Whether you’ve seen the entire Star Wars saga one hundred times over and want to introduce them to a friend, have caught a new release and want to dive into the rest, or have never seen a single film in the franchise, the choices are a little overwhelming. With multiple episodes and an ever-growing catalog, where do you start, and what is the proper Star Wars viewing order? Since the original trilogy starts in the middle of the saga’s timeline, there are a couple of viewing options. To help you prep for your epic sci-fi binge, here’s a guide for how to watch Star Wars.


Some (including George Lucas) recommend seeing the Star Wars movies in order chronologically. That would look like:

It’s easy to see the logic in this. It avoids any confusion about the timeline, and you are seeing the story unfold with the characters ageing accordingly. While this is fun for a re-watch, it may not be the best for a FIRST viewing. Here are three reasons why:

  1. You’d be starting with what many feel are the weakest film of the saga. If screening the series to newbies, The Phantom Menace may not ignite their world. In fact, when followed up with Attack of the Clones, they may want to fly away from the series faster than the Millennium Falcon in hyperdrive.
  2. Episodes I, II, and III are more enjoyable with the previous knowledge gained from watching IV, V, and VI. The prequels were created knowing that most of the galaxy had seen the original trilogy, so you will recognize all of the references.
  3. The original trilogy successfully welcomed an audience to a whole universe. While there is a slight air of mystery, there’s enough exposition to easily understand what is happening. Also, the audience is experiencing the plot through Luke Skywalker’s eyes, which is a magical experience. The revelations Luke encounters have a similar impact on the viewer. Having this solid foundation makes the rest of the films worthwhile.


Many say you should just watch the movies in the order they were released:

  • Original trilogy: IV, V, and VI
  • Prequel trilogy: I, II, III
  • Sequel trilogy and beyond: VII, VIII, IX

The wild cards here would be Rogue One and Solo. For anyone who prefers modern movies, Rogue One wouldn’t be a bad starting point before launching into the original trilogy. It’s an excellent standalone film, so it also works well after Return of the Jedi or even after all the episode films have been viewed.


A few years ago, someone suggested skipping The Phantom Menace altogether and watching the rest in the so-called machete order: with a sequence of IV, V, II, III, VI, VII, VIII, etc.

We’re pretty close to agreeing with that but we’re completists so we still think you should include The Phantom Menace and the standalone stories. So here’s our preferred viewing order:

  • Movies