May the 4th is finally upon us, and this year we’re celebrating the best way we know how: by watching every single Star Wars TV show and movies from the past four and a bit decades in chronological order. Once upon a time this feat was simple, but over the past decade alone we’ve seen countless new entries in the new Star Wars canon.
The timeline is a little bit wonky, and it can be difficult working out where shows like The Mandalorian and The Clone Wars fit in with the mainline movies. While quality varies film-to-film, there are plenty of fantastic stories told within the Star Wars universe, and they’re all worth hearing.
Here’s how to watch every major Star Wars film and TV show in the intended chronological order.
Note: For the purposes of this list, we’re excluding any film or TV show that isn’t considered canon at the time of writing. We’ve also removed any Star Wars shorts, mini-animations, video games, novels and comics, and simplified the Star Wars: Clone Wars season order. Even without these entries, it’s still a major undertaking.
Here’s where to begin…
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
While not the first movie to release, The Phantom Menace kicked off a new era for the Star Wars franchise as fans finally discovered how Darth Vader became the big bad of the original trilogy. It’s here where the Star Wars story begins, being the earliest film in the franchise canon.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Attack of the Clones is one of the less loved Star Wars movies, packed with visual effects and essential Star Wars lore. It kicks the galactic war into overdrive while also following Anakin’s story quite closely. It’s also the film where Anakin says the famed “I hate sand” quote.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Movie)
The Clone Wars movie isn’t very good, but it does lead directly into the excellent Clone Wars TV show, and it marked the first appearance of Ahsoka Tano in the franchise.
The Clone Wars (TV) — Season 1-7
The Clone Wars TV series contains some of the best storytelling of the modern Star Wars era and gives essential backstory on both Anakin and Obi-Wan’s relationship, and Ahsoka Tano’s growth as a Jedi (later continued in Rebels and The Mandalorian). That said, it’s also very much a kids show, so while you should watch a lot of it, expect some of it to be on the weaker side.
The final four episodes of season seven take place concurrently with Revenge of the Sith so they can be watched before, during or after the film.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Revenge of the Sith connects the prequel trilogy with the original trilogy as Anakin and Obi-Wan’s stories come to a head. It brings the galactic war is at its height and the movie shows us the beginning of the empire and Darth Vader.
The Bad Batch
This show spins out of The Clone Wars and takes place between the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy. You should probably watch at least season seven of The Clone Wars before you head into this adventure, but all you really need to know is the story deals with rogue clones on a galaxy-faring adventure.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
This side story introduces Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, who go on to feature heavily in the original trilogy of the film. It gives us an origin story for both heroes, even though the film was made some 40 years after the original Star Wars film (A New Hope).
Star Wars: Rebels — Season 1-4
Rebels is a companion series to Clone Wars and spotlights the rebellion against the Empire as the Jedi are hunted to extinction. Ahsoka Tano from Clone Wars makes a few appearances in this story, but while she shows up, it’s not essential that you watch that series.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Rogue One fills gaps in the Star Wars chronological order by telling the story of Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor, and their efforts to steal the plans for the Death Star in a rag-tag mission across the universe. Andor is set to get his own prequel TV show in the future (appropriately titled Andor) so it’s likely we’ll learn more about him in future.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
This is the first Star Wars film made, but it’s since found a place right in the middle of the franchise’s canon. Luke, Han and Leia are central figures from this point onwards, so a A New Hope is an important film if you want to watch the newer entries.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The Empire Strikes Back continues the tales of Han, Luke and Leia as the Empire gets closer to their goal of ruling the entire universe. Also Yoda is back in this one and he’s old.
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
This was originally intended as the conclusion to the Star Wars trilogy so it ends on an appropriately epic note — but as we all know, the story goes on long after this film ends.
The Mandalorian: Season 1-2
The Mandalorian initially appears to be a standalone tale, but season two ties it closer to modern Star Wars chronology. It can drag on a bit, but overall it’s a pretty amazing show to watch, with lots to love if you’re a Star Wars fan.
The Book of Boba Fett
Spinning directly out of The Mandalorian and its second season, The Book of Boba Fett follows the fan-favourite character of Boba Fett after the events of The Return of the Jedi. Some like to think of this as the third season of The Mandalorian, but it’s largely a separate story.
Star Wars: Resistance — Season 1
Star Wars: Resistance is a less talked about animated spin-off, but it’s still considered canon to the main timeline. It follows Kazuda Xiono, a pilot working with the Resistance as the Empire grows in power once again. It’s notable for featuring several actors from the sequel trilogy reprising their roles, including Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron and Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
This film kicked off the beginning of the sequel trilogy, which follows new Jedi Rey in her quest to discover who she is and where she fits into the wider Star Wars universe.
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
The Last Jedi is one of the weirder stories in the Star Wars universe, but also one of the most imaginative. While it’s a contentious film, it’s still filled with beautiful character moments and great adventure beats.
Star Wars: Resistance — Season 2
The story of Star Wars Resistance continues in season two, and it’s actually set after the events of The Last Jedi. You’ll want to split your viewing of season one and season two so you don’t spoil what happens in the films.
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
The final movie on our list of Star Wars film in order of chronology, The Rise of Skywalker was the last film to be released before the live-action shows (The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett) and tries to conclude the nine movie episodic saga.
While we don’t know where Star Wars goes from here (since all of the upcoming shows are prequels), we do know there are plenty more stories left to tell.
If you want to take things to the next level, you can also check out the entire Star Wars canon chronology including every book, movie, short and comic from our pals over on the Star Wars Fandom page. It’s an absolutely incredible list, and you’ll need an age to get through it all. Still, it might just be the perfect thing to celebrate this year’s May the 4th.
Over the next few years, there’ll also be a handful of new adventures to add to the chronological list as new Star Wars shows like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka, Andor, The Acolyte and Lando. There’s plenty on the way to keep fans entertained!
Every Star Wars TV show, film and short (including spin-offs like Caravan of Courage) is available to stream on Disney+.
This article has been updated since it was first published.