Star Wars: a complete watching order

In 2014 The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm Ltd. and all its divisions, like LucasArts, from George Lucas for a whopping $4bn. It was self-evident that Disney would start new Star Wars projects after this buy.

There was one problem, though: the Expanded Universe.

Since Star Wars premiered in cinemas in 1977 an amazing amount of extra canon material has been made. Books, comics, board games, videogames, cartoons, TV movies, a certain Holiday Special… The biggest problem this Expanded Universe material presented for new movies was the heavily detailed period after Return Of The Jedi. It made it impossible to make a new story without colliding with something already established. To resolve this Lucasfilm basically pulled a Jedi mind trick and told us ‘This isn’t the canon you are looking for’. This left us as of April 25th 2014 with only the then six episodic movies, and the 3D animated movie and TV show Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

To be perfectly clear, the old Expanded Universe is still around. These stories are still available, but are now labelled as ‘Star Wars Legends’. Also, the new canon still takes inspiration from these Legends. The biggest example of this is the return of fan favourite Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Unlike what came before, the new canon is shepherded by Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Story Group, which is headed by Kiri Hart, Pablo Hidalgo and Leland Chee. Pablo Hidalgo is very responsive on Twitter, so if you have a pressing Star Wars question, have a look down his timeline or send him a tweet! The goal of the Star Wars Story Group is to make the new Star Wars canon a cohesive one. Which is necessary, as at the end the old Expanded Universe had multiple levels of what was to be considered canon. This effort has also resulted in multiple connections through all mediums, like Saw Gerrera originating in animated form in The Clone Wars, while later showing up in the live action form of actor Forrest Whitaker in the movie Rogue One, who then returned to voice the character in animated form again in Star Wars Rebels.

While the Star Wars Story Group does great work with keeping everything connected and correct, the timeline of all the releases is getting quite confusing. With material in all eras being released simultaneously. What we will do here is make a chronological list of the new Star Wars canon material that we know of while writing. Some material will be omitted for a more streamlined list, such as novelizations. Spoilers will be kept at a minimum. Whatever you do, watch the movies first. Preferably starting with The Original Trilogy of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return Of The Jedi. Now, punch it, Chewie!

1. Star Wars: Darth Maul

Medium: Comic (2017)

This second canon Darth Maul comic of five issues shows us the Sith before The Phantom Menace. Not allowed to engage Jedi yet by his master Darth Sidious, Maul is instead hunting crime lords. Until he finds a Jedi Padawan in the hands of one of those crime lords. Written by Cullen Bunn, with art by Luke Ross.

2. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Medium: Movie (1999)

The fourth Star Wars movie started the Prequel Trilogy and was the first since A New Hope that George Lucas fully directed and wrote. After Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and his Padawan learner Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) save Queen Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) from her blockaded planet of Naboo, they strand on the desert planet Tatooine. Here they find the slave boy Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), whom Qui-Gon suspects to be the prophesized Chosen One who’s destined to bring balance to the Force.

3. Obi-Wan & Anakin

Medium: Comic (2016)

Set three years after The Phantom Menace, Anakin Skywalker is now the Padawan of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. On the planet Carnelion IV they get caught up in a war. The story shows Anakin having reservations of becoming of Jedi. Written by Charles Soule, with art by Marco Checchetto.

4. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

Medium: Movie (2002)

The fifth movie, again written and directed by George Lucas, is set ten years after The Phantom Menace. The galaxy is on the brink of civil war. A group of systems, led by former Jedi Master Count Dooku, wants to leave the Galactic Republic. When an assassination attempt is made on now Senator Padmé Amidala, Jedi Padawan Anakin Skywalker is assigned to protect her. Meanwhile, Anakin’s Master Obi-Wan Kenobi is send to investigate the assassination attempt, which leads him into the heart of the separatist movement, and the beginnings of the Clone Wars.

5. Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Medium: Animated movie and TV Show (2008-2014)

The Clone Wars was the last Star Wars project of George Lucas, while his prodigy Dave Filoni was the supervising director. The show was well received by the fans. Chronicling the three year long galactic conflict, we see stories from multiple characters, such as Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, but also clone troopers and droids. Most notable addition to the Star Wars canon is Anakin’s Padawan Ahsoka Tano.

The theatrical movie and the TV show episodes where not released in chronological order. For example, the chronological first episode is episode 16 of Season 2, Cat And Mouse. An official chronological episode list can be found here.

In one episode the clone commandos of Delta Squad are introduced. Having previously starred in the videogame Star Wars: Republic Commando, it’s unclear what that means for the canon status of the game.

6. Star Wars: The Clone Wars Legacy

Medium: Story reels (2014)

When Disney bought Lucasfilm it had a number of negative side effects. One of those was the cancellation of The Clone Wars. This was probably done because Lucasfilm partnered with Time Warner’s Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network divisions on the series, a direct competitor to Disney, and a wish to move away from the Prequel Trilogy era.

At the time of cancellation 65 episodes where still in various stages of development. Thirteen episodes were finished to become Season 6, subtitled The Lost Missions, and released on Netflix. Eventually, in 2014, Lucasfilm released another eight episodes as ‘story reels’. These were fully voiced but visually unfinished episodes spread over two four episode story arcs, The Bad Batch and Crystal Crisis On Utapau. These episodes are canon and can be watched here.

7. Star Wars: Dark Disciple

Medium: Novel (2015)

Author Christie Golden adapted eight unfinished The Clone Wars episodes into the novel Dark Disciple. The story features Jedi Master Quinlan Vos and Asajj Ventress, who are partnered by the Jedi Council on a morally ambiguous mission: the assassination of Count Dooku. The paperback and Kindle editions also include the prelude short story Kindred Spirits.

An audio edition of the book is available narrated by Marc Thompson. The Star Wars audio books make great use of music and sound effects from the movies, making for a very immersive experience.

8. Star Wars: Darth Maul: Son Of Dathomir

Medium: Comic (2014)

The last Star Wars comic by Dark Horse Comics before Marvel, being a Disney division, took over the license. Writer Jeremy Barlow and artist Juan Frigeri adapt four unfinished episodes of The Clone Wars featuring Darth Maul. Maul is imprisoned by Darth Sidious, but is broken free by the Madalorian group Death Watch. Now that Maul is freed he’s on a warpath to get his revenge on Darth Sidious and Count Dooku.

9. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith

Medium: Movie (2005)

The sixth Star Wars movie, the last to be written and directed by George Lucas. The Clone Wars have raged throughout the Galaxy for three years, when Supreme Chancellor Palpatine is captured by the Separatists during a bold attack on the Republic’s capital world of Coruscant. After being saved by Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, Palpatine starts the final stage of his master plan.

10. Star Wars: Darth Vader: Dark Lord Of The Sith

Medium: Comic (starts 7 June 2017)

This second Darth Vader ongoing comic series is written by Charles Soule, with art from Giuseppe Camuncolli. The story starts straight after the conclusion of Revenge Of The Sith. We see Darth Vader coming to terms with his life in the suit, constructing a new lightsaber, hunting surviving Jedi, and more.

11. Star Wars: Adventures In Wild Space

Medium: Junior novel series (2016-2017)

This junior novel series follows the characters Milo and Lina Graf. Two kids whose parents are taken by the Empire. To save them the siblings will go on a perilous journey through the unmapped areas of the Galaxy known as Wild Space.

There are seven novels: The Escape, The Snare, The Nest, The Steal, The Dark, The Cold, and The Rescue. The first, second, fourth and sixth are written by Cavan Scott, while the third, fifth and seventh are written by Tom Huddleston.

12. Star Wars: Ahsoka

Medium: Novel (2016)

Ahsoka Tano returns in this novel by E. K. Johnston. The story picks up some threads left by the cancellation of The Clone Wars, such as how Ahsoka survived Order 66, and how the show would have connected to Revenge Of The Sith. Under the name ‘Ashla’, another word for ‘the Force’, Ahsoka takes to a backwater planet where she is save, until the Empire shows up.

