Star Wars movies: viewing order?

Confession: after starting our with a huge head start on most of the folks in this forum (just guessing!) by seeing the original Star Wars as a wee kid back in 1977 in theaters a half-dozen times or more, and greatly enjoying the original trilogy…I kinda fell off the Star Wars wagon.

Can still remember being disappointed by Phantom Menace…and then when Clones came out I was moving across the country and it was easy to skip because it also fell short of fan expectations. And then I was moving again when the third prequel trilogy movie came out and skipped that as well, since I’d not seen the second.

I did finally watch, uh, Episode VII a few years back, and I liked it more than I think hardcore Star Wars fans did. Always meant to see VIII, but had time conflicts the times that friends were going and missed out. And if you’ve committed that much, might as well see the latest, right? In for a penny, in for a pound and whatnot.

Plus Rogue One (which I gather is pretty good) and Solo (which I gather is less a fan favorite) are out there. So put those in. 11 movies!

Oh, and The Mandalorian. Maybe that goes at the end?

So here it is. I’ve probably got more time than I’ve had in years on my hands, even with just a reduced work schedule. I’ve got 4K versions of all the films at my fingertips thanks to Disney Plus.

So what’s the viewing order here? Chronological by release date? (Middle trilogy, prequels, Disney?) Chronological by events depicted? And regardless there, where should I slot in Rogue One and Solo?

Thanks for any input and advice!

4,5,6. The end. You can safely ignore both the prequel and sequel trilogy. There is nothing of value contained therein.

Solo was OK. Rogue One was fine.

Mandalorian turned out pretty good and is worth watching.

Apparently the Clone Wars animated show is good, but I haven’t watched it.

That is an answer to a question I did not ask. But thanks anyway.

I mean if you’re dead set on watching all of them, just go in timeline order 1-9. But it’s like 12 hours of your life you won’t ever get back.

I’m not sure my original post makes it clear, so I’ll state it explicitly here: I’m familiar with the opinions of critics and of the hardcore and casual fan communities of these movies. I read posts on Qt3. I listen to the movie podcasts. I did not fall off the turnip truck this morning regarding these movies and their artistic and/or entertainment value and/or lack thereof.

The question isn’t “Should I…” :)

1-9, including Rogue 1, but skip Solo. If including Solo, add it before Rogue 1.

Then what are you asking for? There’s only two logical ways to watch the series: either in movie timeline order 1-9 with Solo and Rogue One after 3, or in release order 4-6 then 1-3 then 7-9. The latter really serves no purpose any more other than an homage to the past.

The problem with going straight through 1-9 is that characters in the original trilogy are introduced as if you don’t know who they are. Vader and Kenobi get great introductions in IV, Yoda gets a great intro in V, not to mention the Vader reveal at the end of that movie. Those are all lost if you start with the prequel trilogy. Maybe that doesn’t matter, I mean we’ve all seen the original trilogy a dozen times each, but I’ve always started there. And I say that as someone who generally likes the prequel trilogy. More or less.

I still haven’t seen Rogue One or Solo, I guess I’ll make time for those someday. The Mandalorian seems like its own thing, doesn’t really tie into the movies much (I think that’s a strength, personally). You could probably fit that in anywhere but I guess going chronologically I’d watch after the original trilogy.

Since we had time, the wife and I watched all 11 movies over 3 weekends. First weekend was a double-double feature of the prequel trilogy and Solo, last weekend was Rogue One followed by the original trilogy, and this weekend was the First Order trilogy (or at least, that’s what I’m calling it).

For the prequel trilogy, what worked for me was watching not to see the story of how Anakin became Vader - it was to see the story of how Palpatine manipulated everyone in order to get his empire. Then the only real bad part is Anakin being the personification of ‘Every Breath You Take’ in it’s most creepy form. There was absolutely no reason Padme should have fallen for him. But story. Still, other than that, it was interesting just to see the machinations of Palpatine.

As for the First Order trilogy - I liked them overall. I’ll watch the movies numerous times. I don’t think - as a whole - the story necessarily fit together perfectly. And that is something someone should have figured out beforehand (ie, a mapped out 3-movie story). The first movie was almost a redo of the original Star Wars - complete with trench scene (which is where it really lost me). The second was one of my favorites out of all 11 - not perfect, but I think everyone misses the theme of the movie despite Yoda flat out stating it towards the end - Failure is the best teacher. And the third movie - for me - hit all the broad story beats, even if some specifics just didn’t work. But as I said, they were enjoyable enough for me that I’ll still watch them again. Not as often, probably, as the original trilogy, but more than the prequel trilogy.

