I’m hoping that I’ve got everything in pretty much the right order – it has been a little tricky because there are of course some things which over-lap slightly and then also bits where there might be flashbacks in a film or series which relate to something else entirely. Without giving a full breakdown to episodes of series, I think this is a pretty good representation of the order in which all of the movies and series run (I’ve even tried to shoehorn the Lego Star Wars series in there where I could).
Don’t hesitate to comment if there are any films or series which you think should be in a slightly different order and I’ll be happy to look at it again with your suggestions. I want to make this timeline as accurate as possible!
I’ve been working on this for quite some time now and was really keen to get it finished in time for Star Wars Day 2021 along with a number of remembrance articles about some of the stars from the original franchise we have sadly lost over the years. I hope you enjoy this special celebration of an amazing franchise which so often has fans so divided over something which unites them all…
A love for Star Wars!
By the way if you’re here without having seen Star Wars before… Firstly, where have you been, and secondly this article is chock full of spoilers!
One show which I couldn’t fit in because it just jumps all over the place and seems to fit in with just about every part of the franchise is the Forces of Destiny series of shorts which starts off with Rey for a couple of episodes before seeing Leia with the Ewoks and then jumping back to Anakin Skywalker and so on… It really is too all over the place to fit in to the time line… Definitely worth a quick watch though, especially with little ones!
If you just want a quick overview of just the cinematic live action movies without the series’, so that you can plan your Star Wars day and those to follow that is just below. Followed by the full chronological list!
All of the Main Series of Star Wars Films in Chronological Order
- Episode I: The Phantom Menace
- Episode II: Attack of the Clones
- Episode II: Revenge of the Sith
- Solo: A Star Wars Story
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- Episode IV: A New Hope
- Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
- Episode VII: The Force Awakens
- Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
- Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
The Full Star Wars Time Line
This new show planned for Disney plus is still in development so it is difficult to say exactly how it will influence the time line, however we do know that it is set towards the end of the High Republic and the emergence of the dark side, so we can expect this to pre-date the prequel movies by around 200 years or so. Due to this of course there is not likely to be a cross over with any characters, although the comic series about this time period does feature a young Yoda (not baby Yoda / the child).
Episode I – The Phantom Menace
As we all know, the Star Wars movies started at number 4 with a New Hope… It seemed weird but hey it worked! So then, a few years later we finally go back to the beginning, and whilst it was the 4th film to come out, until the Acolyte comes out, the Phantom Menace is still where we start in the Star Wars cinematic universe. This is day one of what we see and an insight in to where all the trouble which bubbles over in to the original trilogy started as the Trade Federation shakes up the Galactic Empire when it blocks trade with the planet Naboo to weaken it ahead of a droid invasion force. Beyond the battle which ensues there, this is often considered a film which paints the political backdrop of the Empire.
This is also where we meet and say goodbye to Qui-Gon Jin who passes the role of training Anakin Skywalker to his old apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi before he passes away. Qui-Gon saw great potential in Anakin and went to great lengths to take him from Tatooine with the council reluctant to allow Obi-Wan to accept Anakin as his apprentice. It’s also where we see Darth Maul, one of the coolest looking characters in the franchise.
Episode II – Attack of the Clones
From the Phantom Menace we jump forward 10 years with Anakin now a man and well in to his Jedi training, however often struggling to keep his feelings under wraps. These emotions grow in their impediment on his judgement as the film continues and he starts a relationship with Senator Padme Amidala whom he is tasked to protect while his Master, Obi-Wan investigates an assassination attempt on her. In doing so he discovered the beginnings of the latest threat to peace in the galaxy, a Galactic Republic clone army appearing to ready to attack the Confederacy of Independent Systems. As the film continues we see Anakin further descend towards the dark side of the force as he kills a camp of Tuskan Raiders and declares that he is going to be powerful enough to stop the death of his loved ones, going on to marry Padme in secret on Naboo.
Whilst we first see him in an earlier instalment, the first time in the time line that Boba Fett is mentioned is when the template for the clone army, Jango Fett is seen to take one of those clones under his wing – a young Boba Fett.
