The fire hose of Star Wars content has slowed to a trickle now that the Skywalker Saga is complete, the final season of The Clone Wars animated series has aired, Star Wars Celebration for 2020 has been canceled, and we're still months away from the second season of The Mandalorian and who knows how many years from the next Star Wars film.
Since there's no new Star Wars content on the immediate horizon, and every Star Wars movie is now streaming on Disney+, how about a new way to revisit that galaxy far, far away?
Now the order in which you choose to view the Star Wars film library to introduce yourself, your friends, or your children to Star Wars is an age-old debate and a personal one, and there are a million and one articles and opinions out there about which one is right. Here at The Direct, however, we decided to provide some new original rewatch orders for your binge-watching pleasure. So, in no particular order, here are 6 new orders that you can watch Star Wars.
Ultimate Chronological Order
Content in order: The Phantom Menace; Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: The Clone Wars (film); Star Wars: The Clone Wars (series) up thru Season 7, Episode 9; Revenge of the Sith; The Clone Wars (series) from Season 7, Episode 10 to end of series; Solo: A Star Wars Story; Star Wars Rebels; Rogue One; A New Hope; The Empire Strikes Back; Return of the Jedi; The Mandalorian; The Force Awakens; The Last Jedi; The Rise of Skywalker
Listing the Star Wars films in their timeline order is something most fans can do without thinking - some die-hards even claim it's the only way to properly rewatch Star Wars.
Well, this cut is a little different as it comprises more than just the films. Some of the best Star Wars content in recent years has come from the various Star Wars television series like Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and The Mandalorian. Each of these shows has managed to deliver fresh, powerful stories and new characters while still enhancing and contributing to the films.
Basically, unless you're an OG trilogy purist, it's difficult to fully understand Star Wars until you've seen the various Star Wars television series.
It's highly suggested that fans pause the final season of The Clone Wars to watch Revenge of the Sith before returning to finish the series. This is due to the final arc of The Clone Wars finals season overlapping with the events of Revenge of Sith, and this chronological order of viewing best serves that compelling story and the overall timeline of events.
Anakin Skywalker Cut
Content in order: Rogue One; A New Hope; The Empire Strikes Back; Return of the Jedi up to Luke's conversation with Yoda and Obi-Wan on Dagobah; The Phantom Menace; Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: The Clone Wars (film); Star Wars: The Clone Wars (series) episodes "Storm Over Ryloth," "The Wrong Jedi," "Overlords," "Altar of Mortis," "Ghosts of Mortis," and "Old Friends Not Forgotten,"; Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars Rebels (series) episodes "Fire Across the Galaxy," "Siege of Lothal," "Shroud of Darkness," and "Twilight of the Apprentice"; finish Return of the Jedi
Anakin Skywalker, "The Chosen One," is the catalyst for the majority of events in the Star Wars films and television series, and the purpose of this cut is to organize Star Wars content in such a way that best tells his story.
This rewatch sequence starts with Rogue One in order for viewers to see Anakin as Darth Vader at his peak and most terrifying. The film allows fans to understand his role in the Empire and better exemplify why he's in pursuit of the Rebels in A New Hope.
Too best achieve the intended impact of this rewatch cut, it's recommended that fans pause Return of the Jedi right after Luke gets answers about his father from Yoda and Obi-Wan. One can then immediately start The Phantom Menace and move forward with the prequels, then the Star Wars: The Clone Wars film and series, and finally Star Wars Rebels. This way, viewers get to see Anakin being seduced by the dark side and becoming Darth Vader after hearing about it from Obi-Wan and Yoda.
When finally resuming Return of the Jedi, the throne room scene between Luke, Vader, and Palpatine becomes so much more epic and personal, and Anakin's redemption will be all the more powerful.
Content in order: Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: The Clones Wars episodes "The Mandalore Plot," "Voyage of Temptation," "The Duchess of Mandalore", "A Friend in Need," "Eminence," "Shades of Reason," "The Lawless," "Old Friends Not Forgotten," "Phantom Apprentice," and "Shattered"; Star Wars Rebels (series) episodes "The Protector of Concord Dawn," "Imperial Supercommandos," "Trials of the Dark Saber," "The Legacy of Mandalore," "Heroes of Mandalore Part I," "Heroes of Mandalore Part II"; The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Mandalorian series.
