I have yet to see Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. I've been holding off because I knew there would be no Star Wars movies for a number of years. Also because Episode I and Episode II (which I did endure) were so bad to me.

Well, I guess ten years passed by pretty fast, and now Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens is moments away from being released.

Outside of Episode III, I have seen all the other Star Wars movies.

Do I need to watch Episode III before I embark on Episode VII? If your answer includes spoilers for Episodes III or VII, please mark them accordingly.

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    Not an answer but some reviewers in the UK press are talking about TFA as "episode 4", i.e as if the first three prequels didn't happen, draw your own conclusions... Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 17:26
  • I haven't seen the movie yet, but some of the reviews I've seen suggest that JJ Abrams might be roughly where you are. (I exaggerate, but don't expect a lot of references to part III that you won't get). Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 23:50
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    I don't intend this as a criticism, just that one reviewer in particular said I-III are pretty much ignored while IV-VI are (of course) heavily referenced, and I haven't yet seen anyone contradicting that. The impression I get is that it's consciously "old school". Sorry if that's a spoiler for anyone still rooting for Jar Jar to be a major character in VII ;-) Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 0:04
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    Having seen EP-VII I can say you do definitely not need to see EP-III. Not only "lore-wise", with it being set after the events of the original triology, but in regards of plot there is no needed knowlegde from EP-III. Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 8:07
  • There is no requirement to watch episode III at all, under any circumstances, ever. In fact, there is no episode III. Or episode I, or II. Lalalalala fingers in ears Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 13:09

9 Answers 9


Think about this; Episode III happened years before Episode IV. The Force Awakens is considered Episode VII. It is set 30 years after Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi. As such, the happenings of Episode III aren't central to the plot, nor are the characters.

  • Episode I: The Phantom Menace - Set as Year 0
  • Episode II: Attack of the Clones - 10 years after Phantom Menace (Year 10)
  • Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith - Year 13
  • Episode IV: A New Hope - Year 32
  • Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back - Year 35
  • Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi - Year 36
  • Episode VII: The Force Awakens - Year 66
  • Am I supposed to watch Star Wars 1 at least? Cuz I've never watched even 1 episode. Will I understand?
    – Akhoy
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 12:10
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    @Akhoy You'll miss out on the references to the original trilogy if you've never seen any of the previous Star Wars movies, but there's no reason you wouldn't be able to follow the plot of The Force Awakens. Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 14:48
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    @AnthonyGrist: scenario-wise, you will lose a lot if you didn't see the original trilogy. It is just a big McGuffin chase.
    – Taladris
    Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 2:06

Episode III is likely the most important film of the prequels,

As it depicts the complete downfall of the Galactic Senate through Palpatine's manipulation, leading to his rise as Emperor. We also see how he manipulates Anakin into helping him wipe out nearly all of the Jedi alive at that time, causing them to go into hiding and thus fading into myth.

Setting up for the much later events of The Force Awakens and

how the efforts of the Rebellion seem to have gone completely unrecognized, even with the help of a mythical Jedi.

This single film details how everything that comes after came to be, so yes, I'd say you should see it.

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    Downfall of Galactic Senate and Emperor Palpatine are not at all mentioned in new movie. Efforts of the Rebellion are recognized by re-established Republic. First Order is pretty clear who they want to destroy with new weapon. As for setup with Jedi being close to a myth, we already know that from A New Hope. When speaking with Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo is pretty explicit that he doesn't believe in force at all. We are reminded about it in about any scene where Vader interacts with Imperial higher military personnel. And these are the people that are routinely force chocked by Vader! Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 11:36
  • Well, that's bad news. Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 8:28

No, you don't need to watch Episode III or any other movie from the "Prequel" trilogy.

They are not relevant in regard of story or style.

