What is the Order of the Star Wars Movies?

First, there was Star Wars. It was just called Star Wars back then. It wasn’t until later that it became known as Star Wars: A New Hope. If you want to know what order the Star Wars movies are in, there is more than one answer to the question. And whether you know it or not, this is a heated debate among Star Wars geeks fans.

StarWarsShop.com - More Product. More Exclusives.


Star Wars in Chronological Order… Our Time

If you want to watch Star Wars the way kids who grew up in the 1970s did, you can watch them in the order in which they were released. There are  some far more dramatic reveals if you watch them this way, which is why many Star Wars fans recommend watching them in this order, particularly if you or your child happens to be watching the films for the very first time. The movies were released in this order:

The Classic Trilogy

  • A New Hope
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Return of the Jedi

The Prequel Trilogy

  • The Phantom Menace
  • Attack of the Clones
  • Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars in Chronological Order… in the Star Wars Universe

If you want to watch the action unfold in “real time” along with the characters, you’ll need to watch the prequels first. Be forewarned, if pop culture hasn’t already told you who Luke’s father is or whether Princess Leia ends up choosing Luke or Han Solo (and why) – you’ll lose a bit of the magic watching them this way.

  • The Phantom Menace. Obi-Wan Kenobi is a Padawan learner and Anakin Skywalker is a little boy who is a slave on the  desert planet Tatooine.
  • Attack of the Clones. Anakin Skywalker matured into a cocky teenager, now the Padawan learner of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Revenge of the Sith. Anakin Skywalker gets a bit irritated with Master Obi-Wan, takes his teenage rebellion to the extreme.
  • {20 years pass in the Star Wars universe between the last film and the next one.}
  • A New Hope. Young Luke Skywalker meets old man Ben Kenobi. They seek out the evil and mysterious Darth Vader.
  • The Empire Strikes Back. Obi-Wan Kenobi is not of the physical world anymore, and Luke Skywalker learns some tough lessons from a short green swamp dweller named Yoda.
  • Return of the Jedi. The epic battle between good and evil. Who will triumph? Luke Skywalker? Darth Vader? I bet you can’t guess. At least one major character dies.

If you want to throw in The Clone Warsanimated features, they get tossed in between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.


Of course, then there’s the debate about which trilogy is “better,” which is more a battle between generations. Kids who grew up in the age of the prequels prefer them, while their parents prefer the classic trilogy. But that, my friends, is a subject for another time.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea Martell June 27, 2009 at 4:44 am

All these years later, and I’m still a Star Wars Geek. 33 and my religion on Facebook is Jedi. LOL

As a Star Wars Geek, I think watching them in the order released is a better idea. The original three, concentrate far more on character and story building, then the last, and while the story of the prequels is interesting, not enough character building was put into the movies, and they suffer for it.

Phenomenal Writer June 27, 2009 at 8:44 am

Agreed. There’s very little to support the romance between Padme and Anakin that leads to his fall to the Dark Side. The two characters had no chemistry, and we think it was all very forced.

Jordan & Armand Cabral November 25, 2012 at 12:51 am

My son Armand (8) and I chose to watch the Star Wars series in the order it was released. We have watched A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back so far. We chose this method as we believe that it will be more interesting not knowing what happens beforehand and won’t spoil some of the anticipation of how things will unfold and how they came to be.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: