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Star Wars timeline: how to watch Star Wars in chronological order

This comprehensive guide to the canon Star Wars movies and shows in timeline order helps you understand the order of the events in George Lucas’ universe.

Jan 8, 2024

Star Wars timeline: The Complete Guide for Watching Star Wars in Chronological Order

A long time ago (May 25, 1977) in a galaxy far, far away, George Lucas released the first installment in what was to become one of the most popular, unbelievably complex and all-around awe-inspiring space operas: Star Wars.

The resounding success of the first film far exceeded Lucas’ expectations, who forecasted a box office income of $20 million: it earned a whopping $775.8 Million. In 1977. What would that amount to today, you ask, accounting for inflation? Oh, just about $3.8 billion. As the story goes, no one involved in the original production actually expected the sci-fi film to climb to the heights of cinematography and give rise to the 3rd highest grossing franchise of all time.

To celebrate the unbelievably popular and complex universe that LucasFilm built, we created the Star Wars timeline. We hope it will help you navigate the intricate thread weaved by George et co.

NOTE: In Star Wars, time is kept using the date of “The Battle of Yavin” as Year Zero. In keeping with this format, we will mark prior events as BBY (Before Battle of Yavin) and those that transpired afterwards as ABY (After Battle of Yavin).

The origins of Star Wars

It’s worth noting that both the title of the first movie, the name of the hero and the script itself underwent multiple iterations, before and during production. Luke was originally named “Starkiller”, and his father was a sagacious Jedi knight named Annikin. By the third draft, the mentor role was awarded to Ben Kenobi, and in the fourth draft Luke was renamed Skywalker.

As for the movie itself, the working title was initially The Adventures of Luke Starkiller, and the story (based on the novel ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster and adapted by George Lucas) was designed to be self-contained, concluding with the demise of the Death Star. The title was changed to The Star Wars, then subsequently condensed into just Star Wars.

Thanks to the immense proceeds from the box office and merchandise, George Lucas was able to finance Skywalker Ranch, his own film production center and negotiate the sequels with Fox Studios.

In 1979, approximately one year after the theatrical release, the movie was retroactively renamed Episode IV: A New Hope. It would pave the way for the multi-billion-dollar franchise of Star Wars movies, television series, comics, video games and merchandise of today.  

But it wasn’t just the public who became enamored with Lucas’ creation. In 1978, the first Star Wars movie was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won no less than 6 of them. This pop culture phenomenon is commended for its unique and innovative visuals, sound, music, characters and storyline, and many still consider it the best movie ever made to this day.

Among its many accolades, the Library of Congress deemed Episode IV: A New Hope culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”, and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Chronological viewing order of canon Star Wars movies and TV series

In this section, we’ve listed all the Star Wars movies and shows considered canon, in order of their chronology within the narrative.

  • Tales of the Jedi (40-19 BBY)
  • Episode I: The Phantom Menace (32 BBY)
  • Episode II: Attack of the Clones (22 BBY)
  • The Clone Wars movie (22 BBY)
  • The Clone Wars TV series (22-19 BBY)
  • Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (19 BBY)
  • The Bad Batch (approximately 19 BBY)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (13-10 BBY)
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi (9 BBY)
  • Star Wars Rebels (5-1 BBY with Epilogue after 4 ABY)
  • Andor (5-0 BBY)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (0 BBY)
  • Episode IV: A New Hope (0 BBY/ABY)
  • Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (3 ABY)
  • Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (4 ABY)
  • The Mandalorian Seasons 1 and 2 (9 ABY)
  • The Book of Boba Fett (approximately 9 ABY)
  • Ahsoka (approximately 11 ABY)
  • The Mandalorian season 3 (approximately 12 ABY)
  • Star Wars Resistance (34 – 35 ABY)
  • Episode VII: The Force Awakens (34 ABY)
  • Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (34 ABY)
  • Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (35 ABY)

We have also created the Star Wars canon timeline to support it:

Star Wars critical path

This section deals only with the Skywalker Saga Star Wars movies in chronological order. Put differently, this the “critical path” for the Star Wars universe – a concept borrowed from project management which means the string of links and dependencies between the different episodes.

  • Episode I: The Phantom Menace (32 BBY)
  • Episode II: Attack of the Clones (22 BBY)
  • Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (19 BBY)
  • Episode IV: A New Hope (0 BBY/ABY)
  • Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (3 ABY)
  • Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (4 ABY)
  • Episode VII: The Force Awakens (34 ABY)
  • Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (34 ABY)
  • Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (35 ABY)

And here’s a visual representation on a timeline:

The Skywalker Saga: The original trilogy

The first three films released as part of the Star Wars space opera franchise are:

  • Episode IV – A New Hope (May 25, 1977)
  • Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (May 21, 1980)
  • Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (May 25, 1983)

You might be wondering, and for good reason, what’s up with that? George Lucas opted for a narrative technique known as “in media res”, in which the story begins mid-plot, bypassing the exposition and using dialogue, flashback scenes and the rehashing of past events to gradually bring viewers up to speed with the background.

