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This question was asked in 2012. And all of its responses consider only episodes I - VI.

But what about episodes VII - IX? And Rogue One? And Solo?

And then you have the short-format series: The Mandalorian, Kenobi and so on.

And should animated series even be included in the discussion?

As someone who has stuck to mostly the cinematic releases (and is a die-hard Original Trilogy buff), this would help me to navigate everything out there. I may want to re-watch a lot of this, since I've only seen non-Trilogy releases once.

EDIT:

I am not sure whether animated content is helpful to the viewer. For example, the character Ashoka seems to be exclusively an animated character. I am unsure whether understanding that character's storyline is helpful to all that is canon. Please help.

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    Just for my 2 cents [as actually a disinterested party] If we get good answers on this, we could always close the other as the dupe. There's no reason the older one must be the 'parent'.
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 11, 2023 at 18:18
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    I realise you're trying to stave off close votes, but you shouldn't change questions in a way that invalidates the existing answers.
    – F1Krazy
    Dec 12, 2023 at 7:46
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    Ok, so your tweaks aren't really helping because for instance you don't want the animated works considered, when in fact they do relate to some of the current TV series content (mandoverse), and that also in the near future that TV series content is working its way to a feature film (mandoverse film), so the treads will be working the other way as well. Not just film to TV, but Tv to film. Dec 12, 2023 at 23:13
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    ...However, I also agree with Darth Locke that your restrictions seem a bit arbitrary in light of that, although laudable that you try to contain this rather broad question is some way. But if we ultimately make this just about the 9 feature films and maybe the two midquel stories, this does become a bit of a shallow duplicate of the old question. There's zero reason not to watch the 3 sequels after the other 6. Factoring in all the various TV-shows, while admittedly quite broad, is what gives this question its appeal.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Dec 13, 2023 at 15:35
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    @NapoleonWilson - I think the original question was fine. The major issue was people mistakenly trying to close it as a duplicate. OP is trying to fix a problem that doesn't exist
    – Valorum
    Dec 13, 2023 at 21:54

2 Answers 2

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I'm taking the question at face value and assuming you want to watch literally everything in the Disney canon, regardless of its quality and/or relevance to the original Skywalker Saga (if we start getting into debates about what's skippable or what makes the best first impression, we'll be here all day).

In that case, the simplest thing to do is just to watch it all in chronological order. This is complicated by the fact that some of the shows overlap with the movies and spoil their events, while Tales of the Jedi is all over the place. I've tried to keep this as simple as possible and explain why certain series/episodes go where they do in the viewing order.

From the top, then:

  • Tales of the Jedi episode 2 (introduces Qui-Gon Jinn and Count Dooku, who'll be important later)
  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  • Tales of the Jedi episodes 3 and 4 (depicts Dooku's fall to the Dark Side)
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Tales of the Jedi episode 1 (introduces Ahsoka Tano - technically this is set before The Phantom Menace but you don't need to watch it until this point)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (stopping after Season 7, Episode 9, as that's where the events of Episode III begin)
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (the rest of Season 7)
  • Tales of the Jedi episode 5 (elaborates on The Clone Wars' finale)
  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Tales of the Jedi episode 6 (sets up Ahsoka's appearance in Rebels)
  • Star Wars Rebels
  • Andor
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • The Mandalorian seasons 1 and 2
  • The Book of Boba Fett (set in between seasons 2 and 3 of The Mandalorian)
  • The Mandalorian season 3
  • Ahsoka
  • Star Wars Resistance (stopping after Season 1, Episode 18, as that's where the events of Episode VII begin)
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
  • Star Wars Resistance (the rest of it)
  • Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  • Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
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  • I hate to pick nits. Where does the Holiday Special fit in here? Dec 11, 2023 at 20:40
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    That wasn't canon even before Disney took over, so I didn't include it, but if you really want to watch it, it goes in between Episodes IV and V.
    – F1Krazy
    Dec 11, 2023 at 20:58
  • Needs all the Lego Star Wars content added :)
    – AakashM
    Dec 12, 2023 at 14:25
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tl;dr In release date order.

Well, for starters, I think every answers will be highly subjective, even the ones from "official" sources (providing they do exist). Then, let's define the followings:

  • Prelogy (I, II and III)
  • OT as the Original Trilogy (IV, V and VI)
  • NT as the New Trilogy (VII, VIII and IX)

Let's address the elephant in the room, there's no good and definitive answer on this. For every series that spans a big period of time. I asked myself the same question about the Kingdom Hearts series, and all of my friends have good points on one or the other way, and no one seems to be able to show why one method is better than the other.


Under this line, I assume you know the movies and you're trying to find a way to show Star Wars for newcomers, so I may reference some story elements that are considered as spoilers

With that being said, here are my two cents:

In Hollywood, everything is made in a certain way for a reason (being a good or a bad reason is way out of range at this point). Let's assume we leave mercantile reasons aside and focus on artistic reasons, and think about this:

  1. Georges Lucas, whether you like it or not is an artist and thus decided to start with IV, V, VI, then I, II, III. There's a reason for that. Doesn't matter if it's a technical reasons (like Cameron waiting for technology to be good enough for his Avatar), story-wise (would Prelogy be as interesting as they are now if we didn't knew beforehand that Anakin would became Vader? If we knew that Palpatine was seeking to become the Emperor?) or whatever. He decided to release the movies in a specific order, and thus, made them accordingly. Filmed them accordingly. It's artistic assumption, but I'd say Anakin's downfall wouldn't looked the same if prelogy came before original trilogy, because we knew what would happen. If Prelogy came before, maybe it would have been more subtle?

