What Is the Best Order to Watch Star Wars for the First Time?

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If you’ve never watched any Star Wars films before, the question of where to start can be daunting. With a total of eleven films and several TV shows to choose from, the order in which you watch them can greatly impact your understanding and enjoyment of the franchise. In this article, we’ll explore the best order to watch Star Wars if you’ve never seen the films before.

Release Order

The most traditional way to watch the Star Wars franchise is in the order in which the films were released. This means starting with Episode IV: A New Hope, followed by Episodes V and VI, then the prequel trilogy (Episodes I-III), and finally the sequel trilogy (Episodes VII-IX) and standalone films (Rogue One and Solo). This order allows you to experience the franchise in the same way that audiences did when the films were first released, and allows you to see how the franchise evolved over time.

EpisodeTitleRelease Year
IVStar Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope1977
VStar Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back1980
VIStar Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi1983
IStar Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace1999
IIStar Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones2002
IIIStar Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith2005
VIIStar Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens2015
Rogue OneRogue One: A Star Wars Story2016
VIIIStar Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi2017
SoloSolo: A Star Wars Story2018
IXStar Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker2019

Chronological Order

Another option is to watch the films in chronological order, starting with Episode I: The Phantom Menace and ending with Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. This order allows you to see the story unfold in a linear fashion, and can help you understand the larger narrative arc of the Star Wars franchise. However, watching the films in chronological order can also spoil some of the major plot twists and reveals of the original trilogy.

EpisodeTitleRelease Year
IStar Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace1999
IIStar Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones2002
IIIStar Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith2005
SoloSolo: A Star Wars Story2018
Rogue OneRogue One: A Star Wars Story2016
IVStar Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope1977
VStar Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back1980
VIStar Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi1983
VIIStar Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens2015
VIIIStar Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi2017
IXStar Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker2019

Machete Order

A third option is the Machete Order, which was popularized by Star Wars fan Rod Hilton. This order starts with Episode IV: A New Hope, then jumps back to Episode II: Attack of the Clones, then returns to Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, followed by Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and finally Episodes VI-IX. This order is designed to preserve the surprise reveal of Darth Vader as Luke’s father while still allowing viewers to understand the larger context of the Star Wars story.

EpisodeTitleRelease Year
IVStar Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope1977
IIStar Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones2002
VStar Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back1980
IIIStar Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith2005
VIStar Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi1983
VIIStar Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens2015
VIIIStar Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi2017
IXStar Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker2019
Rogue OneRogue One: A Star Wars Story2016
SoloSolo: A Star Wars Story2018

Chronological by Trilogy

Another option is to watch the films in chronological order by trilogy. This means starting with the prequel trilogy (Episodes I-III), then the original trilogy (Episodes IV-VI), and finally the sequel trilogy (Episodes VII-IX) and standalone films (Rogue One and Solo). This order allows you to see each trilogy’s story arc in a coherent and uninterrupted way.

EpisodeTitleRelease Year
IStar Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace1999
IIStar Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones2002
IIIStar Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith2005
IVStar Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope1977
VStar Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back1980
VIStar Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi1983
VIIStar Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens2015
VIIIStar Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi2017
IXStar Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker2019
Rogue OneRogue One: A Star Wars Story2016
SoloSolo: A Star Wars Story2018

The Short Answer

In conclusion, the best order to watch Star Wars if you’ve never seen the films before ultimately depends on your personal preferences and what you hope to gain from the experience. Whether you choose to watch in release order, chronological order, Machete Order, or chronological by trilogy, each option has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Regardless of which order you choose, the Star Wars franchise is an epic and unforgettable story that has captivated audiences around the world for decades, and continues to be a beloved part of pop culture today.

Image: Star Wars

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