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It’s an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan. The first two episodes of The Mandalorian have finally arrived in the UK, new episodes of The Clone Wars are hitting Disney+ each week, The Rise of Skywalker arrives on digital on the 13th April, and Lucasfilm just announced an entirely new era of Star WarsThe High Republic—that will explore the universe hundreds of years before the Skywalker saga takes place.

There have never been more ways to get into Star Wars—an ever-expanding universe of mythic fantasy and rich spectacle. And with the coronavirus outbreak forcing many of us into lockdown there's never been a better excuse to catch up on this pop-cultural phenomenon. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, check out the timeline of “canon” media on Wookieepedia for a fairly comprehensive overview of everything Star Wars has to offer: comic books, novels, video games. And if you’re aiming for something a bit more manageable, start with a chronological viewing of the movies and television shows. You can stream the vast majority of them on Disney+ with a single low-cost subscription.

It all starts with the Clone Wars era

Lancashire Telegraph: Photo: LucasfilmPhoto: Lucasfilm

There’s no right or wrong place to start your Star Wars journey, but once you’re in it for the long haul, you might as well go back to where it all began. The first episode of the Skywalker Saga is 1999’s The Phantom Menace, written and directed by George Lucas. It kicks off a trilogy of prequel films—centred around the boy who would become the monstrous Sith Lord Darth Vader—that includes Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

This period of Star Wars storytelling also encompasses the 2008 animated feature Star Wars: The Clone Wars as well as the TV series of the same name, which is getting a final, 12-episode season on Disney+ as we speak. You’ll want to watch The Clone Wars (beginning with the ’08 film) before Revenge of the Sith, ideally. And if you want to stay as faithful to the in-universe timeline as possible, consult StarWars.com’s chronological viewing order of the series.

Here are the entries in the Clone Wars era:

  • The Phantom Menace
  • Attack of the Clones
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (film)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (series)
  • Revenge of the Sith

Then we enter the Dark Times

Lancashire Telegraph: Photo: LucasfilmPhoto: Lucasfilm

The time period Ben Kenobi once referred to as “the dark times” is a fruitful one, and it’s been featured heavily in tie-in books, comics, and games like last year’s Jedi: Fallen Order. After Revenge of the Sith, the Jedi have been driven to the brink of extinction and the Empire reigns supreme. For now, this era of Star Wars is depicted on-screen in Solo: A Star Wars Story and the four-season animated series Star Wars Rebels.

The Dark Times includes:

  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • Star Wars Rebels

Next comes the Galactic Civil War era

Lancashire Telegraph: Photo: LucasfilmPhoto: Lucasfilm

The 2016 prequel Rogue One: A Star Wars Story tells the story of a brave crew of rebels who steal the plans to the Empire’s dreaded battle station, lighting a spark of hope across the galaxy. That film leads directly into the events of 1977’s mega-hit blockbuster Star Wars: A New Hope. The classic Star Wars trilogy continues in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983). These are the iconic stories of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, and Darth Vader. A New Hope’s as good a place to start as any, and Empire is considered by many to be the pinnacle of the entire franchise.

The Galactic Civil War era encompasses:

  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Star Wars: A New Hope
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Return of the Jedi

Finally, we land in the New Republic era

Lancashire Telegraph: Photo: LucasfilmPhoto: Lucasfilm

At this point in the canon timeline, things get somewhat muddier; there’s a lot of uncharted territory. It’s only recently, in stories like season one of The Mandalorian, that we’ve seen what the galaxy looks like in the first several years after Return of the Jedi (in the realm of movies and TV, anyway).

Fast-forward a couple more decades, and the state of the Star Wars universe is back to its usual war-torn mess. You can see the rise of the sinister First Order and the earliest on-screen exploits of Leia Organa’s Resistance in the gorgeous animated series Star Wars Resistance; its first season is on Disney+ now, and the second and final season aired Tuesday, February 25. Though it begins prior to the events of The Force Awakens, it also crosses over into the aftermath of The Last Jedi.

The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker explore the complicated legacy of the Skywalker family, including Leia, Han, and the troubled son they lost to the undying whispers of the Force’s dark side. This recently concluded sequel trilogy also features a charming cast of all-new heroes, including a scavenger named Rey, a former stormtrooper named Finn, a mechanic named Rose, and the daring starpilot Poe Dameron.

The Rise of Skywalker is out 13th April on digital, 20th April on Blu-ray, and will hit Disney+ sometime in 2020.

The New Republic era includes:

  • The Mandalorian
  • Star Wars Resistance
  • The Force Awakens
  • The Last Jedi
  • The Rise of Skywalker

What is the Skywalker Saga?

Lancashire Telegraph: Photo: LucasfilmPhoto: Lucasfilm

If you’re newer to the Star Wars fanbase, you’re likely wondering what the “Skywalker Saga” is and how it’s different from other entries in the Star Wars universe. The franchise started in 1977 with the story of Luke Skywalker, and from there, the movies that follow his path (and those of his ancestors) are considered part of the Skywalker Saga. This includes the nine major motion pictures, from The Phantom Menace to The Rise of Skywalker, but it does not include the ancillary films Rogue One or Solo. It also does not include the television series The Clone Wars, Rebels, or The Mandalorian, though all of the movies and series produced thus far are heavily impacted by the Skywalker family and their actions.

How to stream Star Wars online

Lancashire Telegraph: Photo: LucasfilmPhoto: Lucasfilm

You’re able to stream nearly all the Star Wars movies and television shows on Disney+ wherever you’re connected to the internet. Disney’s streaming service is now available in the UK.

Disney+ is supported on desktop browsers, a wide range of mobile devices, smart TVs, and video-game consoles. The subscription-based platform will serve as the new home for Walt Disney Studios films as well as original, exclusive Disney+ content like Lucasfilm’s new Star Wars series—including The Mandalorian and the final season of The Clone Wars—and a full slate of live-action Marvel shows.

Get Disney+ starting at £5.99 per month or £59.99 per year