And heck, I know it's pop culture now, and everyone know this line but would you ruin the "No. I am your father" for newcomers? I know I wouldn't...

That's for OT versus Prelogy

  1. Does NT has a reason to exist without OT. No. No, no, no. Artistically (story-wise), no. For Disney, wanting to get money? No! OT isn't only a legacy, it's a burden for Disney. A so heavy burden than at first, they considered to remove entirely the numeration on the episodes just because they feared newcomers would' be lost. But everything in those movies is made with that legacy. Solo's death would not nearly be as impactful if we don't know who Solo is. The quest for Luke is just pointless without the spectator know who Luke is. The Force. The Jedi. All of it. It's all true. Do you even care about this BIG part of the movie if you're introduced with NT?

One could argue that you could watch NT before Prelogy. Well, I think that even though it wouldn't ruin your anyone's experience, you would miss a bunch of the "wow effect" when discovering that Rey is Palpatine's grand-daughter before knowing what he did in Prelogy. Along with the voices of the Jedis you hear (providing you recognize them, something that was impossible in the french version in theaters)


Now, for Rogue One and Solo:

I have the feeling that Rogue One could be watched before IV but that you shouldn't do that. The beginning of A New Hope is, after all, the beginning of Star Wars. The very first time we're properly introduced in this new universe. And the first scene of Rogue One is not well fitted for that role. But there's no harm in watching A New Hope again just after Rogue One as the ending of the latter is perfectly timed for the beginning of the first (yes we know Vader seems to forgot what he saw like half an hour ago, but I'm sure that won't hurt you).

The same goes for Solo. The best introduction for Han is in A New Hope. Because he shot first. Period. We don't need to know why he shot first. He did, period. And don't ruin Maul's reappearance after I-don't-know-how-many-years-but-too-long. After all the tease, Maul's fans deserved that scene, and the wait made it bigger.


And now, the TV Shows

In short, watch in chronological order. That almost everytime match the release order. And most of them are skippable with no loss of enjoyment for you'll watch after. I watched Ahsoka without having seen Rebels (except from the first two episodes). Yes, I missed some points, but a quick look on Wookipedia help me understand what I needed to and saved me a great bunch of binge watching episodes I didn't care about.

So, skip what you want, but retain the release order. it's getting a bit harder when some release schedules for two different shows are overlapping but you'll find plenty of watchguides online (and everyone on those sites knows that better than me, they even have guides for key episodes you don't want to miss for an "essentials" watch when you don't have hours of time for that)


Intertwining trilogies, movies and TV Show

As a last note, I'd say that the sequels are, by design, made in a way that they are not that much linked to the TV shows. Disney feared that newcomers would be afraid that they believed they have to watch everything that came out before to be able to get what happens in the new shows, so they made it more like standalone shows (regarding to NT), so you could end your first Star Wars watching run with NT if you want.

This is what I would do:

Original Trilogy, Prelogy, Clone Wars, Rogue One (A New Hope), Solo, New Trilogy, The Mandalorian, Andor, Book of Boba

Please note that I included only a few TV shows. Those are my preferred TV Shows, and I left aside many. Remove some or include others at will, based on your curiosity. But, very subjectively, if you had to keep only one TV show, pick the Mandalorian.


To end this, I think you should look at Star Wars in an order that's relevant to what you will see afterwards. You don't need to get all the easter eggs and references to enjoy it. And if you came back to a show or a movie after seeing the whole thing, you get some "rewatchability". Don't get overwhelmed with everything the first time! And as a general rule of thumb, for any IP, use the release dates. To go further on that, I edited and watched Pulp Fiction in chronological order. One of the most pointless things I did in my entire life (yes, over shiny hunting 10 magikarps)

You know, this is the internet, you will find people that will argue that some lines, some events are inconsistent and if you watch that episode before this one, your WHOLE WORLD will be turned upside-down. But inconsistencies are what happens when you write (and release) the end of a story before properly writing the beginning thirty years later...

I feel I'm not ready to receive the torrents of hellfire that the Internet is about to release upon me...

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  • About the rule of release dates, I'm curious if anyone's got recommendations where it is relevant NOT to use it.
    – Tloz
    Dec 11, 2023 at 21:09
  • I really like this. Could I ask you to place Andor where appropriate into this answer? P.S. I haven't seen Andor yet. Dec 11, 2023 at 22:12
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    As long as it's after Rogue One, you're fine. I've watched it, and I might be wrong but I don't recall any connection than Rogue One. You wanna know about Cassian's origin story because you know Cassian beforehand. That's how you spark some interest for this show. I'll edit my answer
    – Tloz
    Dec 11, 2023 at 22:19
  • While I think you can watch series like Ahsoka without seeing either TCW or Rebels, I feel strongly that you won't get the fullest experience without. Now I'm not criticizing the answer, so much as point out the criteria for this Q is too vague, since viewing experiences are not only subjective to preferred order (canon order vs release order), but it also is subjective to how immersive one wants to be in being able to understand. I am not saying all easter eggs are deep, but some are deeper or more appreciative than others, because of the long term investment someone might have in continuity. Dec 12, 2023 at 23:09
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    To expand on the easter eggs, it feels to me that if the person introducing you to SW pauses every episodes to say "You can't get it now, but this will become really important later" is very annoying and patronizing,
    – Tloz
    Dec 14, 2023 at 0:06

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