Star Wars: your guide to the saga in order of release

May the 4th be with you! To celebrate Star Wars Day, and to coincide with the release of The Rise of Skywalker on streaming services, we're taking you across the galaxy on a recap of the world-changing series. This is the Star Wars series in chronological order of release.


Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)

The Hollywood blockbuster gained fresh impetus, and pop culture was forever transformed, when George Lucas introduced us to the adventures of Luke, Han and Leia in a galaxy far, far away.

Find out more about Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.



Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

The Star Wars saga intensified and darkened with this, considered by many to be the finest movie in the series. Replete with shocking revelations, ambitious action sequences, important new characters and fine performances, there's no denying Empire stands up brilliantly to this day.

Read our breakdown of The Empire Strikes Back.



Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

A powerful story of father and son, or Muppets in Space? A satisfying resolution to the original Star Wars trilogy, or a mess of successful and childish ideas? There's no denying Return of the Jedi continues to divide opinion.

Read our breakdown of Return of the Jedi.





Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

The first Star Wars movie in 16 years acted as the opening chapter to the origin story of Darth Vader.

Find out more about The Phantom Menace.



Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)

Anakin Skywalker grows up, falls in love with Padme and struggles with the allure of the dark side – but is this George Lucas movie a noticeable improvement on The Phantom Menace?

Find out more about Attack of the Clones.



Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)

The prequel trilogy concludes, and George Lucas helms his final Star Wars movie, with this critical chapter exploring the collapse of Anakin Skywalker, and the birth of Darth Vader.

Find out more about Revenge of the Sith.




Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)

After a 10 year absence, Star Wars roared back onto the big screen under the direction of JJ Abrams, who delivered an entertaining blast of nostalgia while expanding the series mythology.

Find out more about The Force Awakens.



Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)

Rian Johnson takes over as helmer for the eighth Star Wars movie, which attempts to move the franchise forward while movingly showcasing Carrie Fisher's final on-screen performance as Leia.

Find out more about The Last Jedi.



Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

The circle is complete with the release of JJ Abrams' final Star Wars movie. The Skywalker saga and the current trilogy arc come to a close as Daisy Ridley's Rey battles the resurgent Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).

Find out more about The Rise of Skywalker.




In addition to the Star Wars saga storylines, we've had two anthology spin-off 'stories'. The first of these, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released in 2016, and takes place immediately prior to the events of A New Hope. In the movie, directed by Gareth Edwards and starring Felicity Jones, we see how the rebel fighters captured the plans for the first Death Star.


And in 2018, we got Solo: A Star Wars Story. Again taking place before the events of A New Hope, this shows us the origins of infamous Millennium Falcon smuggler Han Solo, with Alden Ehrenreich portraying the cocky character as a younger man.

What's your favourite Star Wars movie? Let us know @Cineworld.