The Ultimate Star Wars Movies History and Chronology

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There are so many Star Wars movies that fit into the franchise now, it’s no wonder some people are getting confused. Unless you’ve been a die-hard fan from the 70s, you might be unsure about the chronological order of the movies. That’s why today I’m going to go over the history of the Star Wars movies and how to watch them in chronological order. Hang on to your blaster, because it’s going to get messy.

About the Star Wars Movie Franchise

Ready to talk Star Wars? I’ll keep this brief, but I want to give you a little information about the evolution of the Star Wars universe. We’ve seen multiple different directors, we got bought by Disney, and much more. A lot’s happened. I’ll explain.

George Lucas

You’ve probably heard of this man, right? George Lucas is the original creator of Star Wars. He wrote stories about the iconic Luke Skywalker adventuring across the galaxy with Princess Leia and Han Solo to stop the insidious Darth Vader.

He made these stories into the popular movies you know today. Did you know a 1958 Japanese movie called The Hidden Fortress was a huge inspiration to him when writing the series?

Disney and LucasFilm

In 2012, Disney bought LucasFilm to take over the production of the Star Wars franchise. Under Disney, J.J. Abrams-directed the 1st and 3rd new installments of the franchise, The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker. Rian Johnson directed the 2nd installment, The Last Jedi.

George Lucas decided to take a back seat and give the franchise to Disney for personal reasons. He said it takes 10 years to successfully make a trilogy of movies, and he wanted to spend time raising his daughter.

The Future of the Galaxy

Now that The Rise of Skywalker has wrapped up, what plans are there for the Star Wars movies? Well, nothing official has been said about the storyline, characters, or anything like that; however, you’ll be interested to know Disney has scheduled 2 Star Wars movies to release in the future: 1 in 2025 and 1 in 2027.

Star Wars Movies in the Order They Came Out + Key Specs

In this section, I’ll give a brief run-down of each movie in the Star Wars franchise. Buckle in because the list isn’t short by any means. This guide goes over the movies in chronological order, but there will be a shorter list with all the movies listed in chronological order later on if you need a quick reference.

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Director: George Lucas

Plot Premise

Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, are on a mission to stop The Trade Federation (who has secretly partnered with the Sith Lord-Darth Sidious,) from destroying a planet called Naboo. Naboo is the home planet of Queen Amidala, who joins forces with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan to save her people under the guise of a servant.

While on their quest to stop The Trade Federation, the Jedi Master and Jedi-in-training crash land on the planet of Tatooine. Here, they meet 9-year-old Anakin Skywalker who, along with his mother, are slaves to the greedy Watto. Qui-Gon sees great promise for a future Jedi Master in young Anakin, who can help them save Queen Amidala’s planet.

Main Characters

  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Qui-Gon Jinn
  • Queen Amidala
  • Anakin Skywalker
  • Captain Panaka
  • Jar Jar Binks

Main Conflict

The Trade Federation partners with Darth Sidious to destroy Naboo and take control of the galaxy.

Main Hero: Obi-Wan Kenobi

Main Villain: Darth Sidious

Fun Fact: Did you know that in this movie, Yoda was originally going to be portrayed by a puppet?

Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

Director: George Lucas

Plot Premise

Jumping 10 years ahead of the events from The Phantom Menace, Padme Amidala is now a senator on Naboo. After an assassination attempt is made against her, Chancellor Palpatine instructs Obi-Wan and Anakin to look after her while Jar Jar Binks acts as a senator in her stead.

Obi-Wan is worried as Anakin seems to be leaning towards the Dark Side the further into his Jedi training he gets. Anakin gets to protect his love interest, Padme, while Obi-Wan tries to uncover why a bounty hunter named Zam attempted Padme’s life.

Main Characters

  • Anakin Skywalker
  • Queen Amidala
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Count Dooku
  • Mace Windu
  • Yoda

Main Conflict

Count Dooku is a traitor on the Jedi council who has partnered with Darth Sidious to bring down the Republic with an army of clones.