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    Your answer comes across as more opinion based. Can you provide more concrete reasons as to why the asker wouldn't need to watch Episodes I-III before watching The Force Awakens?
    – MattD
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 18:33
  • But no spoilers please! Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 19:11
  • @MattD and can you point out a single thing in The Force Awakens that people that haven't seen prequels will not be able to understand? Because I, for one, can't name any. And I have watched all the movies multiple times. Yes, there are podracing teams flags in Maz Kanata castle, but it's pretty much impossible to notice during normal watching of the movie and bears completely zero relevance for the plot, so it doesn't count. Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 11:24
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    @MirosławZalewski That's not the point. This answer is very short and isn't backed up by actual fact or points other than, "It's not relevant." Well, why aren't they relevant? Who says they're not relevant? This is more a comment or an answer based on personal opinion in that regard, which is frowned upon here.
    – MattD
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 14:54
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    @MirosławZalewski Right, which means anything here is stated is primarily opinion based and not backed up by any actual facts or sound reasoning, which I've noted time and time again here is against the accepted conventions of this SE site. That goes for both the question and this answer. He doesn't want spoilers, but you can't provide a good, grounded answer without them, especially ten years after it came out. Asking questions where the answers will primarily be based on opinion is also not allowed here. All around this question is bad, bad, bad. But I'm not getting into this again.
    – MattD
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 15:59

Every major plot point in Episode III is already revealed in Episode V and VI. These plot points are the relationships between Anakin, Darth Vader, Luke, and Leia. If you already know these relationships by watching V and VI, then you already know the major plot points in III.

I have not seen VII yet, (tomorrow), and I could see it as conceivable that some of the things that happen in III could be referenced in VII, and you would miss those potential references, if that's something you care about. The things I could see being referenced is how the Jedi order fell apart and exactly how the transformation to Vader occurred.

Edit: Saw the movie. If you have seen IV-VI then that is all you need.

It does appear that the villain in VII is probably taking a path similar to Anakin's with the villain's story starting where Anakin's left off at the end of III.

  • Thanks David. Perhaps after seeing the movie you can update (without spoilers) if you feel that not seeing Episode III matters for the average viewer. I'm, of course, not concerned about subtle little details that the hardcore fans will debate for years. One of these days I'll get this blu-ray player fixed. The BetaMax player outlived it! Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 22:56
  • These plot points are the relationships between Anakin... Are you sure Anakin is mentioned in Episode V and VI by that name? That doesn't fit with my memory (I only saw IV, V, VI), but maybe I missed it.
    – SeraM
    Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 22:32
  • I just saw it and can confirm that you don't get anything out of seeing Episode Three that would be useful before seeing Seven that you don't already get out of the original trilogy. Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 4:57
  • @phaedra No, I'm not sure. He is mentioned as Anakin in the original trilogy, but I could not say for certain which movie(s) it is that uses this name. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 2:17

No. In fact, as long as you understand the gist of the Jedi, the Force, and the main characters (Han, Luke, and Leia), you can follow The Force Awakens just fine.

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    Here's what I remember: Jedi - Good, Force - Powerful, Han - Mansexy, Luke - Force Strong in Him, Leia - Hot Buns Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 21:16
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    @RockPaperLizard: You got it!
    – mipadi
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 22:07
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    It's probably good to know that Luke and Leia and brother/sister and Han and Leia fell in love over the course of the original trilogy, but even that's not strictly necessary to enjoy and understand The Force Awakens. TFA is as much about introducing new people to Star Wars as welcoming back old, so a lot of the vital details of the original trilogy are explained or alluded to anyway. And very little, if any, of the prequel trilogy plays a role.
    – mipadi
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 22:09

Having seen the film on Thursday (The joys of an earlier release date in the UK), no you don't need to have seen Revenge of the Sith.

If you have seen Star Wars 4-6 (ANH, ESB and ROTJ) you will have all the back story you will need to know, and even then there are enough hints of the back story to get you up to speed in the opening titles and throughout the film.

I'm keeping this very vague as not to spoil anything, as it was amazing going into the film knowing almost nothing about what was going to happen.

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    Even of the original 3, RotJ is probably the most crucial to understanding the story arc in TFA. Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 17:44

I know the prequels are often the butt of jokes, and what makes a movie good for one person, doesn't make it good for another, but in general most fans of Star Wars do seem to agree that the prequels are inferior to the original trilogy and really didn't add much to the overall story (as much of what happens in the prequels was already implied in the original trilogy).