Due to the awesomeness that is Boba Fett, Star Wars fans have been fascinated by Mandalorians. In recent years, fans have learned A LOT about Mandalorian history, culture, and the planet of Mandalore through The Clone Wars film and series, Star Wars Rebels, and the now-hit Disney+ series The Mandalorian.
This cut is chronological in structure and includes the films and series episodes that showcase Mandalore or important Mandalorians. It's unique and quite fascinating to view the events of Star Wars from the vantage point of Mandalore and its people.
Alternate Take on the Machete Order
Content in Order: Rogue One; A New Hope; The Empire Strikes Back; The Phantom Menace; Attack of the Clones; Revenge of the Sith; Return of the Jedi; The Force Awakens; The Last Jedi; The Rise of Skywalker
For several years, some fans have argued that the best way to watch Star Wars is the "Machete Order." For those who aren't familiar, this order starts with A New Hope and then moves to The Empire Strikes Back before flashing back to Attack of the Clones followed by Revenge of the Sith. (Yes, The Phantom Menace is skipped intentionally.) Then viewers pick back up with Return of the Jedi followed by the sequel trilogy in the order of its release.
The complaints about The Phantom Menace are understandable. Jar Jar Binks and mid-chlorians are a travesty to some. However, ever since Dave Filoni broke down the Duel of the Fates lightsaber duel in the Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian series on Disney+, explaining how the duel was for Anakin's fate, the film can be viewed in a whole new light. In fact, some will now argue that it is absolutely essential to the overall Star Wars story.
In the same spirit as the Anakin Skywalker Cut, Rogue One must be included in this rewatch list as well. It introduces audiences to the Empire and the Rebels, the capabilities of the Death Star, and Darth Vader at his best. This raises the stakes in A New Hope and makes the payoff of blowing up the Death Star even more satisfying and climatic.
Luke Skywalker Cut
Content in order: Rogue One; A New Hope; The Empire Strikes Back; Return of the Jedi; The Force Awakens; The Last Jedi; The Rise of Skywalker
With the exception of Rogue One, Luke's cut is the most simple and straight-forward on the list due to its linear structure and the way it follows the order in which the films were released. This cut disagrees with the notion that the prequels should be included in order to understand Luke's temptation to the dark side.
This rewatch order allows viewers to see Luke's personal story as Luke experienced it. The fact that he only had limited information about his father is important to the decisions he makes as a character. It also makes his willingness to confront Anakin as Vader in Return of the Jedi even more powerful.
Content in order: Star Wars: The Clone Wars (film); Star Wars: The Clone Wars (series) episodes "Rising Malevolence," "Storm Over Ryloth," "Landing at Point Rain," "Weapons Factory," "Legacy of Terror," "Brain Invaders", "Lightsaber Lost," "Altar of Mortis," "Padawan Lost," "Wookie Hunt," "A War on Two Fronts," "Front Runners," "The Soft War," "Tipping Points," "Sabotage," "The Jedi Who Knew Too Much," "To Catch a Jedi," "The Wrong Jedi", "Old Friends Not Forgotten," "Phantom Apprentice," "Shattered," and "Victory and Death"; Star Wars Rebels episodes "Fire Across the Galaxy," "The Siege of Lothal," "The Lost Commanders," "The Future of The Force," "Shroud of Darkness," "Twilight of the Apprentice: Part 1," "Twilight of the Apprentice: Part 2," "A World Between Worlds," and "Family Reunion - and Farewell"
Surprisingly, the Ahsoka Cut was one of the most challenging to put together! For a character who hasn't appeared in a Star Wars film (yet), she's a major character in both Star Wars animated series and will continue that streak with a role in the upcoming second season of The Mandalorian and potentially her own series on Disney+.
Ahsoka has one of the best character arcs in Star Wars, and this cut allows viewers to focus solely on that. It's also interesting to view the fall of the Republic and the Jedi and the rise of the Empire and Rebellion from her unique perspective.
This cut doesn't include every episode from The Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels that features Ahsoka, but it does incorporate her best episodes or those integral to her growth and impact as a character.