Main Hero: Anakin Skywalker

Main Villain: Count Dooku

Fun Fact: There is actually no meaning behind Mace Windu’s lightsaber being purple. Samuel L. Jackson just thought a purple lightsaber would look cool.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Director: Dave Filoni

Plot Premise

In this animated Star Wars film that kicks off the animated Star Wars TV show on Cartoon Network, Count Dooku and Darth Sidious manage to capture Jabba the Hut’s son and pin the crime on the Jedi Order. Jabba the Hut controls enormous chunks of trade routes across the galaxy, which is why it would be catastrophic for the Republic, already in shambles, to lose the trade routes.

Anakin Skywalker, along with his newfound padawan Ahsoka Tano, and Rex, are tasked with saving Jabba’s son from The Separatists and the Dark Side. Obi-Wan must convince Jabba the Hut of the Republic’s innocence and that Jabba’s son will be returned to him by Anakin.

Main Characters

  • Anakin Skywalker
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Ahsoka Tano
  • Rex
  • Count Dooku
  • Padme Amidala

Main Conflict

Darth Sidious and Count Dooku work together to capture Jabba the Hut’s son and pin the crime on the Jedi Order.

Main Hero: Anakin Skywalker

Main Villain: Count Dooku

Fun Fact: As a producer of the movie, George Lucas claimed this animated film was “an afterthought.”

Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

Director: George Lucas

Plot Premise

3 years after the beginning of the Clone Wars, Anakin and Obi-wan rescue a kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine. Suspicions are being raised about Chancellor Palpatine, and Anakin is ordered to spy on him, but Anakin is fed up with the Jedi Order and embraces the Dark Side instead. Padme Amidala is pregnant with Anakin’s 2 children, Luke and Leia.

Not everyone is who they seem in this movie, and the hero just might wind up becoming the villain. Sometimes, it’s the hero who messes up the most.

Main Characters

  • Anakin Skywalker
  • Padme Amidala
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Mace Windu
  • Supreme Chancellor Palpatine
  • Senator Bail Organa
  • Yoda

Main Conflict

Count Dooku, The Separatists, and the Dark Side are closing in on the Republic from all sides, which is scattered throughout the Outer Rim. Anakin Skywalker embraces the Dark Side.

Main Hero: Anakin Skywalker

Main Villain: Anakin Skywalker

Fun Fact: 72 sets were created for this movie!

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Director: Ron Howard

Plot Premise

A young, 19-year-old Han Solo partners with a Wookie named Chewbacca and a team of smuggling thieves. A galactic gangster named Dryden Vos is in hot pursuit of the smuggling crew, so they must travel to a planet called Kessel to retrieve coaxium and repay their debt.

Lando, who is the captain of the famous Millennium Falcon, joins Han Solo and his gang for a fun, action-adventure journey through space. This is Star Wars, too, so expect some romance between certain members of the crew.

Main Characters

  • Han Solo
  • Chewbacca
  • Lando Calrissian
  • Qi’ra
  • Beckett
  • Val
  • Dryden Vos

Main Conflict

Dryden Vos is trying to kill Han Solo and his gang of thieves unless they can pay him back in coaxium.

Main Hero: Han Solo

Main Villain: Dryden Vos

Fun Fact: This is the first Star Wars movie that showcases Chewbacca as a lead character!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Director: Gareth Edwards

Plot Premise

The leader of the Galactic Empire, Orson Krennic, captures an engineer named Galen Erso, which forces Galen’s daughter into hiding. 13 years later, Galen’s daughter, Jyn, is extracted from prison and brought to rebel leaders who know what her father is doing for Imperial forces.

The Rebel leaders convince Jyn she will be part of a mission to extract her father, but other members of the squad (Cassian and K-2SO) know they are on a mission to kill Galen. The real mission is to prevent the completion of the Death Star.

Main Characters

  • Jyn Erso
  • Cassian Andor
  • K-2SO
  • Chirrut Imwe
  • Baze Malbus
  • Orson Krennic

Main Conflict

Jyn’s father, Galen Erso, has been captured by the leader of the Galactic Empire, Orson Krennic, to engineer the Death Star to destroy unruly planets. 13 years later, Jyn believes she is on a mission to save her father, but the Rebel “extraction” team accompanying her has been ordered to kill Galen to stop the Death Star from being completed.

