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Star Wars Timeline Explained: All Star Wars Movies And TV Shows In Chronological Order

James Earl Jones as Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
(Image credit: Disney / Lucasfilm)

SPOILER WARNING: Do you have a bad feeling about this article, particularly that we would be giving away crucial details about the entire Star Wars franchise on screen?  You would be correct in trusting that instinct. If you are not caught up on all the movies and TV shows in the timeline, proceed with caution and may the Force be with you.

The Star Wars universe is infinite, as one can easily tell from the countless movies and TV shows dedicated to offering the saga’s complete story. There is a lot to catch up on, but how does one follow the timeline chronologically?

Allow us to explain the proper order of all the older and latest Star Wars movies and TV shows confirmed as canon, so far, as clearly as possible here for you. Let us start, of course, with the beginning, which was not quite so long ago.

Liam Neeson in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

(Image credit: Disney / Lucasfilm)

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

The origins of George Lucas’ Skywalker Saga (before it was even collectively referred to as that name) were revealed in its “first” episode. Set years before the events of the 1977 original, the first chapter of the Star Wars movies’ prequel trilogy depicts a more peaceful time in a galaxy far, far away, but not for long.

After Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and his padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) narrowly escape the hostility of an evil trade federation, they must then aid the planet of Naboo by protecting their queen (Natalie Portman), which takes them to Tatooine, where they meet a boy named Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd). The Jedi take him under their wing, believing him to be destined to bring balance to the Force. They will one day be proven right, but not in the sense they anticipated.

Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones

(Image credit: Disney / Lucasfilm)

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones (2002)

Ten years after defeating Darth Maul (Ray Park) to avenge the slain Qui-Gon Jinn at the conclusion of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan Kenobi is now a Jedi Knight training a grown, sand-hating Anakin Skywalker (recast with Hayden Christensen) as his padawan in the second chapter of the Star Wars movies prequel trilogy. Following a failed assassination attempt on Senator Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), Obi-Wan investigates the matter and discovers a secret army of clones modeled after Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison), a bounty hunter with a son named Boba.

Meanwhile, Anakin finds himself falling in love with Padmé, despite the Jedi’s forbiddance of romance. The pair visit Anakin’s home planet to find his mother dead, igniting a murderous hunger for vengeance against the Tuscan Raiders who killed her. Fortunately, the story concludes with Anakin and Padmé returning to aid Obi-Wan and Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) in a civil war within the Galactic Republic. After seemingly defeating the manipulative forces of the Sith once again, Anakin and Padmé wed - the only witnesses being their trusted droids C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker).

Cad Bane, Anakin Skywalker, and Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars: The Clone Wars

(Image credit: Disney / Lucasfilm)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008-2020)

The continuation of a theatrical film that expands the history of the Clone Wars, this acclaimed animated Star Wars TV show takes place between the events of Episode II and Episode III. Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, Anakin Skywalker, and his new apprentice Ahsoka Tano are among the many Jedi battling against the Separatist droid army.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars also marks the unexpected return of Darth Maul, who is now a partially mechanical being after his natural bottom half was claimed by Obi-Wan in Episode I. The series also includes other established characters from  previous Star Wars movies and TV shows and paves a clearer path between the prequel trilogy and the original films by deeply exploring the much-referenced Clone Wars. It also introduces several now fan-favorite characters like ruthless bounty hunter Cad Bane.

hayden christensen as anakin skywalker in revenge of the sith

(Image credit: LucasFilm)

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith (2005)

Three years into the Clone Wars, Jedi Knight and soon-to-be father Anakin Skywalker’s commitment to the Light Side hangs by a thread as Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) slowly and insidiously lures him to the Dark Side. He shows his allegiance to the Sith by helping Palpatine (revealed to be Darth Sidious) wipe  out the Jedi, even the younglings, under his new title: Darth Vader. 