Most works of this type rely on a non-linear narrative. Examples of in media res from classical literature include Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, and E.A. Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart.    

Episode IV – A New Hope

Key Characters: Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), Darth Vader (David Prowse / James Earl Jones), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), R2-D2 (Kenny Baker).

“A New Hope” opens with the introduction of Princess Leia Organa, whose ship is intercepted by the Empire’s most ruthless Sith Lord – Darth Vader – and his deadly stormtrooper detachment. Leia is captured and interrogated, but not before she’s able to send a droid (R2-D2) with the schematics of an imperial station to Obi-Wan Kenobi, a fabled Jedi master, who conveniently lives in exile on the planet Tatooine.

R2-D2 ends up in the possession of a young farmhand named Luke Skywalker, who helps the droid locate Obi-Wan, now living as a hermit. It is at this point that we learn about the “Force” – an energy permeating all living things – that constitutes the basis for both Jedi and the Sith powers. Luke learns the tale (or rather an “alternative truth” version) of Kenobi’s apprentice Anakin Skywalker and his death at the hands of Vader.

With Luke’s homestead destroyed by stormtroopers and the empire hot on their trails, the two team up with smuggler Han Solo and co-pilot Chewbacca. Thus begins Skywalker’s hero journey and Jedi training. After being captured by the planet-destroying space base known as the Death Star, the heroes manage to escape with the plans and join up with the Rebellion. Unfortunately, Obi-Wan is struck down by Vader before he can complete Luke’s Jedi training.

Thanks to their heroics, the rebels mount a successful attack on the Death Star that exploits a structural weakness, and completely annihilate the threat. Alas, Darth Vader escapes miraculously in his shuttle, so while the story arc provides closure, it also graciously leaves room for a sequel. 

Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

Key Characters: Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch), Darth Vader (David Prowse / James Earl Jones), Yoda (Frank Oz), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), R2-D2 (Kenny Baker).

3 years have passed since the events in the first installment culminated with the demise of the imperial secret weapon, the Death Star. However, it would take far more to defang the Empire and cripple its fighting capabilities.

We find our heroes on the ice planet Hoth, where the main rebel base is hidden from Vader’s scouts. Unfortunately, this status quo is short lived, as one of the imperial probe droids discovers their location and alerts the Empire.

Luke is visited by Obi-Wan’s Force ghost who instructs him to seek out Jedi Master Yoda and complete his training. Joined by R2-D2, young Skywalker blasts off for the swamp planet of Dagobah, while Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca escape in the former smuggler’s signature ship, the Millenium Falcon. They attempt to take refuge with one of Han’s oldest friends, Lando Calrissian who betrays them and delivers the group to Darth Vader.

Solo is iconically frozen in carbonite and is on route to be delivered to crime lord Jabba the Hut by bounty hunter Boba Fett. Lando has a change of heart and decides to aid Leia and Chewbacca escape but is too late in stopping Fett’s ship.

Meanwhile, Luke arrives for a good old-fashioned showdown with Darth Vader, but the Sith lord overpowers our hero. Darth cuts off Luke’s arm then proceeds to add insult to injury by revealing that he is, in fact, Luke’s biological father. Nooo!

Barely escaping in the Millenium Falcon with Leia’s help, the movie ends with our protagonists watching as Lando and Chewbacca set off in in search for Han Solo.

Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

Key Characters: Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), Anakin Skywalker (Sebastian Shaw), Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch), Darth Vader (David Prowse / James Earl Jones), Yoda (Frank Oz), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), R2-D2 (Kenny Baker).

It’s been 1 year since Han Solo’s capture, and our beloved smuggler still decorates Jaba the Hutt’s palace, frozen in carbonite. After an unsuccessful rescue attempt by Leia, Luke arrives to barter for his companions’ freedom, but eventually ends up letting his lightsaber do the talking.

After the daring escape and Jabba’s strangling at the hands of Leia, Luke returns to Dagobah determined to complete his training but discovers master Yoda is not long for this world. Before being “Force ghosted”, Yoda reveals that not only was Vader telling the truth about the whole “I am your father” affair, but also that Leia is Luke’s twin sister. Double whammy!

In the meantime, the Alliance catches wind of another imperial Death Star being constructed near the forest moon of Endor, this time under the direct supervision of the evil Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader’s Sith Master.

Luke is captured in the attack on the space base and attempts to sway Vader to reject the dark side of the Force; he fails and is brought before Palpatine. It is at this time that young Skywalker learns that the rebels attacking the new Death Star are walking into an ambush.

When Luke resists all of the emperor’s attempts to convert him, Palpatine begins torturing him. It turns out to be a mistake, as this action triggers an emotional response in Darth Vader, who, rather than watch his child die, introduces the emperor to a deep elevator shaft.

Vader is mortally wounded in the process, but his redemption arc is complete, and he dies as the original Anakin Skywalker. With the second Death Star destroyed, the Rebel Alliance celebrates victory and Luke is reunited with his friends.

The Skywalker Saga: The Prequels

Asked about what determined him to write the prequels, George Lucas stated that he wanted to write a story of how good people end up doing bad things. His view is that no person perceives themselves as evil, but rather as having a different perspective on reality. We all have flaws that, left unchecked, can become our undoing.

This is the case for Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader, whose Achilles heel is attachment, and the inability to let go and embrace the harsher realities of life. He cannot accept the passing of his mother and later on, his wife. Palpatine is able to pull his strings so easily because he cleverly spots this chink in the young Jedi’s armor.

The Star Wars prequel films include:

  • Episode I – The Phantom Menace (May 19, 1999)
  • Episode II – Attack of the Clones (May 16, 2002)
  • Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (May 19, 2005)

These films follow the decline and fall of the Galactic Republic as a result of the seeping corruption within, the extermination of the Jedis and the rise of the Empire under Sheev Palpatine (who is secretly none other than Sith Lord Darth Sidious).

Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Key Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), Queen Amidala of Naboo (Natalie Portman), Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), Senator Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best), R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Yoda (Frank Oz), Darth Maul (Ray Park).

32 years prior to the destruction of the first Death Star in the Battle of Yavin, there is unrest in the Galactic Republic. The Trade Federation blockades Queen Amidala’s planet of Naboo, preparing for a full-scale assault.

Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn and his youngish apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi are dispatched by the Federation as negotiators. However, the Trade Federation is under orders by a mysterious Sith Lord known as Darth Sidious (yes, it’s Palpatine) to kill the two.

The Jedi manage to escape the onslaught and make their way to the surface of Naboo, where they rescue Amidala with the help of comic relief character (depends on whom you ask) Jar Jar Binks. In an attempt to reach the planet Coruscant (the seat of the Galactic Republic Senate), their ship is damaged, and the protagonists are forced to land on Tatooine, a planet outside the Republic’s jurisdiction.

On Tatooine, they meet a 9-year-old slave by the name of Anakin Skywalker, and his mother who reveals to them the boy’s immaculate birth. Anakin proves his mettle, er, Force proclivity, by winning a pod race and his freedom. Qui-Gon is intrigued and decides to train Anakin in the ways of the Force, in spite of the Jedi Council’s concerns. Meanwhile, Queen Amidala is swayed by Senator Palpatine’s serpentine tongue and triggers a chain of events that will eventually cause the fall of the Galactic Republic and rise of the Empire. 

The battle for Naboo is won, thanks to the efforts of Jar Jar Bink’s Gungan army and Anakin’s accidental destruction of a Trade Federation’s droid ship. However, the victory comes at a cost: Qui-Gon Jin dies at the hands of Sith Lord Darth Maul but is avenged by his apprentice. Obi-Wan earns the rank of Jedi Knight and proceeds to train Anakin in the ways of the Force.

Episode II – Attack of the Clones

Key Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), Senator Padmé Amidala of Naboo (Natalie Portman), Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson), Count Dooku / Darth Tyrannus (Christopher Lee), Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best), R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Yoda (Frank Oz), Darth Maul (Ray Park).

10 years after the defeat of the Trade Federation in the battle of Naboo and Palpatine’s masterstroke that propelled him to the position of Supreme Chancellor, countless planetary systems are seceding from the Galactic Republic to join Count Dooku’s (a former Jedi Master) Separatists.

Digging into an assassination attempt on Padmé Amidala’s life, Obi-Wan discovers that an army of clones is being created on the ocean planet of Kamino, at the request of a mysterious (and apparently long dead) Jedi named Sifo-Dyas, to serve the Republic.

Hot on the trail of bounty hunter Jango Fett and his son (the original subjects cloned on Kamino), Obi-Wan reaches the planet Geonosis. Here, he’s captured by separatist leader Count Dooku, who reveals to Kenobi that the Galactic Senate has fallen under the influence of an undercover Sith Lord, Darth Sidious.

During this time, Anakin is tortured by visions of his mother in pain. Upon his return to Tatooine, he eventually finds her in a Tusken raider slave encampment, on the brink of death. Anakin gives fully into his rage for the first time, slaughtering the entire Tusken village and paving his road to Sith-hood.

Padmé and Anakin then travel to Geonosis, in a bid to save Obi-Wan, but the three of them are captured and sentenced to death. Right before their demise, the Jedi Council accompanied by the clone army from Kamino swoop in to save the day.

In the ensuing battle, Count Dooku manages to flee to Coruscant and deliver a super-weapon blueprint to Darth Sidious, but not before taking Anakin’s hand in a lightsaber fight (are you seeing a pattern already?). Anakin marries Padmé in secret on Naboo, straying further from the Jedi path of no attachment.

Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

Key Characters:Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson), Count Dooku / Darth Tyrannus (Christopher Lee), Senator Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits), Yoda (Frank Oz), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best).

It’s been 3 years since the dawn of the Clone Wars and the galaxy is now consumed by the full-scale conflict between the Jedi and separatists. Sent to rescue a kidnapped Palpatine, Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice battle and defeat Count Dooku. Anakin cuts Dooku down to size and ends up shaving a little too much of the top.  

Palpatine continues his sinister machinations and attempts to seduce Skywalker with the “unnatural” abilities offered by the Dark Side. When Anakin reports it to the Jedi Council, Mace Windu confronts and almost kills Palpatine in a duel. Unfortunately, an already disillusioned Anakin steps in and protects the emperor and sends Master Windu plummeting to his death. For this feat, Palpatine knights Anakin as a Sith Lord and awards him the Darth Vader moniker. 

Palpatine initiates the infamous Order 66, I.E. commending clone troopers to turn on the Jedi, while the new rising star of the Sith, Vader, massacres the remaining Jedi at the temple, including the children. In another swift move, the Galactic Senate is dissolved, and the Republic becomes the Galactic Empire.  

Padmé, who at this point is pregnant with Anakin’s offsprings, travels to Mustafar to confront her husband and plea with him to renounce the Dark Side. Unbeknownst to her, Obi-Wan stows away aboard her ship and emerges upon reaching Vader. Enraged by what he presumes is a betrayal, Vader Force chokes his wife to an inch of her life, but loses the lightsaber duel against his former master, who cuts off his limbs and leaves him to die.

On Coruscant, Palpatine is more successful against Yoda, the latter ending up forced to flee along with Senator Bail Organa. They regroup with Obi-Wan and Padmé on planetoid Polis Massa. Vader’s children are born, but she dies in the process. The children are split up, with Leia taken by Senator Bail Organa to Alderaan and Luke being sent to Tatooine.

Darth Vader, who has been led to believe that he killed Padmé in fit of rage, is rescued and rebuilt by the Emperor, his body now encased in the iconic black armor with life support capabilities. He’s last seen supervising the development of the deadliest imperial superweapon, the Death Star.

Skywalker Saga: The Sequels

While Mark Hamill says George Lucas envisioned a sequel trilogy for the original story as early as 1976, the plans were eventually abandoned in 1981. It wasn’t until 2011, when the Walt Disney Company opened up negotiations for the acquisition of Lucasfilm, that the idea resurfaced. However, Lucas’ original scripts were discarded in favor of screenplays written by Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Arndt, Rian Johnson, Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams.

The sequel trilogy includes the films:

  • Episode VII – The Force Awakens (December 18, 2015)
  • Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (December 15, 2017)
  • Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (December 20, 2019)

It’s worth noting that George Lucas was supposed to offer creative consultancy to J.J. Abrams, but ultimately decided not to get involved, stating that he would prefer not to know anything about the movies until he “walks into the theater next December”.

Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Key Characters: Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels).

30 years have passed since the Battle of Endor that seemed to spell the end for the Galactic Empire. From its ashes emerged the First Order, a growing threat to the New Republic and to the Resistance led by now General Leia Organa. Luke Skywalker is nowhere to be found.

Enter the first new protagonist of the story, Resistance pilot Poe Dameron, who is handed a map that could lead to Luke. Enter the antagonist, Kylo Ren, radicalized Dark Side jihadist with violent temper and a red lightsaber to match, who captures Poe. In a fashion reminiscent of Leia in “A New Hope”, the pilot manages to send off his droid BB-8 with the map in question before Kylo Ren can get his hands on him.

Poe is rescued by defecting Stormtrooper FN-2187, whom he later names Finn, but they’re separated in a crash. After crashlanding on the planet Jaku, Finn meets Rey and BB-8. They manage to escape the First Order by the skin of their teeth, using a ship that’s none other than the emblematic Millenium Falcon.

Enter Han Solo and Chewbacca, who join the quest and reveal that Luke is in self-imposed exile after one of his apprentices pulled an Anakin (I.E. turned to the Dark Side, destroyed the Jedi temple, massacred the other students, yada yada). The party rendezvous with Leia and C-3PO, and narrowly escape the First Order’s attack. A low-power R2D2 also makes an entrance.

The Resistance prepares to neutralize the First Order’s superweapon – Starkiller Base – before it fires. It leads to a confrontation between Han and Kylo, and it’s now revealed they are father and son. Kylo – or Ben, as his father calls him – runs Han Solo through with his signature cross-guard lightsaber, killing him, but is injured by an enraged Chewbacca. Starkiller Base is destroyed, and the protagonists flee. With R2D2 now awake, Rey completes the map and locates Luke on the planet Ahch-To.

Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

Key Characters:Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), Yoda (Frank Oz), DJ (Benicio del Torro), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels).

The movie picks up immediately after the fall of Starkiller Base. It is a game of cat and mouse between General Leia Organa, who attempts to evacuate the resistance army, and the First Order led by Kylo Ren who are hot on their trail. The bridge of Leia’s ship is destroyed and she flies into space, but manages to use the Force to survive.

Back on the planet Ahch-To, Luke declines Rey’s request to join the resistance, but agrees to teach Rey the basics of the Force. Rey begins a secret telepathic communication with Kylo Ren, whom she believes can still be redeemed.

On a mission to disable the First Order’s tracking device on the Resistance fleet, Fin, BB-8 and mechanic Rose infiltrate Supreme Leader Snoke’s flagship, but are captured by Captain Phasma. The same fate befalls Rey, who is captured by Kylo Ren and brought before Snoke. It’s now revealed that their telepathic connection was engineered by Snoke to locate Luke.

As Leia recovers from her “spacewalk”, Admiral Holdo assumes command of the resistance and orders a retreat. The plan doesn’t sit well with Poe Dameron, who stages a mutiny, but is eventually persuaded by Leia’s stun blaster to back down.

Rey and Kylo team up to kill Snoke and his Praetorians, but the latter refuses to renounce the dark side once the Sith Lord is defeated and proclaims himself supreme leader. Admiral Holdo flies her ship into Snoke’s, sacrificing herself while the rest of the fleet evacuates. However, the First Order follows them to the Resistance fortress and the siege begins.

Luke force projects himself before the fortress and is struck down by Kylo Ren, but his heroics buy enough time for the Resistance to escape; he dies peacefully in his home on Ahch-To, joining the rest of the Force ghosts dream-team.

Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

Key Characters: Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Jannah (Naomi Ackie), General Pryde (Richard E. Grant), Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o).

Shortly following the demise of Snoke, a new (old) threat reemerges: the presumed long-dead, ultimate baddie, Palpatine. Kylo Ren travels to the Sith planet of Exegol, where the former Emperor reveals a massive fleet of Star destroyers ready to wipe out General Leia’s Resistance. With new orders to kill Rey, Kylo leverages their Force connection to find her.

On the planet Pasaana, Rey, Chewbacca Lando Calrissian and C-3PO locate a clue that may lead them to a device called a Sith wayfinder that can help them track down the Sith planet. Intercepted by Kylo Ren, Rey accidentally uses a Sith-specific technique, Force lightning, to bring down a First Order ship, and they manage to escape without Chewbacca, who is presumed dead.

Sensing that Chewbacca still has some fur to shed, Rey mounts a rescue mission and manages to recover the Sith dagger that can lead them to the wayfinder. However, upon dueling Kylo for the umpteenth time, she also learns that Palpatine is her paternal grandfather, and the story of her parents. With the help of previously unpleasant General Hux, who is revealed to be a Resistance spy, the group escapes the Sith Star Destroyer in the Millenium Falcon.

They make their way to the moon of Endor, and Rey discovers the long sought after Sith wayfinder, only to lose it in a duel with perpetually-on-her-case Kylo Ren. Rey proceeds to impale Kylo with a little help from moribund Leia and subsequently Force-heal him out of guilt. She attempts to pull a “Luke”, I.E. exile herself on Ahch-To, but Luke’s Force ghost convinces her to fight on and face Palpatine.

Armed with Leia’s lightsaber, riding in Luke’s old X-wing fighter and with the Resistance fleet right behind, Rey travels to the Sith planet of Exegol. Fighting alongside the recently redeemed Sith-Lord-Formerly-Known-As-Kylo-Ren (now Ben), with whom she apparently forms a Force “dyad”, she ends Palpatine before drawing the final breath herself. Fortunately, Ben performs a Force CPR on Rey and brings her back, but at the cost of his own life and the dyad share a final kiss.

The ending celebrates the triumph of the resistance. Rey, now having cleared her schedule for the foreseeable future, can finally lay Luke and Leia’s lightsabers to rest at the abandoned homestead on Tatooine.

Star Wars movies outside the Skywalker saga

Outside of the nine episodes we’ve covered so far, there are three standalone movies considered canon in the Star Wars Universe:

  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (August 15, 2008)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (December 16, 2016)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 10, 2018)

These aren’t part of the main saga’s critical path, but they do provide notable insight AND answer a bunch of questions you didn’t even know you had. Where does the Hutt crime syndicate stand in the war between the Separatists and the Republic? When did Anakin and Ahsoka decide to trust each other? Why does the Empire have a Death Star? What is the Kessel run? How did Han Solo and Chewbacca team up?

The answers to these mysteries and a bunch more are found in the three movies.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Key characters: Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter), Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein), Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor), Yoda (Tom Kane)

The story takes place during the Clone Wars, 22 BBY to 19 BBY, a time when Separatists dominate most of the hyperlanes, stranding the Republic’s clone forces in various remote regions of the Outer Rim. A pitched battle takes place on Christophsis between Obi-Wan and Anakin’s small contingent of clone troops, and the armies of the Retail Caucus.

A 14-year-old Ahsoka Tano descends from a shuttle in the midst of chaos, alleging that she’s been sent by Master Yoda to be Anakin’s Padawan. Unfortunately, while the Jedi fighting alongside the clone troopers mop up the separatists, Count Dooku kidnaps Jabba the Hut’s son, Rotta, in an attempt to secure an alliance with the famous crime syndicate. Sent to retrieve Rotta, the relationship between Anakin and Ahsoka is off to a rocky start, and they butt heads multiple times before coming to terms with each other.

It is a story of political intrigue, treachery and plots, but also about learning to trust and respect those who are either too different or too similar to us. The Clone Wars 2008 epic is also the very first time we meet Ahsoka, the hotheaded Togruta wielder of the Force.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Key characters: Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen), Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing), Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilley).

Shortly before the Battle of Yavin (0 ABY) when the first Death Star is blown to smithereens, after Chancellor Palpatine dissolved the Galactic Senate and the rise of the Empire, gifted scientist Galen Erso is kidnapped by Imperial Director Orson Krennic. Erso’ wife is killed in the altercation, but his daughter Jyn Erso, manages to escape and eventually teams up with Partisan leader Saw Gerrera.

Together with Cassian Andor (whom we see for the first time) and repurposed security droid K-2SO, she must retrieve the schematics for the Empire’s new superweapon and discover the flaw that Galen intentionally hid in the design. Director Krennic, Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader stand between them and their goal.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Key characters: Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), Qi’ra (Emillia Clark), Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), L3-37 (Phoebe Waller Bridge), Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), Val (Thandiwe Newton), Rio Durant (Jon Favreau), Paul Bettany (Dryden Vos).

The year is 10 BBY and the Galactic Empire is at its height, while the Rebel Alliance is struggling to get their ducks in a row. An up-and-coming Han Solo becomes involved in a dangerous bid to steal coaxium (a type of rare fuel used for hyperspace travel) in order to repay his debts to a ruthless gangster by name of Dryden Vos.

In a slave pit on planet Mimban, Han partners up with Chewbacca, the 190-year-old Wookie with whom he’ll share the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon for the rest of his smuggling days.

Lando Calrissian is also introduced here, and we finally get to learn how Solo parted him from the prized flagship that’s able to “make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs”. There’s another very surprising cameo in the film, but we’ll let you discover that for yourselves.

Star Wars television series

There are 11 television series considered canon that give fans even more insight into the characters and the brutal, unforgiving galaxy they live in. Similarly to The Clone Wars, Rogue One and Solo, these are outside the critical path set by the Skywalker Saga. 

However, the events and characters portrayed refine our understanding of the different factions involved in the conflagration, the political machinations and schemes, and the psychology of the beloved (or despised) characters.

Ordered chronologically in accordance with the Star Wars universe, these are:

Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi (40 BBY – 19 BBY)

  • First episode release date: October 26, 2022
  • Seasons: 1
  • Episode number: 6
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Key Characters: Ahsoka Tano, Count Dooku, Qui-Gon Jinn, Mace Windu, Katri, Plo Koon, Yaddle, Anakin Skywalker, Darth Sidious, Bail Organa, Captain Rex;
  • Plot synopsis: Tales of the Jedi follows Count Dooku before he falls to the Dark Side, and Ahsoka Tano’s key turning points in life.

Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Anthology Series (22 BBY- 35 ABY)

  • First episode release date: July 3, 2017
  • Seasons: 2
  • Episode number: 32
  • Status: Completed
  • Key Characters: Darth Vader, Padmé Amidala, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Ahsoka Tano, Maz Kanata, C-3PO, Rey, Finn;
  • Plot synopsis: Forces of Destiny is Lucasfilm Animation’s love letter to the female heroines of the Star Wars universe that so often go unnoticed. Using a 2D animation style, the 2-3 minute anthological episodes span across multiple eras.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Series (22 BBY – 19 BBY)

  • First episode release date: October 3, 2008
  • Seasons: 7
  • Episode number: 133
  • Status: Completed, story arc is continued in The Bad Batch
  • Key Characters: Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano, Captain Rex, General Grievous, Yoda, Padmé Amidala, Mace Windu, Count Dooku, Asajj Ventress, Bail Organa, Tarkin, Bo-Katan Kryze, Darth Maul
  • Plot synopsis: The Clone Wars Series guides viewers through the conflict between the Republic’s clone forces spearheaded by the Jedi Order and the Separatist droid armies under the command of the now evil Count Dooku.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch (19 BBY)

  • First episode release date: May 4, 2021
  • Seasons: 2
  • Episode number: 32
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Key Characters: Clone Force 99 (Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, Crosshair, and Echo), Omega, Palpatine, Orson Krennic, Caleb Dume, Bib Fortuna, Saw Gerrera, Fennec Shand
  • Plot synopsis: The Bad Batch tells the story of an elite squad who defect from the Empire after the dreaded Order 66 is given.

Obi-Wan Kenobi (9 BBY)

  • First episode release date: May 27, 2022
  • Seasons: 1
  • Episode number: 6
  • Status: Completed miniseries
  • Key Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, The Inquisitor, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Owen and Beru Lars, Bail Organa, Reva Sevander
  • Plot synopsis: In Obi-Wan Kenobi, we get to hang out with the titular character during his self-imposed exile on Tatooine. 10 after the events in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the Empire and his former apprentice hunt for him. A very young Princess Leia is also featured, and now we get a better understanding of the emblematic “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope” scene from the Star Wars Episode IV film.

Star Wars Rebels (5 BBY)

  • First episode release date: October 3, 2014
  • Seasons: 4
  • Episode number: 75
  • Status: Completed, story arc is continued in Ahsoka
  • Key Characters: Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus, Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren, C1-10P “Chopper”, Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios, Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi, Yoda, Bail Organa, Captain Rex, Ahsoka Tano, Mon Mothma, Saw Gerrera, Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Grand Moff Tarkin, Emperor Palpatine
  • Plot synopsis: Set 15 years after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, in the Rebels series we see the Empire combing the galaxy for Jedi fugitives, and the nascent phases of the Rebellion.

Andor (5 BBY)

  • First episode release date: September 21, 2022
  • Seasons: 1
  • Episode number: 12
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Key Characters: Cassian Andor, Syril Karn, Bix Caleen, Luthen Rael, Maarva Andor, Mon Mothma, Dedra Meero, Vel Sartha, Cinta Kaz, Kleya Marki
  • Plot synopsis: Currently seen switching careers between scavenger and thief, Andor follows the cynical eponym character, whose home world Kenari was devastated and made uninhabitable by an imperial mining project. The series explores the events that will eventually transform the revolution-averse, disillusioned misanthropist into the self-sacrificing hero of the Rebellion of the Rogue One film.

The Mandalorian (9 – 12 ABY)

  • First episode release date: November 12, 2019
  • Seasons: 3
  • Episode number: 24
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Key Characters: Din Djarin, Grogu, Bo-Katan Kryze, Greef Karga, The Armorer, Moff Gideon, Captain Carson Teva, Peli Motto, IG-11, Dr. Pershing, Fennec Shand
  • Plot synopsis: In the wake of the fall of the Empire, but before the rise of the First Order, The Mandalorian features a new bounty hunter from the once proud warrior race, one whose skill with the blaster rivals that of Jango and Boba Fett. Din Djarin, the hero of this tale, is on the run from scattered imperial factions, who are after the Yoda-like child in his care, the adorable Grogu. Check out our Mandalorian timeline to learn more.

The Book of Bobba Fett (9 ABY)

  • First episode release date: December 29, 2021
  • Seasons: 1
  • Episode number: 7
  • Status: Cancelled
  • Key Characters: Bobba Fett, Fennec Shand, Din Djarin
  • Plot synopsis: After Jabba the Hutt gets chain-choked by Leia, legendary Mandalorian bounty hunter Boba Fett decides to fill the void of power himself, and stakes his claim in the sands of Tatooine.

Ahsoka (12 ABY)

  • First episode release date: August 22, 2023
  • Seasons: 1
  • Episode number: 8
  • Status: Ongoing
  • Key Characters: Ahsoka Tano, Sabine Wren, Hera Syndulla, Chopper, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Morgan Elsbeth, Baylan Skoll, Shin Hati, Ezra Bridger;
  • Plot synopsis: The Galactic Empire has fallen, but a new threat to peace emerges in the form of Grand Admiral Thrawn’s potential return, one that Ahsoka Tano and her new padawan Sabine Wren, with the help of Hera Syndulla must investigate. The Ahsoka Tano timeline can get pretty complicated, as the story jumps back and forth using flashbacks. 

Star Wars: Resistance (34 ABY – 35 ABY)

  • First episode release date: October 7, 2018
  • Seasons: 2
  • Episode number: 40       
  • Status: Cancelled, storyline becomes irrelevant after Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
  • Key Characters: Commander Pyre, Agent Tierny, Tam Ryvora, Kazuda Xiono, Hype Fazon, Captain Doza, Neeku Vozo, Synara San
  • Plot synopsis: Shortly after the events in Episode VII – The Force Awakens, newly recruited Resistance pilot Kazuda Xiono is sent to spy on the First order.

Fun Star Wars facts to impress your friends

Here are some fun facts about Star Wars that are good to know.

  • A Star Wars Holiday Special was released back on November 17, 1978, on CBS, but the reception was incredibly poor. You can find it on YouTube free of charge, as Disney does not own the rights to it. The premise is that Han and Chewie engage in a race against the clock to reach the Wookie home planet of Kashyyyk in time for Life Day, but an imperial blockade stands between them and the celebration. George Lucas stated that this project was something Fox executives talked him into doing to promote the Star Wars films.
  • George Lucas tried to get Jim Henson to play Yoda. Henson refused on account of being busy, but suggested Frank Oz instead, whom Lucas agreed was a fantastic alternative for the role. Stuart Freeborn, who handled Yoda’s and Jabba the Hutt’s design was also recommended by Jim Henson.
  • The movie that inspired George Lucas the most when he wrote Star Wars is Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 The Hidden Fortress. There are also many elements and archetypes from Kurosawa’s film found in Star Wars, like how the story is mainly from the point of view of the two bickering farmers (C-3PO and R2D2) or the defeated general (Obi-Wan Kenobi). We also know that George Lucas tried to convince Toshiro Mifune to be Kenobi.
  •  Sir Alec Guiness had a rather profound distaste for Star Wars and thought Episode IV: A New Hope was “fairy-tale rubbish”, initially refusing to return for Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. To persuade him, Lucas agreed to ridiculous conditions: Guiness would work a single day for 4 hours and a half, and his proceedings would be a quarter of a percent from the film’s gross income.
  • Han Solo and Leia partied hard all night long with the Rolling Stones before meeting Billy Dee Williams for the first time the next day, to shoot the Cloud City arrival scene.
  • Chewbacca’s unmistakable voice was created by Ben Burrt using a mix of field recordings of lions, bears, badgers, camels, walruses and rabbits. While different ratios were added from each, the most dominant voice belonged to a black bear by the name of Tarik from the Californian Happy Hollow Zoo.
  • To avoid information leaking to the public, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi was called “Blue Harvest” during the filming. The idea behind this was that it would be impossible to keep the script under wraps if people working in the studio heard about it, but a non-descript film like Blue Harvest wouldn’t peak anyone’s interest.
  • The Clone Wars television series was directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, the creator of popular Cartoon Network shows like Dexter’s Laboratory or Samurai Jack. Tartakovsky also penned the winner of multiple Primetime Emmy Awards, Primal.
  • Jabba the Hutt required no less than seven puppeteers to control: three were inside controlling the arms, jaw, tongue and tail, two others were outside managing the eyes via remote control, a sixth was under the stage blowing smoke up a tube and the seventh worked the lungs with bellows.
  • An 11-year-old Warwick Davis got his big break in television playing an Ewok extra because R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker who was initially assigned the role got food poisoning. 
  • Samuel L. Jackson’s emblematic purple sword has a “BMF” engraving on the hilt, a reference to his character in Pulp Fiction, Jules Winnfield.

Frequently Asked Questions about Star Wars

Let’s find out the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Star Wars franchise.

About the Star Wars timeline

The Star Wars timelines were created using Office Timeline, a powerful and easy to use add-in for PowerPoint that can help you create fantastic visuals for your next presentation at the touch of a button. Check out the or download the free trial to test all its features firsthand.

Eddy is Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer for Office Timeline, building a user-friendly but powerful app that makes timelines, Gantt charts and roadmaps directly in PowerPoint.

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