Main Hero: Jyn Erso

Main Villain: Orson Krennic

Fun Fact: Leia gives the last line in the movie, setting up the first movie to ever come out, A New Hope.

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Director: George Lucas

Plot Premise

Luke Skywalker learns of the Force that dwells within him and must master it to aid Rebel forces in restoring peace to the galaxy by crushing the tyranny of the Galactic Empire. To save Rebel leader Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader, Luke teams up with Han Solo, R2-D2, C-3P0, and Chewbacca. Aboard the Millennium Falcon, they thwart the Galactic Empire’s attempts to stop them.

Main Characters

  • Luke Skywalker
  • Leia
  • Han Solo
  • R2-D2
  • Yoda
  • Chewbacca
  • C-3P0
  • Darth Vader

Main Conflict

Darth Vader has captured Rebel leader Princess Leia to silence rebellions against the Galactic Empire.

Main Hero: Luke Skywalker

Main Villain: Darth Vader

Fun Fact: The original plan was to have R2-D2 speak English lines instead of making beep-bop sounds.

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

Director: George Lucas

Plot Premise

Rebel forces, led by Princess Leia, have had to relocate to a desolate ice planet called Hoth. Darth Vader is in constant search of Luke Skywalker, who he knows is destined to be a Jedi that could disrupt Imperial plans. On Hoth, Luke Skywalker accidentally alerts one of the Galactic Empire’s probe droids to the Rebels’ whereabouts.

When Darth Vader comes to Hoth with an armed Imperial fleet, the heroes must protect Rebels as they escape the icy planet to reconvene at a safer location. Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader will come face-to-face.

Main Characters

  • Luke Skywalker
  • Leia
  • Han Solo
  • Chewbacca
  • Yoda
  • R2-D2
  • C-3P0
  • Darth Vader

Main Conflict

Luke Skywalker must face down Darth Vader and protect other Rebels as they escape the icy planet of Hoth.

Main Hero: Luke Skywalker

Main Villain: Darth Vader

Fun Fact: George Lucas financed The Empire Strikes back all by himself!

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

Director: George Lucas

Plot Premise

Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia must save Han Solo from Jabba the Hut, who is the galaxy’s top crime boss. The team must then combine their skills with the other Rebel forces to take on Darth Vader in a final epic showdown. Darth Vader is planning on building even more Death Stars, capable of even worse destruction, which he’ll use to quell all rebelling planets should the heroes fail.

Main Characters

  • Luke
  • Han Solo
  • Leia
  • Chewbacca
  • R2-D2
  • C-3P0
  • Darth Vader

Main Conflict

All the heroes must work together to take down Darth Vader, the Galactic Empire, and the Dark Side of the Force in Luke’s final epic showdown.

Main Hero: Luke Skywalker

Main Villain: Darth Vader

Fun Fact: Did you know that Yoda wasn’t supposed to make an appearance in this movie?

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Director: J. J. Abrams

Plot Premise

30 years after Luke Skywalker defeated Darth Vader and disappeared, Darth Vader’s grandson has retaken the Galactic Empire under the name, the First Order. Through a stroke of luck, defected stormtrooper Finn meets a woman named Rey who has untapped Jedi potential on a desert planet.

Rey and Finn team up with Poe and Han Solo to find Luke Skywalker under the direction of the Resistance leader, General Leia. Kylo Ren learns of the Resistance’s plans and will try to stop them at every turn.

Main Characters

  • Rey
  • Finn
  • Poe
  • Kylo Ren
  • BB-8
  • General Hux

Main Conflict

Kylo Ren, the grandson of Darth Vader and leader of the Galactic Empire, has renewed the strength of the Galactic Empire and renamed their forces the First Order. Rey, Finn, Poe, Han Solo, and the gang must prevent Kylo from taking hold of the galaxy by finding Luke Skywalker.

Main Hero: Rey

Main Villain: Kylo Ren

Fun Fact: Rey’s name was supposed to be Kira!