After the Clone army is discovered it is found that Count Dooku, the Jedi leading the separatist group known as the Confederacy of Independent Systems was behind the creation and that a vote of granting emergency powers to Chancellor Palpatine allowed him to gain political approval for authorizing the use of this army. In the mean time earlier it had also been discovered that Count Dooku had met with the commerce guild to build a droid army.
Count Dooku turns out to be a Sith apprentice named Darth Tyranus to Darth Sidious (Palpatine). After capturing Obi-Wan, Anakin and Padme and sentencing them to death along with as many as 160 Jedi, many of whom are killed in an arena where they have to fight Dooku’s droid army. Dooku does battle with Yoda and Mace Windu but is able to escape to Coruscant where he meets with Darth Sidious who is pleased at the start of the war as Yoda had arrived with part of the clone army to fight the droids in the stadium.
Fearing that the dark side was in control of the senate, Yoda and Windu decide to watch the senate closely as Palpatine and other senators launch a huge fighting force of clones.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
The series (in which we’re also including the feature length film) starts immediately after Attack of the Clones and continues the story of how the war between the Galactic Republic clone army and the Confederacy of Independent Systems droid army – the biggest war which the galaxy has ever witnessed. During this time they focus on the adventures of some of the more well known characters from the past including the growth of Boba Fett following the death of his father and resurrection of Darth Maul, as well as including new characters, such as Ahsoka who has a huge presence in the show as Anakin’s apprentice now that he is a Jedi knight.
The series largely revolves around the Jedi fighting off the droid army as they generally support the clone army which they still do not know is being controlled by a Sith lord. During these battles they are mostly victorious allowing them to show the power which the Jedi still have. It also takes advantage of the huge opportunity presented to itself for delving deeper in to Star Wars lore such as the culture of Mandalore and more of the politics from that era of the Republic, such as the banking clan which the chancellor seizes control over.
We meet a younger Saw Gerrera, the rebel freedom fighter who would later make a new appearance in Rogue One.
As the Jedi council continue to find out the truth about how the war started, ever on the search for the Sith lord controlling the action they find out that Dooku created both armies and realize that there is foul play afoot but continue to fight along with the clones while they investigate further. Even as Yoda is attacked by Dooku and Palpatine using dark sorcery while he enters an ancient temple on a quest to further understand the force and the possibility of immortality as a force being.
After this the show was just used to help set up a couple of extra shows and events which were important for the lore of the universe, including setting up for Star Wars: Rebels which goes on to follow Ahsoka & Rex amongst others, and setting up the siege of Mandalore.
Lego Star Wars: The Quest for R2-D2
It is likely that this story, which really is totally disconnected from the rest of the time line occurs between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith as it starts off with Anakin Skywalker alongside Ahsoka Tano, one of the main protagonist of the Clone Wars animated series. However it really is meant to be just a fun little short film because it also contains a scene where Darth Vaders breathing apparatus is seen in a box at a Jawa garage sale – which of course wouldn’t need to be developed until some time later in the series.
Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace
The time line for this short film in which R2D2 and C3-P0 try to supervise a group of overactive Padawans on a field trip with very sketchy as it has Yoda leave the group (whom he is showing around the senate chambers) due to a vague disturbance of the force… However it makes sense that it should be set around the time as the Yoda Chronicles, before C3-P0 quits his post as substitute teacher at the Jedi Academy and that this might have been his way in to the position in the first place.
Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles
This is a trilogy of short films and again, like with the Quest for R2-D2 it is not totally clear when the story takes place, however it does center around Count Dooku, General Grievous and Darth Sidious, so it would have to have occurred some time before Revenge of the Sith. It also sees the end of C3-P0 in the role of substitute teacher for the Padawan as it’s all just too much for him – the young Padawans at the Jedi Academy… In a dark twist it’s Anakin Skywalker who replaces him!
Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
We are now 3 years on from Attack of the Clones, and we will see a little bit of over-lap between this movie (the last of the sequel trilogy) and the Clone Wars series as the wars come to an end with the realization setting in that the Sith lord is running the senate and just before this, having him manipulate Anakin Skywalker in to embracing the dark side, with him getting further and further in to this side of the force as the movie progresses. First the chancellor, whilst being saved by Anakin encourages him to kill Count Dooku rather than bringing him to trial, which does does through a beheading. As he slips further away from the Jedi ways, eventually pledging himself to Darth Sidious in order to protect Padme who reports his treachery to Obi-Wan.