Rogue One (big fan personally), Original Trilogy, Prequel Trilogy*, Solo**, sequel trilogy (I am broadly a fan of too)

Also Rebels is fantastic, so if you watch Clone Wars it is must watch. Twilight of the Apprentice is the best Disney Star Wars thing period.

*actually if you have the time and inclination I’d watch the Clone Wars animated series, maybe an essential episodes guide like this?

It basically executes the concepts from the movies, but Actually does them well.

**definitely improved by watching Clone Wars

I would watch them in chronical release order. Nothing that comes after 4/5/6 is going to make the original trilogy have more impact. I really liked rogue one but its success builds off of the events in 4, not as an introduction (even though chronologically it is an introduction of sorts).

Yeah, that said since Trig has seen the OT i may start with that.

I agree, mainly because it’s hard not to see them as part of a particular cinematic moment rather than some timeless… mythological addition, or whatever. Like trying to watch them out of chronological release order tries to pretend that they some sort of artifact descended from on high and not big budget films made by large studios.

To be honest, whatever is wrong with the prequels, they’re more memorable to me than the new trilogy, and, somewhat shockingly, have a much better soundtrack.

That I will grant. Reys theme is the sole standout. The prequels, for their flaws, have some amazing songs.

Appreciate the feedback!

What I’m really looking for the the “Why” behind the answers, as that will help inform me! Plus, if I’m in, I’m all in, so Solo is included.

I also think (or at least hope) that my weird viewing experience with the three trilogies will help make them more enjoyable, at least a bit.

What I mean by that is that I pretty much hopped off the Star Wars train in whatever it was – 1996? – that Phantom Menace came out. And I remember not actively hating that movie, just thinking “Well, I overhyped that in my mind.” But I also know a lot of folks SUPER invested in the prequel trilogy, hoping that each successive movie would somehow redeem things, which I guess is a task those movies were hardly up to.

And then when the modern trilogy came out, I think those movies were also saddled a bit with that same “You have to not just be a decent Star Wars movie, but you also have to make up for my childhood/adolescent/adulthood disappointment from the prequels.” And I don’t think those movies were maybe up to that task, either. But I say that having seen Episode VII and having quite enjoyed it for what it was. And I really like Rian Johnson, so I’m probably going to be at least pre-disposed to liking episode VIII, even though I’ve not seen it at all and know nothing about it. And then we’ll deal with Episode IX and take that as it comes. :)

What I’m thinking right now, but am COMPLETELY open to being talked out of:

Original trilogy.

Prequel Trilogy

Rogue One


Final trilogy


So we start off strong, and a little in medias res I think works well here for stage setting – divedivedive makes a strong argument there on the character introductions, and how those more elaborate introductions are paid off by being referenced in the prequels.

Then we do the prequels. I think I can do the prequels.

And we come out of the prequel trilogy with a strong standalone movie that re-references the original trilogy, if what little I know of that movie is right. And if CraigM is right. :D

Then we do the more dull standalone, but it also references the original trilogy, and at least we get it out of the way after a movie that people seem to like a lot, and before the first movie of the final trilogy, which I also know I liked a lot on one viewing.

I always prefer theatrical release order, for all things.

I think, were I to watch these films again, that’s the order I’d choose. When I was contemplating showing them to my kids, I was going to use Machete order in order to avoid the reveal at the end of ESB, but if you’re familiar with the storylines, near-theatrical is probably the best way to go. It’s the order that they were introduced to culture with, so you can watch film storytelling techniques and effects evolve along with the movies.

I had seen the movies before, so last year when I viewed them all in chronological order for the first time, I had a surprisingly good time. Episode 8 made me a fan of the franchise for the first time, so I wanted to go back and watch it all under those new eyes.

Episode 1
Episode 2 (yuck - watch Anti-Cheese edit like I did, much better!)
Clone Wars
Episode 3
Rebels (Thanks CraigM)
Rogue One
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
The Mandalorian
Resistance? (I haven’t seen this yet either)
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9 (yuck)

I’d switch the Mandalorian to after Episode 9 there, just so you get the better product at the end.

I’m also currently watching Clone Wars, which starts off pretty poor, but gets good.

It falls after Solo, its the 4 years prior to A New Hope

This is wrong. What you should do instead:

  • Original Trilogy
  • Final Trilogy
  • Prequel Trilogy
  • Solo
  • Rogue One
  • Rewatch the Empire Strikes Back


Ending with the final trilogy is the absolute worst thing you could do. You need the end of the marathon to be as close to a pleasant experience as possible. Beyond the original trilogy, Episode 3 and Rogue One are enjoyable (in my view). If you enjoy Rogue One you can go ahead and finish there, otherwise that’s the reason for putting the rewatch of Empire in there.