If you enjoy stories with long, slow, plodding explanations of backstory, then the prequels might be of interest for you, but otherwise, no, there's nothing in EIII that wasn't already assumed in EIV-VI.

UPDATE: personal anecdote = I couldn't get my 10 year old to watch even the original trilogy. He only made it half way through A New Hope before declaring it boring. Took him to The Force Awakens tonight and he loved it. So just one 10 year olds opinion but, there you go, the movie seems to stand on its own.


While other answers on here give good "key" reasons why one would want to see Revenge of the Sith before The Force Awakens, it is also significant to ANY Skywalker Saga entry (Episodes 4-9) thereafter, because it features the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into the Sith Lord, Darth Vader.

Anakin's Skywalker's transformation into Darth Vader is significant to both the Original Trilogy and the Sequel Trilogy overall, as the entire Skywalker Saga narrative is ultimately about the Sith Lord Darth Sidious/The Emperor being able to destroy the Republic, The Jedi Order, and abuse (and create powerful abusers) out three generations of Skywalkers in order to maintain power over the entire galaxy, while also seeking eternal life...

When one looks at the Original Trilogy, the story is about Darth Vader's children and if, especially his son, will be turned to the dark side, or stay on the light and help his sister free the galaxy! The story ends with the death of Darth Vader, *almost defeating the Emperor, but with Luke returning Vader to light to be Anakin Skywalker once more, upon death, which is in turn significant to Star Wars over all "Force" mythology.

In terms of the Sequel Trilogy, it's two new young leads, one Anakin's grandson (Kylo Ren), the other a mysterious scavenger (Rey), have all of the characteristics of Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader combined between them, making the audience wonder who "Rey" is and if she will fall to the dark side and/or if Kyo Ren can ever be redeemed and return to the light and become Ben Solo once more?

The story is that of a new generation on path of self discovery by facing the past. Anakin then serves as a figurative ghost that looms over the story/fate of the two leads, while it is later revealed that once again The Emperor has behind many things and is seeking these two strong force users (who also happen to be a DYAD = One soul split between two beings) to fully come back to life and continue his reign. It ultimately is story about breaking this cycle!

To not have seen Revenge of the Sith takes something away from the deeper context that Anakin's tragedy is echoing/rhyming through this ongoing saga and/or it also takes away the darkest of determinations of Darth Sidious' will, since he is the catalyst for the entire Skywalker Saga.


I have no idea if you have decided to watch Episode III or not but I will say that out of the prequel films it is by far the best of that trilogy. It tells you exactly how Anakin fell to the dark side and became Darth Vader which was the primary focus George Lucas had in creating the prequels. Disney's Episode VII fan fiction is set 30 years after Return of the Jedi and the death of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. Therefore Anakin's fall which directly ties into the Original Trilogy is unconnected to events following his passing. Vader's impact on the Disney trilogy is minimal with his past only really holding any sway over Kylo Ren who is misguided in his view of who Vader was - something highlighted by knowing Vader's story from the six Star Wars films.

If I'm being completely honest you should watch Episode III instead of any of the Disney films. It has far more importance within the Star Wars story and comes directly from the creator of the franchise so I'd say it's something you should absolutely be watching as a fan of Star Wars. I also consider Episode III to be one of the better films of the Star Wars saga, whilst I wouldn't say it touches the level of Empire or the original 1977 film, I personally tend to regard it as being on the level of Return of the Jedi in terms of enjoyment, so considerably higher than The Phantom Menace and the awful Attack of the Clones.

I would also recommend you check out The Clone Wars TV series created by Dave Filoni and originally having direct input from George Lucas himself, as that covers the Clone Wars conflict in depth and establishes many fantastic characters including Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex. When it comes to current Star Wars under the Disney banner I would recommend Filoni's Rebels and Bad Batch shows. I'd also recommend watching Rogue One which essentially is a movie based on the original film's opening title crawl and ties directly into the events of the original film. Of course when it comes to recommending anything from the current Star Wars projects, you can't go far wrong with Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni's live action series The Mandalorian.

  • Only your first paragraph is actually relevant to the question.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 10:50
  • So, there's nothing about not being able to recommend certain Star Wars things to a Star Wars fan in the rulebook Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 11:10

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