Throughout this film we see the Jedi numbers drastically decrease as Darth Sidious kills Mace Windu just before knighting Anakin as Darth Vader and most shockingly (showing the real colors of the war) when General Grievous sends out order 66 to the clone battalions who all turn on their Jedi commanders and kill the vast majority. Between this betrayal and the killing of the younglings by Darth Vader we see 2 of the most shocking moments of the whole Star Wars universe in this, possibly the darkest film from the franchise.
However amongst all this darkness we do also see Padme give birth a 2 children in secret, passing away afterwards – something which Sidious tells Vader he did in a blind rage. The transformation of Darth Vader is complete and as Obi-Wan tries to bring him back he realizes that he cannot and cuts off his arms and legs, leaving him to burn and die – for him to be rescued and put in to the survival suit we know Darth Vader for.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch
This is another series which doesn’t do much to impact the Star Wars story as a whole, but certainly helps to grow the universe a little more. It is based around Clone Force 99 which is a squad of clones from the clone army whom we’re introduced to during the Clone Wars show. They are nicknamed the bad batch because they have suffered various genetic mutations. This show follows them after the end of the Clone Wars as they become mercenaries and take on all sorts of missions in the extended Star Wars universe.
Lego Star Wars: Revenge of the Brick
Being loosely based on the Revenge of the Sith film, and having been released at the same time as the main movie I’m going to place this first Lego Star Wars outing here to run along with the films namesake. This short film takes place on the Wookiee homeworld, Kashyyk.
This series follows the adventures of C3PO and R2-D2 and is set during the time period of 4 years after Revenge of the Sith and 15 years before A New Hope. During this time they are separated from their then master, Captain Antilles whom they were entrusted to at the end of Revenge of the Sith by Bail Organa. During this time they go through a number of new masters, in 4 main segments, each last 4 or 5 episodes, with the exception of the last which sees them in an hour long special under the ownership of Mungo Baobab on Biitu.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
We’re introduced to the character of Han Solo – one of the stand out and most popular characters from the original trilogy, and at this point we are still 10 years away from him getting sucked in to the rebel fight in A New Hope.
Obi-Wan Kenobi (TV Series)
The plot for this show hasn’t been revealed yet but it’s meant to be set around 10 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith so we’re about half way between that and A New Hope here. Presumably it follows Obi Wan on his journey to living in the shadows as all of the Jedi had been forced to do by the end of the clone wars.
Star Wars Rebels
This animated series is set around 14 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, putting it about 6 years away from A New Hope and a few years after Solo. It follows a group of rebels who join together on the freighter ship, Ghost, with the most well known returning characters from the Clone Wars being Captain Rex and Ahsoka. The events don’t have a direct impact on the Star Wars movie franchise but as with most of the animated series allow them to greatly delve in to the wider Star Wars universe, build upon the lore of the franchise and just have fun with some new characters!
Rogue One: Andor
In Rogue One we were introduced to Cassian Andor however there were a lot of questions about how this character came to be and what pushed him towards colliding with the empire to help the rebels steal the death star plans. This series which is due to start airing in 2022 will aim to answer some of these questions as we will meet Cassian 5 years before the events of Rogue One.
This animated series allowed the world of the Ewoks to be explored a little more and give some back story as to how the empire came to their forest moon, including some of the Ewoks boarding an Imperial Star Destroyer after the empire set up base on their moon for building the second death star. Beyond that however it explores the other creatures of the moon and introduce us to some of the Ewoks we meet later on, notably Wicket.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
We know that the rebels get the plans for the death star and that they are trying to get this message across the universe however we were never told quite how they came in to the possession of these plans – that is until now! By the time we’re well in to the swing of things with this film we’re just a week away from the events of A New Hope. It just gives us a brand new perspective of different people amongst the rebellion working together for different causes – all with the same end game. It is just there to help answer some questions which were left unanswered for fans of the films during the 20 or so years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.
Episode IV – A New Hope
This is actually the very first Star Wars film which was made, and it’s funny that it makes it right around the middle of the actual Star Wars time line. However it does mean that it is at this point where we meet many of the most well known and well love characters of the whole franchise for the first time. These include the likes of Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Chewbacca.
