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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 an alternative to method of viewing Star Wars.

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

Canvas Order Summary 〉〉

How’d you discover Star Wars? 〉〉

Star Wars Story Timeline 〉〉


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0) The Three Options For Beginning Star Wars:

The fates of the heroes from Episode I are revealed in Episode IV, but many feel it is appropriate to begin the Star Wars Saga with the original film. The Canvas Order can be seen in three unique ways, depending on what you choose to begin with. You may choose to begin with Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the first chronological film in the story; with Episode IV: A New Hope, the original beginning of the Star Wars franchise; or with the first season of the popular television series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, since it presents the characters of Episodes I and II in their heroics before A New Hope reveals their destinies.

A ) Episode I » Episode IV » Episode II » The Clone Wars Movie » TCW S1 & S2
B ) Episode IV » Ep.V — Part I (1:25:00) » Episode I » Episode II » TCW S1 & S2
C ) TCW S1 » Episode IV » Ep.V — Pt I » Episode I » Episode II » TCW Film & S2

Learn about Episode V — Part I  (The Canvas Cut), available for download 〉〉


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1||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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2||1) EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999)

Years before Luke Skywalker would clash with Darth Vader, turmoil has engulfed the Galactic Republic. But when a pair of Jedi Knights are dispatched to end a trade conflict, they make a surprising discovery: the “chosen one” destined to bring balance.

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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Reading) Children’s Books 〉〉detail3

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Marvel’s Star Wars (2015)

  • Star Wars Paperback Vol. 1: Skywalker Strikes (#1-6)
  • Star Wars Paperback Vol. 2: Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#7-12)
  • Star Wars Volume 1 Omnibus (Hardcover, #1-12)

The Darth Vader comic takes place simultaneously, with spoilers for Episode III. After their twelfth issues, the two titles crossover in Vader Down, so stop at Star Wars #12

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!


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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 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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3.5) THE CLONE WARS (2008)trim

  • Executive Producer: George Lucas
  • Supervising Director: Dave Filoni

This series depicts Anakin and Obi-Wan at war with Count Dooku and the Seperatists.

  1. THE MOVIE: An extended pilot episode for the series.
    • Kids: See it after Episode II.
    • Adults: See it before Season 4.
  2. SEASONS 1 & 2: The first two seasons flesh out the world and characters.
    • See Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  3. SEASON 3: (Episode V spoilers) This can be seen as a precursor to Episode III.
    • See Episode III and Episode VI
  4. SEASONS 4 – 6: These have spoilers too, so wait until after Episode VI.

Reading related to The Clone Wars

The Clone Wars (Junior Film Novelization), by Tracey West


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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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Reading) Comic Reading Order 〉〉detail4

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Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith

The book begins one second after the end of Revenge of the Sith. Darth Vader is in the armored suit that we see throughout the rest of his life, most of his life,’ Soule explained. ‘He is just awakening to that moment and that realization. So he has shouted No! in the way we see in the film, and then it picks up immediately after that point. So we see him adjusting to that. We see him learning to be more machine than man. We see him going through some really, really cool early moments of his early mythology and history.


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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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6.5) Star Wars Anthologies 〉〉0uw3h10

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These 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.


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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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8) EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI (2018)

Director: Rian Johnsonstar-wars-last-jedi-poster


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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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