Obi-Wan reluctantly defeats Vader, leaving him burned by lava and legless, but fails to foil the Sith’s overtaking of the Galactic Republic, now reformed into an empire. Vader is given a mechanical suit that helps him breathe and walk, but immediately after, he learns that his wife Padmé has died giving birth to twins - a boy and a girl she named Luke and Leia. The twins are separated, with Leia adopted by Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) on Alderaan and Luke sent to live with his aunt and uncle on Tatooine, where Obi-Wan promises to keep close watch over the boy.

Clone Force 9 in Star Wars: The Bad Batch

(Image credit: Disney)

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (2021-Present)

Set during the aftermath of the Clone Wars, this Disney+ original animated series follows a group of genetically engineered clone troopers, all of whom are played by prolific voice actor Dee Bradley Baker. Struggling to understand why they, unlike everyone else of their kind, sided with the Jedi, they embark on a quest to learn the truth.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch is co-created by The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett co-executive producer Dave Filoni with Star Wars Resistance writer Jennifer Corbett. It is a unique and exciting follow-up to the acclaimed Star Wars: The Clone Wars series featuring appearances by a few fan favorite characters, such as Fennec Shand and Cad Bane. 

Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tattoine in Obi-Wan Kenobi

(Image credit: Disney+)

Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022)

In this Disney+ exclusive series set ten years after the Galactic Empire’s rise, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor, reprising the role for the first time since Revenge of the Sith) now goes by “Ben” on Tatooine - where he still keeps a close eye on young Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely), much to the chagrin of his protective uncle Owen (Joel Edgerton) and aunt Beru (Bonnie Piesse). Despite having little hope for or interest in the growing resistance, he is forced to rediscover his warrior ways when Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) informs him that his adoptive daughter, Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair), has been kidnapped.

However, the kidnapping is a trap set by the ruthless inquisitor, Reva (Moses Ingram), in hopes to earn the respect of Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen), whom she is secretly seeking vengeance against for murdering younglings like her years earlier. Struggling to ensure Leia’s safety and that of the resistance fighters he received help from along the way, Kenobi realizes he must face Vader himself in a shocking, deeply sorrowful duel. Reva also rediscovers her own goodness by sparing the life of her enemy’s young biological son, Luke, whom Kenobi also gets to officially meet for the first time before being reunited with the Force Ghost of his slain master, Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson).

Alden Ehrenreich and Joonas Suotamo in Solo: A Star Wars Story

(Image credit: Disney)

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

Also set a decade or so into the First Galactic Empire’s rule, Solo: A Star Wars Story follows young aspiring pilot Han (Alden Ehrenreich) whose dream to leave his home planet takes him on a journey involving tours with the Imperial infantry, smuggling an energy source called coaxium for crime syndicate Crimson Dawn, and making the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs.

We also learn how Han was given his last name, how his ability to speak Wookiee earned him the respect of the pit beast who almost killed him named Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), that his former girlfriend Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) turned out to be an employee of Darth Maul (Ray Park), and managed to claim the Millennium Falcon by beating Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) in a card game. So, essentially, everything you may or may not have needed to know (or already did know from previous Star Wars movies) about Han Solo is revealed.

Star Wars Rebels the ghost crew

(Image credit: Disney XD)

Star Wars Rebels (2014)

Yet another animated Star Wars TV show to bridge the gap between subsequent films of the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars Rebels sees the Galactic Empire at the peak of its rule. As it increases its efforts to hunt and eliminate the last of the Jedi Knights in hiding, a rebellion begins to take form.

This Emmy-nominated series follows a crew previously unfamiliar to the Star Wars universe who take it upon themselves to stand up against the Empire. This ensues much death-defying conflict against a few of the saga’s most iconic figures.

The crew

(Image credit: Disney)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

In this prequel to the original Star Wars movies trilogy disguised as a spin-off, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) has been on her own since childhood after her scientist father (Mads Mikkelson) was forced to abandon his family to assist the Galactic Empire. Years later, she reluctantly joins a ragtag group of rebels at an especially pressing time for its cause.