The film is set around 20 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, so the Galactic Empire is now very much in charge of the galaxy, the Jedi have been pushed to the fringes of society and the rebel force is a very small one. However this of course also comes very shortly after the rebels were able to secure the death star plans, with the whole film gearing up towards that fateful shot taken by Luke in his x-wing as he learns to harness the force.
Lego Star Wars: Bombad Bounty (Part 1)
This is a bit of a strange addition to the short films set of Lego Star Wars releases as it occurs over 2 parts, which in terms of their chronology are pretty far apart. Hence why I have a part 1 here and part 2 below (they’re actually from the same short film though). It shows an alternative version of events when it comes to the destruction of the Death Star and that perhaps the shot by Luke was just a fluke, and that it coincided with Jar Jar Binks maybe pressing the self destruct button on the huge ship.
We don’t know exactly when this story takes place however it is being shown during the holiday special and isn’t a live broadcast so must be some time before that, and even if we take out the holiday special and make it disappear like Lucas would most likely want, it is also the first time we see Boba Fett with Chewbacca, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, R2-D2 and C3P0 having never met him before. So we can assume that it is from some time before the Empire Strikes Back.
Star Wars Holiday Special
This legend of the Star Wars universe which most people involved in it wish had never happened actually played a big part in the series as it is the first time that the heroes of the original movie cross paths with Boba Fett. Other than this (which happens in a really trippy cartoon as seen just above), there’s not really much else which is of importance to the franchise as a whole, so it just sits as a nice little filler between A New Hope and the Empire Strikes Back.
Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out
After having been credited for destroying the Death Star, Luke is on a mission to destroy an Imperial base on Naboo, but is troubled by being pursued by a group of fangirls while Darth Vader and Darth Maul try to show Emperor Palpatine who’s the best Sith.
Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
3 years after A New Hope, the empire is still chasing the remnants of the rebel alliance through the galaxy with Darth Vader having a particular interest in pursuing Luke and the other heroes from the original movie. They first follow them to the ice planet Hoth where a large scale battle ensues, during which Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and C3PO escape in the millennium falcon, whilst Luke Skywalker goes a different direction, heading to the planet of Dagobah where he meets Yoda, who takes on his Jedi training.
As the rest of the group head to the cloud city of Bespin to see Han’s old friend Lando Calrissian, it leads to them being captured by Darth Vader who traps Han in carbonite, then giving him to Boba Fett who is going to collect a bounty on him from Jabba the Hutt.
Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
At this point it is 1 year since Han Solo was captured, and he’s still frozen in carbonite. The group of heroes goes to rescue him, with Leia winding up getting captured where she is turned in to Jabba the Hutt’s slave (leaving to possibly one of the most recognisable costumes in movie history). After sending both Boba Fett and Jabba the Hutt in to the depths of the Sarlacc, Luke is able to rescue his friends and they continue to try to stop the development of the second death star, which against their knowledge had already at this point been completed.
In the Star Wars universe we are not at around 37 years in to the battle between the dark Darth Sidious and the Jedi and it turns out that it is also his greatest protégé, Darth Vader who turns out to be his undoing. There appears to be nothing stronger than the bond between a parent and child here and Darth Vader has a new defining moment where he throws Palpatine down a reactor shaft, after which he asked Luke to remove his mask, allowing him to die having seen his son with his own eyes.
Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure
Whilst it doesn’t have a huge impact on the main Star Wars story line, it is one more of those films which gives us a little more insight in to the lives of some of the side characters, in this case the Ewoks with familiar face Wicket making an appearance, as well as exploring worlds and customs further. This film is set 3 years after the battle of Yavin and whilst Wicket is already born and fairly young, it is clear that the Empire have already visited, but it is a little unclear as to whether this is before or after the battle on Endor. It is possible that there is a little bit cross over between this film and Return of the Jedi, even though it was originally meant to be set 150 years after Return of the Jedi.
This film centres around the Towani family who crash land their star cruiser on the forest moon of Endor and their troubles of defeating the Gorax who live on the planet, getting help from the Ewoks and finally being rescued from Endor.
Ewoks: Battle for Endor
The Towani family are still on Endor, with this being set 6 months after the end of their previous adventure with the Ewoks with the action in this film leading up to their ability to escape the forest moon in the end.