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

Director: Rian Johnson

Plot Premise

Rey has found Luke Skywalker and began her Jedi training with him. While Rey trains, she feels the Dark Side calling to her as Kylo Ren feels a pull towards the side of good. Meanwhile, Finn, Poe, Rose, and others must aid General Leia and the Resistance’s forces in their efforts to stop Kylo Ren from overtaking the galaxy. An all-out battle between Kylo Ren’s forces and the Resistance commences, with appearances that shocked fans.

Main Characters

  • Rey
  • Finn
  • Poe
  • Rose
  • Luke Skywalker
  • Kylo Ren
  • General Hux
  • BB-8

Main Conflict

Kylo Ren and General Hux are trying to crush the last of the Resistance’s forces to gain control of the galaxy while Rey learns to master her Jedi powers with Luke Skywalker.

Main Hero: Rey

Main Villain: Kylo Ren

Fun Fact: Did you know over 125 different sets were made for this movie?

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

Director: J.J. Abrams

Plot Premise

While Rey is preparing for an all-out duel against Kylo Ren, Finn and Poe help the Resistance to stop Kylo Ren and General Hux from taking control of the galaxy with the First Order. With General Leia, the Resistance learns that Darth Sidious has been behind the efforts of the First Order all along and they must act quickly to stop the evil Sith lord.

Main Characters

  • Rey
  • Finn
  • Poe
  • BB-8
  • Kylo Ren
  • General Hux

Main Conflict

The true villain of this trilogy in the Star Wars saga is uncovered when the Rebels learn Darth Sidious did not die all those years ago when Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. The Rebels must find him and stop Darth Sidious from taking control of the galaxy.

Main Hero: Rey

Main Villain: Darth Sidious

Fun Fact: Carrie Fisher’s daughter plays as General Leia in a flashback scene with Leia and Luke Skywalker.

How to Watch the Star Wars Movies in Chronological Order

This list will show you how to watch the movies if you want to see the story unfold in the right timeline. This way, you begin with 9-year-old Anakin Skywalker and end with Rey becoming a Jedi master decades later. The list is long, but the journey is worth it. May the force be with you.

1. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

2. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

3. Star Wars: The Clone Wars

4. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

5. Solo: A Star Wars Adventure

6. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

7. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

8. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

9. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

10. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

11. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

12. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

FAQ

In this section, I’ll answer your most frequently asked questions about the Star Wars movies and the history behind them. If you have more questions I don’t get to in this article, don’t be shy! Leave me a comment in the section below with your question and I’ll get back to you with an answer as soon as I can.

Question: What is the Correct Order of the Star Wars Movies and Shows?

Answer: Here’s the thing: there are a ton of different ways to watch the Star Wars movies. I wouldn’t say any of them are “correct” or “incorrect.” Watching the movies chronologically gives you a completely different perspective on the movies than if you watched them in the order they came out. Look up Star Wars machete order and you’ll find another way fans recommend you view the franchise.

Question: Why Did Star Wars Start with Episode 4?

Answer: George Lucas wanted audiences to be thrown into the Star Wars universe without the preamble of setting up Anakin’s story. Instead of building a villain, by episode 4, the villain is already built. George Lucas also thought, due to technicalities with movie production, that it would be better to film episode 4 instead of episode 1. Judging by the immense popularity of Star Wars, I guess he was right.

Question: What is the Last Star Wars Movie to Watch?

Answer: If you want to watch the Star Wars movies in chronological order, then you should watch Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker last. If you’re watching the movies in the order they were released, episode 9 is the last movie to watch, too. Episode 9 came out in 2019, so it is the most recent Star Wars movie in the franchise.

To Be Continued…

While I’m sure there will be more Star Wars adventures to talk about in the future, this wraps up the movies in the Star Wars universe so far. What do you think? Are you ready to take on watching every Star Wars movie in chronological order? Let me know what you think in the comments below and be sure to tell me what your favorite Star Wars movie is! For even more movie guides, head over to our website and I’m sure we’ll have a good time! 

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