After Jyn discovers that her father had intentionally designed a moon-sized weapon for the Empire with a debilitating flaw, her newfound sense of hope inspires her to pass the information to the resistance, which sets in motion the rebellion’s most important mission yet: steal the plans to the weapon, known as the Death Star. Jyn and her crew, spontaneously dubbed “Rogue One,” all lose their lives in honor of the mission, but not before successfully intercepting and transmitting the Death Star plans to the rebellion’s ally, Princess Leia Organa.

The main characters of Star Wars.

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

Picking up immediately after the events of Rogue One, Star Wars: Episode IV sees Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones with David Prowse in the suit) and the Empire threatened by “a new hope” as droids C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) escape to Tatooine to deliver a message from Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) to Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi (Alec Guinness). They cross paths with an aged Ben through their new owner, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who then discovers he is a Jedi with abilities passed down from his father, Anakin Skywalker. 

They then enlist Millennium Falcon pilot Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) to rescue the princess and bring her to the safe hands of the Rebel Alliance. Despite losing Obi-Wan to a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader, the crew succeeds and joins the Rebel Alliance in a battle that results in the destruction of the Death Star. Luke, Han, Chewie, C-3PO, and R2-D2 are rewarded by Leia for their efforts in defiance of the Empire.

R2D2, C3PO, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher in The Empire Strikes Back

(Image credit: Twentieth Century Fox)

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

The Rebel Alliance suffers the Empire’s vengeful attack at their headquarters on the ice planet of Hoth in the set up for the Star Wars movies’ first sequel that continues to chronicle the war for peace across the galaxy. Luke Skywalker flees with R2-D2 to Dagobah to seek Jedi training from Master Yoda (Frank Oz) while Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3PO seek refuge at Cloud City - governed by Han’s old acquaintance, Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams).

Unfortunately, the rebels are thwarted by the Empire, who freeze Han in carbonite, before Darth Vader confronts Luke to reveal that he is truly his father in an attempt to lure him to the Dark Side. Luke escapes and reunites with Leia and the surviving rebels, pondering an uncertain future to their cause.

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)

After successfully rescuing Han Solo from crime lord Jabba the Hutt, Luke Skywalker completes his training at Dagobah as the Rebel Alliance prepares an attack on the almost rebuilt Death Star and the Empire awaits the arrival of the Emperor (Ian McDiarmid). Han and the others travel to Endor, where they befriend the native Ewoks, in hopes to disengage the Death Star’s shield generator. While there, Luke reveals to Leia that they are siblings and the biological children of Darth Vader before leaving to confront the Sith lord in hopes to bring him back to the Light Side.

The Emperor taunts Luke, weighed down by the threat looming over his friends, but his attempt to lure him to the Dark Side is stopped by a sudden change of heart in Darth Vader, who kills the Emperor, which also leads to his own death. Luke escapes the Death Star before the Rebels successfully destroy it, securing the end of the Empire’s rule and inciting a celebration on Endor where Luke sees that his father’s Force spirit lives on beside Yoda and Obi-Wan.

Din Djarin in The Mandalorian

(Image credit: Disney+)

The Mandalorian (2019-Present)

Set between the fall of the Empire and the rise of the First Order, creator Jon Favreau's The Mandalorian follows a bounty hunter, named Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal). After rescuing an infant with great, forgotten power (who later comes to be known as Grogu), he takes an oath to make sure that he stays out of harm's way. 

By the end of Season 2 of the Disney+ series, "Mando" is forced to say goodbye to Grogu and leave him in the care of Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker, who becomes his trainer. Along the way, Mando becomes acquainted with allies who teach him about the foundling's abilities - namely Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) - and fellow bounty hunters - including Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) - who teach him things about Mandalorian culture he never knew before. 