Next to The Clone Wars the novel also has ties to its follow-up Star Wars Rebels. The audiobook edition of the novel is narrated by Ahsoka’s voice actor Ashley Eckstein.

13. Star Wars: Lords Of The Sith

Medium: Novel (2015)

In Paul S. Kemp’s story Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader go on a mission to secure the Twi’lek home planet Ryloth for the Empire. The planet is a precious resource for slave labor and the narcotic ‘spice’, but they are receiving resistance from the Free Ryloth movement. Led by idealistic freedom fighter Cham Syndulla, the movement gives the Sith Lords a greater challenge than they expected.

The paperback and Kindle versions of the book also include the short story Orientation. An audiobook edition of the novel is also available.

14. Untitled Han Solo movie

Medium: Movie (premieres May 25, 2018)

Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, with a screenplay by Lawrence and Jon Kasdan. This standalone movie is an origin story about how Han Solo became the smuggler we all came to love in A New Hope. The young Han Solo will be played by Alden Ehrenreich, with supporting roles of, among others, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, and Thandie Newton. A title reveal is expected during the Star Wars presentation at this Summer’s D23 convention.

15. Star Wars: Tarkin

Medium: Novel (2015)

James Luceno, author of Legends novel Darth Plagueis, gives us the origin of Wilhuff Tarkin. It tells us about his upbringing and rise through the ranks. But also how he earned the respect of Darth Vader and the management over the Death Star.

An audio edition is available. The novel is also part of The Rise Of The Empire compilation, which also includes A New Dawn, and the three new short stories: Bottleneck (featuring Tarkin), Mercy Mission, and The Levers Of Power.

16. Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel

Medium: Novel (2016)

James Luceno’s novel is required reading for Star Wars fans before they watch Rogue One, and really adds to the movie’s story. The story stars Kyber crystal energy scientist Galen Erso, his wife Lyra Erso, and Imperial Orson Krennic, as they all get entangled with the development of the Death Star. Saw Gerrera’s connection to the Erso’s is also explored. The tale presents Galen Erso as a sort of Robert Oppenheimer of the Star Wars universe. The novel spans a long period of time, starting during the Clone Wars up to the prologue of Rogue One.

The magazine Star Wars Insider #170 published a tie-in short story called The Voice Of The Empire. An audio edition is available.

17. Star Wars: A New Dawn

Medium: Novel (2014)

John Jackson Miller’s A New Dawn was the first new canon novel to be published, and is a prelude to Star Wars Rebels, of which it is set six years before. The story introduces us to Order 66 survivor Caleb Dume, who now wanders through the Galaxy under the alias of Kanan Jarrus. Now on the planet Gorse, where the Empire is mining it’s moon Cynda, he meets Twi’lek Hera Syndulla. She’s following efficiency expert Count Denetrius Vidian, who is send by the Empire to ramp up the mining.

Next to two Rebels characters, the novel also introduces Imperial Captain Rae Sloane, who returns in the Kanan comic and the Aftermath novels.

An audio edition is available. The novel is also part of The Rise Of The Empire compilation, which also includes Tarkin, and three new short stories: Bottleneck (featuring Rae Sloane), Mercy Mission (featuring Hera Syndulla), and The Levers Of Power (featuring Rae Sloane during Return Of The Jedi).

18. Star Wars Rebels: Servants Of The Empire: Edge Of The Galaxy

Medium: Junior novel (2014)

The first in the Star Wars Rebels junior novel series Servants Of The Empire by Jason Fry. The series focusses on the character of Zare Leonis. Set on the planet Lothal, Zare discovers the Empire’s destructive plans for the planet, making him to apply for the Imperial Academy to be a Rebel from the inside, but also to find out how his sister disappeared.

19. Star Wars Rebels: Ezra’s Gamble

Medium: Junior novel (2014)

Ryder Windham’s Ezra’s Gamble happens shortly before Star Wars Rebels. It features Ezra Bridger and Trandoshan bounty hunter Bossk, who get into an unlikely partnership.

20. Star Wars Rebels Shorts and Season 1

Medium: Animated TV show (2014-2015)

Created by Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, and Carrie Beck, Star Wars Rebels starts five years before Rogue One and A New Hope, and follows the crew of the starship ‘Ghost’. Ezra Bridger (voiced by Taylor Gray) is a teenager living on the Imperial occupied world of Lothal. During one of his shenanigans with the Imperials, Ezra disrupts the rebellious effort of the ‘Ghost’ crew, sparking their interest. The crew of the ‘Ghost’ are a Rebel cell comprised of Twi’lek Captain Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall), former Jedi Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.), teenage Mandalorian Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar), Lasat Zeb Orrelios (Steve Blum), and C1-10P droid Chopper.

Before the series premiered on Disney XD, four shorts where aired and released on the internet, introducing the characters, titled The Machine In The Ghost, Art Attack, Entanglement, and Property Of Ezra Bridger. The premiere episode was reaired on Disney XD’s sister network ABC with an added prologue featuring Darth Vader. The first season consisted of 14 episodes including the double length premiere episode.

Magazine Star Wars Insider #158 published a short story called Rebel Bluff, starring Lando Calrissian after his Season 1 appearance.

The comics in Star Wars Rebels Magazine take place during the first and second season of the show. In Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium the comics where also released in albums, but there is no word yet on a UK release.

21. Star Wars Rebels: Servants Of The Empire: Rebel In The Ranks, Imperial Justice, and The Secret Academy

Medium: Junior novels (2015)

The final three junior novels in Jason Fry’s series. Rebel In The Ranks is mostly an adaptation of the Star Wars Rebels Season 1 episode Breaking Ranks. In it Ezra infiltrates the Lothal Imperial Academy and meets Zare Leonis. Imperial Justice is set before and concurrently with the Rebels Season 1 episode Vision Of Hope. Zare is suspected of being a Rebel sympathizer. The Secret Academy takes place before, concurrently and after the final Rebels season 1 episodes Call To Action, Rebel Resolve, and Fire Across The Galaxy. The final junior novel resolves the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Zare’s sister Dhara Leonis.

22. Star Wars: Kanan

Medium: Comic (2015-2016)

Written by Greg Weisman, with art by Pepe Larraz. The comic, featuring the Rebels character Kanan Jarrus, was originally only to have six issues. However, the success of the first issues made Marvel to extended the run to twelve issues before it was cancelled. Kanan is set during or soon after Star Wars Rebels Season 1, in accordance to Sabine’s hairstyle. The vast majority of the story is however set during the teenage years of Kanan via flashbacks. The first arc, The Last Padawan, shows Kanan surviving Order 66. The second arc, First Blood, sees Kanan becoming the Padawan of Jedi Master Depa Billaba and their deployment in the Clone Wars.

23. Star Wars Rebels Season 2

Medium: Animated TV show (2015-2016)

After the events of Season 1 the crew of the ‘Ghost’ are getting more involved with the Rebellion as a whole, and are confronted by non-other than Darth Vader himself (voiced by James Earl Jones). During the season we see a number of returning characters from both The Clone Wars as well as The Original Trilogy. Season 2 has 21 episodes, including a double length premiere episode.

24. Star Wars: Thrawn

Medium: Novel (2017)

Timothy Zahn, author of the now Legends Thrawn Trilogy, returns and brings his fan favourite character Grand Admiral Thrawn back with him! The story chronicles Thrawn’s rise through the ranks of the Imperial Navy, and, amongst other things, tells us why Emperor Palpatine holds him in high regard. Which is something special, as the Empire is not fond of non-humans. The book tells Thrawn’s story up to the point of his first canon introduction in Star Wars Rebels Season 3.

An audio edition is available, with regular narrator Marc Thompson doing a great job as Thrawn.

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