4458270-anakinandvader28129George Lucas’s Star Wars series began its story in 1977, with a film called simply “Star Wars”, re-titled “Episode IV: A New Hope” in its 1997 re-release (in preparation for the 1999 prequel, “Episode I: The Phantom Menace”). With the mixed-up order of these releases, the internet has long debated the best order for viewing these films. The Canvas Order is one alternative method of viewing the timeless story of Star Wars.

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*Except for the full Star Wars Episodes, everything listed below is optional.

Star Wars Story Timeline 〉〉

How’d you discover Star Wars? 〉〉


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1) EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999)

The Jedi knights are the gaurdians of peace and democracy throughout the galaxy. When a pair of Jedi are sent on what seems to be a routine diplomatic mission, things quickly escalate into potential disaster. On their quest to keep the peace, they encounter allies in the unlikeliest of places, and eventually realize that their journey had been of far greater significance than they could have imagined.

This prequel to the Original Trilogy introduces story themes present throughout the series. The film takes inspiration from 1920s science fiction and 1950s samurai films.

Reading after The Phantom Menace

Episode I – The Phantom Menace (Hardcover 2016), Marvel Comics


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2) STAR WARS: EPISODE IV – A NEW HOPE (1977)

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Director: George Lucas

When Princess Leia is taken prisoner, Luke, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 ride to the rescue and take on Darth Vader in his awesome Death Star.

This first Star Wars film follows the hero’s journey, taking influence from space opera, westerns, samurai films, medieval romance, film noir, and WWII action-adventure.

Reading after A New Hope      %

Episode IV – A New Hope (Hardcover 2016), Marvel Comics

The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy, by Alexandra Bracken – This novel follows Leia, Han, and Luke respectively, each for a third of the film.

Heir to the Jedi, by Kevin Hearne – In this story written from Luke’s first-person perspective, set shortly after the film, the young pilot embarks on a secret mission.

 

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Reading) Comics, Children’s Books 〉〉

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Click the above link for a list of children’s books that don’t contain major movie spoilers. Comic readers should instead be introduced to the first six issues of Marvel’s 2015 flagship comic, Star Wars.

Marvel’s Star Wars (2015)

  • Read Trade Paperback Vol. 1: Skywalker Strikes (#1-6)
  • Caution: Star Wars (2015) #7-12 Contain Minor Spoilers
  • WARNING: Don’t read past #12 until after seeing Ep. VI

The greatest saga of all returns to Marvel! Join Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 as they continue the fight for freedom against Darth Vader!

This serves as a great introduction to Star Wars comic books. These six issues provide a compelling, spoiler-free perspective on events that are further explored in Marvel’s 2015 Darth Vader series. Reading these issues before seeing the rest of the films will pay off when reading Darth Vader (2015) after Episode VI.


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3) EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES (2002)

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Director: George Lucas

The Republic is under threat, with thousands of solar systems joining the separatist movement led by the mysterious Count Dooku. The few remaining Jedi Knights struggle to maintain peace and order in the galaxy. As the Galactic Senate considers raising a clone army, Senator Amidala, the former Queen of Naboo, comes under attack.

Seeing this movie directly beforehand would make Episode IV confusing, and for a multitude of different reasons, Episode II is more dramatic after Episode IV. %

Reading after Attack of the Clones

Episode II – Attack of the Clones (Hardcover 2016), Marvel Comics


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4) EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)

  • s-l1000Director: Irvin Kershner
  • Recommended Viewing Age: 7+  

Evading the dreaded Imperial Starfleet, a group of freedom fighters led by Luke Skywalker has established a new secret base on the remote world of Hoth. The evil lord Darth Vader is obsessed with finding young Skywalker.

It’s all heading to one of the greatest confrontations of all time.

