‘Star Wars’ is a unique franchise in many ways, but there is one specifically that is unmatched by any other saga in or out of the genre. From its first bars, back in 1979, it starts in the middle. A ‘Chapter IV’ which would be followed by ‘V’ and ‘VI’ and in a few years, with the arrival of the prequel trilogy (parts ‘I’, ‘II’ and ‘III’), that numbering would become form an official part of the titles of each chapter. With that, George Lucas made it clear that the original films were just part of a much larger story.
That perspective has not been lost over time. Now it is practically impossible to face new installments of the saga, series or movies, without wondering as soon as you start at what point in the chronology of the series they enter. Before or after Luke Skywalker? Before Obi Wan, or even before? Although Disney tried to clean up the Star Wars chronology by wiping out a good number of stories generated in comics and novels at a stroke, only with the official movies and series are we facing a considerable chronological mess.
Therefore, Today we are going to explain in what order to watch the ‘Star Wars’ movies and series according to different criteria. We will talk about the canonical chronology, the machete order, the story order, the completist order and others. Be careful, because the viewing experience differs completely between one and the other options. Let’s bring order to this galactic universe.
Where to see all the movies
In Disney + you have the complete saga. Through this category dedicated to Star Wars you have all the material dedicated to the series. Within it there are several subcategories dedicated to original Disney + material, series, movies, shorts and a category vintage with products of the eighties out of canon. All that remains is for them to decide to show us the Christmas Special. Now, let’s go with how you can enjoy them.
1. Chronological official order
Have three large blocks: the original trilogy, the three prequels and the three recently released sequels. In between, a few additional series that can be injected at very specific times, although it is not always easy. This is the chronological order of the series:
Rise of the Empire
New Republic / First Order
It could also include ‘Star Wars Force of Destiny’, an anthology web series that follows several of the saga’s female characters, but each episode is located at a different time in the franchise.
And what is left out? When Disney decided to kill the Expanded Universe, this is all removed from that timeline (although some products, such as the Tartakovsky series, are among the best of the franchise), and it becomes part of the “Star Wars Legends” line.
- ‘The clone wars’ (web series by Genndy Tartakovsky; between ‘Episode II’ and ‘Episode III’). Officially it is out of the chronology, but ‘The Clone Wars’ in CGI can be understood as a remake of it.
- ‘Droids: The Adventures of R2D2 and C3PO’ (series; before ‘Episode IV’)
- ‘Star Wars: Holiday Special’ (after ‘Episode IV’)
- ‘Star Wars: The Ewoks’ (series; between ‘Episode IV’ and ‘Episode VI’)
- ‘The Adventure of the Ewoks’ (before ‘Episode VI’)
- ‘The Battle of the Planet of the Ewoks’ (before ‘Episode VI’)
- ‘Star Wars: Visions’: Completely out of chronology as they are timeless reinventions of concepts from the saga.
2. The Machete Order
This unique way of looking at the movies considers Darth Vader as the narrative core of the entire story (not silly, considering that the prequels were about him), and solves one of the big problems if you decide to enjoy the movies in chronological order. That is: one of the great revelations of the saga, that Vader is the father of Luke, does not have any impact if we have previously seen the whole story of Anakin becoming Vader and being the father of Luke Skywalker.
The solution is to turn the prequels into a long flashback inserted before ‘Return of the Jedi’. We would leave out ‘The Phantom Menace’ for not linking Anakin and Luke, and even Vader tie-in movies like ‘Rogue One’ would be considered spin-offs that can be seen separately. This would be the order:
- First of all, episodes ‘IV’ and ‘V’
- We go back to episodes ‘II’ and ‘III’
- We jump to Episode ‘VI’
- From there you can see all the movies in order, including the last three episodes, all the spin-offs like ‘Rogue One’ or ‘Han Solo’ and, to round it off, ‘Episode I’
An alternative version to the Machete order is the Ernst Rister, which is named after the first Internet user who proposed it in a forum, and proposes to keep the release order until the end of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. but go back including ‘Episode I’.
3. The Story Order
A curious proposal that poses the entire saga as if it were a huge flashback in the form of a story that Luke and Rey tell each other in ‘Episode VII’, almost like an oral history with traces of legend. In this way we could also include the two spin-offs and, respecting the chronology of the official order, the series. As this order is nothing more than a nice eccentricity, we only include the movies.
- We start with ‘Episode VII’
- We go back and start from the beginning, with episodes ‘I’, ‘II’ and ‘III’
- We intercut ‘Han Solo’ and ‘Rogue One’
- We continue the chronological order: episodes ‘IV’, ‘V’, ‘VI’, ‘VIII’, ‘IX’
4. The Time Machine Order
For many a nonsense without head or tail from a narrative point of view. For others, the definitive order. Consists in go back in time to May 25, 1977 to see the original trilogy in its original cuts, where Han Solo fires first and there’s no nightmarish CGI Jabba. This would be the order:
- Original montages of episodes ‘IV’, ‘V’ and ‘VI’
- We go to the first three episodes, ‘I’, ‘II’ and ‘III’
- As an optional point, we can see the three original episodes under their first remastering, in 1997.
- Finally, we have episodes ‘VII’, ‘VIII’ and ‘IX’
Of course, since the editions of the original assemblies are very out of print after their 2006 DVD editions, you will have to get rFan montages like the Silver Screen Edition or the Despecialized Editions by methods of dubious legality.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism