For Everyone Who Doesn't Know Anything About Star Wars

Who hasn’t heard “Star Wars” uttered on the street, or seen the words emblazoned on star-studded posters and T-shirts? And I’m sure almost every one of us has heard the classic “Luke, I am your father” quoted, if not parodied, at some point in our lives. But, for those who are trying to understand and enjoy the Star Wars movies and their odd chronology, it can be beyond difficult. Episode IV came out first, but Episode I was fourth? Darth Vader was married to Natalie Portman, who’s also dead? And where does Solo fit into all this nonsense?

Well, never fear my friends, because I come bearing tidings of joy. Below, I’ve listed the top Star Wars movies and television shows (we don’t talk about the Christmas special) in chronological order, from the humble beginnings of a potential messiah, to the dramatic fall of the devious Empire.


1) Episode I The Phantom Menace

Episode I (although, confusingly, this was the fourth Star Wars movie made) introduces us to a galaxy far, far away, long before Luke and Leia were born, and Yoda was confined to a swamp.

TPM opens with a political blockade and follows the tumultuous mission of Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi as they try to stop the invasion of the planet Naboo and save the young Queen Padmé Amidala. But their mission goes awry when they crash-land on the desert planet of Tatooine, and their paths cross with a strange child named Anakin Skywalker . . .


2) Episode II Attack of the Clones

Years after the events of TPM, we’re reintroduced to Padawan Anakin Skywalker and Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi as they attempt to protect Senator Padmé Amidala from assassination. But nothing goes quite according to plan as political unrest grows and darkness festers in the galaxy.

Although Episode II is not known for its stunning dialogue (“I don’t like sand”) or use of CGI (the droid factory scene, anyone?), it still has some shining moments that make it worthwhile.


3) The Clone Wars Movie and TV series

If, at this point, you are supremely invested in the Star Wars series, The Clone Wars movie and accompanying TV series are phenomenal. They add more depth and personality to characters that are only briefly touched on throughout the prequel trilogy, and brings to life all the worlds of the Star Wars universe. It also includes new characters that have become fan favourites within the series, including Anakin’s brash young Padawan, Ahsoka Tano.

The television series takes place between Episodes II and III during the titular Clone Wars and follows Anakin, Obi-Wan, Padmé, and other members of the Jedi Council as they navigate the war.


4) Episode III Revenge of the Sith

With arguably the best soundtrack of the prequels, Revenge of the Sith begins with a stellar dogfight and ends in tragedy. Anakin Skywalker is troubled, and he longs for the power to protect the ones he loves. But will this desire be his undoing?


5) Solo

Taking place around 10 years before the events of the original trilogy, Solo follows the escapades of a young Han Solo as he takes part in one of his very first smuggling operations.

This is the second of the Star Wars anthology films, which are offshoots from the original trilogy each featuring an earlier story of one of its main characters.


6) Star Wars: Rebels

While not necessary viewing, the Rebels TV series follows a ragtag group of rebels as they work against the Empire. Familiar faces abound, including a grouchy old Jedi we all love, an ex-Padawan, and a fiery princess willing to do anything to stop the Empire.


7) Rogue One

The first of the Star Wars anthology films, Rogue One takes place not long before the beginning of the original trilogy, with the final scene occurring mere moments before the opening of A New Hope.

Rogue One follows Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor and their rag-tag group of rebels as they attempt to steal the plans for the Death Star to give the rebellion a fighting chance against the totalitarian power of the Empire.


8) Episode IV A New Hope

The original Star Wars movie, the one that started it all. Released in the 70s, A New Hope was originally titled Star Wars but was later renamed after its success and to accommodate the subsequent films.

A New Hope marks the beginning of the original trilogy, but it is the fourth installment chronologically in the Skywalker Saga (beginning with TPM). A New Hope follows orphan Luke Skywalker as he learns about his familial legacy, meets a cocky smuggler, attempts to save a princess, and joins the rebellion that is fighting desperately against the power of the Empire.


9) Episode V The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back picks up three years after the ending of A New Hope with the Empire and its villainous leaders, Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, in a tireless search for the rebel Luke Skywalker.

Grittier than Episode IV, The Empire Strikes Back takes us around the Star Wars galaxy as Luke finds himself in the presence of the ancient Jedi Master, Yoda, while Han Solo and Princess Leia continue the fight against the Empire.

Episode IV is also the film that introduced “The Imperial March,” Darth Vader’s theme, as well as one of cinema’s most popular twists of all time.


10) Episode VI Return of the Jedi

Luke has been saved, Han is frozen in carbonite, and the Empire is constructing a second Death Star. Return of the Jedi is the epic conclusion to the original trilogy. It careens towards a final confrontation between Luke and Darth Vader, and constantly begs the question: Who will win? The light or the dark?


11) Episode VII The Force Awakens

Episode VII is the first movie in the sequel trilogy and begins about 30 years after the Battle of Endor during the finale of RotJ. It shows that, even 30 years after the defeat of the Empire, darkness still festers in the galaxy in the form of the First Order, an offshoot of the Empire led by the erratic Darth Vader fanboy, Kylo Ren.

With a whole new cast of characters, including the delightful Rey, Finn, and the lovable new droid BB-8, as well as familiar faces, The Force Awakens is a host unto itself as it brings the Star Wars saga into the modern day.


12) Episode VIII The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi sees the return of Luke Skywalker, Jedi turned hermit, as Rey attempts to train to become a Jedi, while Finn and Poe fight to keep the resistance afloat.

This movie has kicked up a lot of controversy over the past year and polarized viewers, but I’ll leave it up to you whether you think this one is good or not.


13) Episode IX (Currently untitled)

Not yet released, Episode IX will draw the latest instalment of the Star Wars saga to a close, and hopefully bring a little bit of peace to the wartorn galaxy.


Sources: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13