Boba Fett facing down adversaries in Mos Espa

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

The Book Of Boba Fett (2021-2022)

More a continuation of The Mandalorian's second season than a spin-off, Disney+'s The Book of Boba Fett sees Temuera Morrison reprising the role, now as the central character... for the most part. The series reveals how the former bounty hunter survived the Sarlacc pit, became acquainted with his companion, Fennec Shand (Ming-na Wen), and adopted a somewhat more peaceful philosophy after establishing kin with Tuskan Raiders. 

As a crime lord, he struggles to make a difference in the town of Mos Espa on Tatooine, which eventually leads him to enlist Mando's help against a crime syndicate associated with his former mentor, Cad Bane. Mando is also reunited with Grogu

BB8 and Poe Dameron on Star Wars Resistance

(Image credit: Disney / Lucasfilm)

Star Wars Resistance (2018)

The now (mostly) peaceful galaxy is hanging by a thread when a new threat emerges. The First Order seeks to reclaim rule of the Republic in the name of the fallen Empire. Disney Channel's animated Star Wars TV show follows a young resistance pilot tasked with investigating the First Order in hopes to defend the galaxy before once again succumbing to the authority of the Dark Side.

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens screenshot

(Image credit: Youtube)

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)

Years after the First Order has assumed dominance, resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) leaves a map leading to an exiled Luke Skywalker with trusted droid BB-8 before he is captured by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). A stormtrooper (John Boyega) helps Poe escape, earning the nickname Finn, but crash lands on Jakku, where BB-8 has befriended abandoned scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley). They flee Jakku using the Millennium Falcon, whose previous owners, Han Solo and Chewbacca find them and accompany them to the planet Takodana, where Rey is kidnapped by the First Order. 

Luckily, the others are rescued by Poe and taken to a resistance base led by General Leia Organa, who sends Han and Finn to the Starkiller Base to rescue Rey. For the first time since he turned to the Dark Side and became Kylo Ren, Han sees his and Leia’s son, Ben, who kills his father in an effort to prove his worth to the First Order. After the resistance destroys the Starkiller Base, Rey travels to find Luke in hopes to begin her Jedi training and enlist his help in defeating the First Order.

Mark Hamill in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

(Image credit: Disney)

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)

Rey receives Jedi training from the reluctant Luke Skywalker, whose failure to save Kylo Ren from the Dark Side has, essentially, rendered him hopeless.  Meanwhile, as the First Order tracks the Rebellion by hyperspeed, Finn teams up with mechanic Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) in a search for a codebreaker who may be of great help.

After learning that Luke tried to kill Ben Solo due to his dark tendencies, Rey flees and is captured by Ren, where the unlikely duo combine efforts against Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), only to depart when Ren admits he was hoping to rule the First Order with her. The Rebel Alliance takes refuge at Crait, where Luke’s force projection faces off against Ren. The battle weakens the Jedi Master to death, but helps Rey escape Crait  with the resistance, who now face an uncertain future.

Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron and Chewbacca in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise Of Skywalker (2019)

In the final chapter of the Skywalker Saga (or so it is promised), we learn the First Order has been secretly run the whole time by Palpatine. Not only that, but the revived emperor also turns out to be the grandfather of Rey, who has worked to complete her training with Leia Organa. Unfortunately, Leia later succumbs to illness while Rey is dueling with Kylo Ren in the remnants of the Death Star.

In the end, Rey is able to defeat Palpatine and destroy the First Order with the help of a reformed Ben Solo, who also dies after using the Force to resurrect Rey after she initially succumbs to her own exhausted power in battle. The surviving rebels, including Lando Calrissian, celebrate their victory as Rey returns to Tatooine where she buries Luke and Leia's lightsabers and assumes their last name as her own - hence the title, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

So, there you have it: the entire timeline of the main Star Wars saga as told through its many canon movies and TV shows in their proper order. However, keep in mind, this story is far from over.

Jason Wiese
Jason Wiese

Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.