Lego Star Wars: Bombad Bounty (Part 2)
Nothing else particularly important happens during this part of the short film but I wanted to mention it again as it does skip by a few notable scenes from Return of the Jedi which you might recognize, while Boba Fett chases Jar jar Binks who is wanted for having hospitalized Darth Vader who slipped on a wet floor while Jar Jar was a janitor on one of the imperial ships.
Star Wars Resistance
After the fall of Darth Sidious, the First Order is now rising as the dominant force in the galaxy with this series allowing the resistance to explore the First Order and keep working on their mission of restoring peace – something which the universe has not see in a long time. In terms of time we are just 6 months away from the events of the Last Jedi.
As with so many of the series, this one is just another opportunity to explore the lore of the universe, with a particular focus in this case on the Mandalorian and Mandalore culture. All of this was incredibly interesting and made for a very popular show however it is not until you get a few character cross overs – most notably Boba Fett, when the whole thing reigns itself back in to the Star Wars comfort zone. It is however technically set 5 years after the events of Return of the Jedi.
The Book of Boba Fett
Not much is known yet about this upcoming show, however Boba Fett is reintroduced to us in the Mandalorian series and this series is set to see us continue to follow him directly after he leaves Mando.
After we meet Ahsoka in the Mandalorian when she communicates with Grogu (baby Yoda to you and me), this series will see us continue to follow her work towards keeping order in one way or another. As such it follows on directly from the Mandalorian series.
Rangers of the New Republic
We really know nothing of this show yet, other than it is live action (which I always prefer), is set in the Mandalorian time line and that at some point they want to do some kind of crossover even between Rangers of the New Republic, the Mandalorian and Ahsoka!
Episode VII – The Force Awakens
The First Order has been in existence for around 30 years now since the death of Darth Sidious and we once again have a familiar situation with a map on a droid on the run – however this time its a map for how to get to Luke Skywalker as Leia needs the help of her brother to bring the fight to the First Order. A tough fight with Kylo Ren as one of the men in charge, here we see another familiar situation where a family member (in this case the son of Leia and Han) has gone to the dark side. However perhaps it is not Luke they need as Kylo is defeated for the first time in a light sabre battle in this movie by Rey who had never used one before. To tie everything together however, of course it is the lightsabre of Luke Skywalker which she is using having found it in a vault at Maz Kanata’s cantina.
Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
We pick up the story right where it was left at the end of the Force Awakens with Luke agreeing to now give Rey 3 lessons in the force as he powers seem to grow on a steep upward curve, even being able top communicate with Kylo Ren through the force – something which both of them found to be very unexpected and initially almost like a dream. It is because of Kylo who Luke has put himself in to exile as he feels that he let his apprentice down and even thought about killing him when he realised that Snoke was seducing him to the dark side. Rey believed for a moment that Kylo had come back to the light side as, when ordered to kill Rey he kills Snoke and his Praetorian Guard instead. However he does not and instead declares himself as the new supreme leader.
Luke however musters all of his strength to project himself on to the battlefield where Kylo orders all of his forces to fire on him, giving others a chance to escape the base. However the strain is too much and Luke dies on Ahch-To.
Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker
Once again continuing on directly from the previous movie, these final three could be viewed pretty much seamlessly in one sitting. Both Rey and Kylo attempt to find a Sith wayfinder in order to find their way to a revived Palpatine who created Snoke as a way to control the growth of the first order. However much of this film ends up being stories of dying wishes and redemption, especially for Kylo who helps Rey in her work to defeat Palpatine and even using the force to revive a deceased Rey by essentially swapping his life for hers.
It’s a very smooshie way to bring the Star Wars universe to a close (for now at least), so it’s lucky that they added some comic relief at the end with the Lego Christmas special.
The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special
This is a satirical short film making fun of the Star Wars holiday special and is set in a time after the Rise of Skywalker as he confides in Rey that he has come to a realization of being force sensitive and that he has believed in the force for some time. Rey takes him in as her understudy but while doubting her abilities goes on a soul searching trip to a temple where she finds a time key allowing her to revisit key times in the franchise, turning this in to just a feelgood look back at the Star Wars universe.