
Here it is, the original Star Wars movie, and it features the defining versions of many of the franchise’s most popular characters, including enthusiastic farmer Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), fearless Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), and cocky smuggler Have Solo. (HarrisonFord). Luke goes on a journey of self-discovery and everyone joins forces with him in an attempt to bring down the Death Star.
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire strike back
Widely regarded as the best of the Star Wars movies (and for good reason), The Empire Strikes Back takes place some three years after the events of A New Hope and finds our heroes on the run from ruthless Imperial forces.
A wise puppet named Yoda shows up to train Luke in the ways of the Force, and Darth Vader reveals the truth to Luke that… 40 year old spoiler alert… he is Luke’s father! (AmericanPost.News reports that one of the drawbacks of watching the movies in chronological order is that this classic twist is ruined too many movies in advance).
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
The final installment of the original trilogy takes place roughly a year after the events of Empire Strikes Back and features the final confrontation between Luke, Vader, and Vader’s master: Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), a Sith Lord who has been skirting the limits of the franchise from the beginning.
Also included: a second Death Star, a group of fierce (but cute) teddy bear-like creatures called Ewoks, and a conclusion to the Skywalker Saga that lasted until…
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
32 years after the original cast ended their battle against the Empire (and three years after Star Wars creator George Lucas sold his company, Lucasfilm, to Disney), Hamill, Fisher and Ford returned to the fold for the sequel to the film by director JJ Abrams. The film takes place some 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi.
However, the spotlight has turned to a new generation of heroes and villains, including Rey (Daisy Ridley), a poor junk dealer with a strong connection to the Force, and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), a masked menace whose lineage is deeply rooted. rooted in Star Wars lore.
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
Set directly after the events of The Force Awakens, Rey continues her Jedi training with a reluctant Luke and forms an unlikely bond with a conflicted Kylo Ren, while the rest of the Resistance, a Rebel Alliance-style offshoot commanded For Leia, he fights against the First Order, the evil regime that rose to replace the fallen Empire.
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker
Emperor Palpatine has returned. (Seriously!) And it’s up to Rey and his friends from the sequel trilogy Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) to save the galaxy once and for all. Nearly every living character in the saga makes an appearance (and even some of the dead), and the story concludes the Skywalker saga in epic fashion. For now, anyway.
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