SPOILER WARNING: Do you have a bad a 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 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.
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 Tattooine, 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.
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 Anakin Skywalker (recast with Hayden Christiansen) 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).
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 Separatist droid army.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars also marks the unexpected return of Darth Maul, now a partially mechanical being after his natural bottom half was claimed by Obi-Wan in Episode I. The Clone Wars also includes other favorites of the Star Wars movies and TV shows. It paves a clearer path between the prequel trilogy and the original films by deeply exploring the much-referenced Clone Wars and introduces several fan-favorite characters like ruthless bounty hunter Cad Bane.
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith (2005)
In possibly the darkest chapter of the Skywalker Saga, and more than likely the darkest of the Star Wars movies prequel trilogy, Episode III takes place three years into the Clone Wars and sees Anakin Skywalker as an official Jedi knight and soon-to-be father with wife Padmé Amidala. Yet, his commitment to the light side of the Force begins to hang by a thread as Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) slowly and insidiously lures him to the Dark Side.
Soon after Palpatine's true identity as Darth Sidious is revealed, Anakin shows his allegiance to the Sith by assisting him in wiping out the Jedi, even the younglings, under his new title: Darth Vader. Obi-Wan Kenobi struggles to stop him as the heartbroken Padmé goes into labor.
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. He is redeemed by a mechanical suit that assists his breathing and ability to walk, but immediately after, he learns that his wife Padmé has given birth to twins, a boy and a girl she named Luke and Leia. The twins are separated, with Leia adopted by the royal Organas on Alderan and Luke is sent to live with his aunt and uncle on Tattooine, where Obi-Wan promises to keep close watch over the boy.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch (2021-Present)
Set during the aftermath of the Clone Wars, this Disney+ original animated series follows a group genetically engineered clone troopers, all of whom are played by prolific voice actor Dee Bradley Baker. Struggling to understand to why, unlike everyone else of their kind, they 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.
Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
Set in the early years of 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 (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 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.
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 rebellion at an especially pressing time for its cause.
After Jyn discovers that her father, whom she once resented for leaving her year ago, 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.
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
Picking up immediately after Princes Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) has received the Death Star blueprints from 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” in the rebellion’s progress. Meanwhile, droids C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) escape to Tatooine with a message for Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), where they come into the possession of young farmer Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).
They cross paths with an aged Obi-Wan, whom Luke knows as Ben Kenobi, who is convinced by the droids’ message from Leia that now is the time to tell Luke that he is a Jedi, with abilities passed down from his father Anakin Skywalker, whom he tells the boy was killed by Darth Vader. They then enlist Millennium Falcon pilot Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his Wookie 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.
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 Solo, Leia Organa, 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.
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
After winning a mission to rescue Han Solo from the possession of crime lord Jabba the Hutt, the third of the original Star Wars movies sees Luke Skywalker return to Dagobah to complete his training under Yoda and is visited by the Force spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi, who confirms that Darth Vader is Luke’s father and that “another Skywalker” lives. Meanwhile, the Rebel Alliance, now joined by Lando Calrissian, prepares an attack on the uncompleted rebuilding of the Death Star as the Empire awaits the arrival of the Emperor.
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 both 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 the sudden change of heart of Darth Vader, who kills the Emperor, also leading to his 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.
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 see that he stays out of harm.
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.
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 Sarlac pit, became acquainted with his companion, Fennec Shand (Ming-na Wen), and adopted a somewhat more peaceful philosophy after establishing kin with Tuscan Raiders.
As a crime lord, he struggles to make a difference in the town of Mos Espa on Tattooine, which eventually leads him to enlist Mando's help against a crime syndicate associated with his former mentor, Cad Bane. Mando also is reunited with Grogu.
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.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
After the galaxy has succumbed to the authority of the Dark Side as the First Order proved successful in usurping dominance, director J.J. Abrams' revival of the Star Wars movies begins as resistance fighter Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) leaves a map leading to exiled Luke Skywalker with his 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, which seemingly claims the pilot's life, where he finds BB-8 has befriended abandoned scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley).
Finn and Rey flee Jakku on the Millennium Falcon and are soon joined by its original pilots Han Solo and Chewbacca to deliver Luke’s coordinates to the reformed Rebel Alliance, and Rey discovers she is Force sensitive along the way. She is kidnapped by the First Order during an attack on the planet Takodana, but Finn and Han are rescued by a resistance fleet led by Poe, who informs General Leia Organa that they know how to find her brother.
Before Han and Finn board the Starkiller Base to rescue Rey, we also see a reunion between Leia and Han, whose marriage seemingly fell apart after their son Ben turned to the Dark Side and became Kylo Ren, who kills Han 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.
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)
As Rey receives Jedi training from the reluctant Luke Skywalker - whose failure to save Kylo Ren from the Dark Side has rendered him hopeless - the resistance is preparing for battle against the First Order, who are very angry after losing their Starkiller base and are tracking 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 to the rebellion.
After learning Luke actually tried to kill younger Ben Solo out of fear of his dark tendencies, Rey flees and is captured by Kylo, where the unlikely duo combine efforts against Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). This convinces Rey that she has gotten through to Kylo and brought him to the light side, only to learn he was hoping to rule the First Order with Rey, which she resists.
After a successful attack on the First Order’s Star Destroyer, the Rebel Alliance takes refuge at Crait where the surviving First Order sets up an attack that is brought to a climax by Luke’s force projection facing off against Kylo Ren, which weakens the Jedi Knight to death. Rey is reunited with the resistance, who now face an uncertain future.
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, who 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 exhausting her power in battle. The surviving rebels, including Lando Calrissian, celebrate their victory as Rey returns to Tattooine 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 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.
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