Reading after The Empire Strikes Back   %

Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (Hardcover 2016), Marvel Comics

The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi? by Adam Gidwitz – Author Adam Gidwitz delivers a captivating retelling of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back like you’ve never experienced before, infusing the iconic, classic tale of good versus evil with a unique perspective and narrative style that will speak directly to today’s young readers while enhancing the Star Wars experience for core fans of the saga.


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5) EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH (2005)

  • star_wars_episode_three_poster2Director: George Lucas
  • Rated PG-13

This is the story of the Negotiator, the Chosen One, and a powerful new Dark Lord.  %

This film is based on action-adventure serials and Aristotelian tragedy. Viewing between Episodes V and VI allows for heightened tension and dramatic revelations.

Reading after Revenge of the Sith

Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (Hardcover 2016), Marvel Comics

Lords of the Sith, by Paul S. Kemp – On Ryloth, a planet crucial to the growing Empire, an aggressive resistance movement has arisen, led by Cham Syndulla, an idealistic freedom fighter, and Isval, a vengeful former slave. Accompanied by his merciless disciple, Darth Vader, the Emperor himself sets out on a rare personal mission to ensure his will is done.


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6) EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983)

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Director: Richard Marquand

Will the Empire destroy the Rebels? Will Vader seize the throne? Will Luke fall to evil?

Ep.III gives this movie more weight, revealing the full twisted evil of Vader and his master, as well as the deep failures of the Republic heroes.

Reading after Return of the Jedi   %

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (Hardcover 2016), Marvel Comics

Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side! by Tom Angleberger – Author Tom Angleberger delivers a captivating retelling of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi like you’ve never experienced before, infusing the iconic, classic tale of good versus evil with a unique perspective and narrative style that will speak directly to today’s young readers while enhancing the Star Wars experience for core fans of the saga.


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7) EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS (2015)

star_wars_7_vii_drew_struzan_official_01Director: J. J. Abrams

On the remote planet of Jakku… there is a stirring in The Force.

This first Star Wars film from Disney is a modern, yet retro, take on the movie franchise.

Reading after The Force Awakens   %

Full Movie Adaptations

  • The Force Awakens (Junior Novel), by Michael Kogge
  • The Force Awakens (Adult Novel), by Alan Dean Foster
  • The Force Awakens (Hardcover 2016), Marvel Comics

Bloodline, by Claudia Gray – Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from within and without.


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Star Wars Anthologies 〉〉

star_wars_by_denstarsk8-d7a4obzThese are stand-alone stories, separate from the Star Wars Episode Saga, which tie the Star Wars canon together while introducing new elements to broaden the scale of storytelling in the Star Wars galaxy. These stories can depict a variety of different styles and genres within Star Wars. The Star Wars Anthologies page lists Anthology movies, television shows, comic books, and novels. It also includes information regarding some of the non-canon “Star Wars Legends” stories, from before Disney’s 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm, which do not align with aspects of the movies and other “canon” stories.

On April 25, 2014, Lucasfilm Ltd. announced that in preparation for the upcoming sequel trilogy, the Expanded Universe would be retconned; past tales of the Expanded Universe will be released under the Star Wars Legends banner, and a new continuity has been established that consists only of the original six films, The Clone Wars television series and film, and all future material onward. Star Wars Legends >>


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8) EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI (2018)

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Director: Rian Johnson


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OFFICIAL SOUNDTRACKS

Track names may contain SPOILERS.

  • Star Wars (A New Hope Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  • Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk (Disco Album)
  • The Empire Strikes Back (Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  • Return of the Jedi (Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  • Ewoks: Original Soundtrack (Ewok Adventure Telemovies)
  • Shadows of the Empire (Promotional Soundtrack)
  • Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  • Episode II: Attack of the Clones (Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  • Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Soundtrack + Bonus DVD)
  • The Clone Wars (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  • The Clone Wars (Seasons One Through Six Soundtrack)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  • Star Wars: Headspace (Electronica Album)
  • Star Wars Rebels (Season One Soundtrack)
  • Star Wars Rebels (Season Two Soundtrack)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Share your comments, questions, suggestions, and experiences below.

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