A recap of the Star Wars saga

Everything you need to know ahead of the release of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.

Image: Disney/Lucasfilm

Star Wars fans around the globe will unite in anticipation over the release of The Rise of Skywalker this weekend. Although, with the abundance of films having graced our cinema screens over the last two decades, it’s hard to remember where we are with them. There have been ten films in total all made over a period of 42 years, so carry on reading for a chronological low-down.

Episode I: The Phantom Menace 


Star Wars begins with The Phantom Menace, where the Trade Federation has installed a blockade around Naboo. Our Jedi heroes - Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi - are sent to negotiate with the Trade Federation, but are attacked. They escape the planet with Queen Amidala to Tatooine, damaging their spaceship in the process. Here they meet Anakin Skywalker, who helps them win the money they need to repair their spaceship in a podrace. Qui-Gon believes Anakin could be the chosen one to bring balance to the force, but before he can train him in the ways of the Jedi, he is killed by Darth Maul, and the task falls to Obi-Wan. 

Episode II: Attack of the Clones


Ten years after the events of The Phantom Menace, we are given Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Anakin is now Obi-Wan’s over-confident Padawan, and the two are sent to guard Padme Amidala after an attempt on her life. While Obi-Wan investigates the source of the would-be killer, Anakin remains by Padme’s side and the two fall in love. Obi-Wan gets himself captured during his task, which sends Anakin and Padme on a rescue mission, but are taken captive by themselves in the process. Mace Windu and Yoda arrive with the clone army and save them, with the episode culminating in our two favourite Jedi duelling the Sith Lord Count Dooku. They are defeated and Anakin loses his arm in the process. Cue Episode III

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith 


Three years later, Revenge of the Sith begins with Anakin and Obi-Wan on a rescue mission to save Supreme Chancellor Palpatine from the clutches of Count Dooku. Now much stronger, Anakin single-handedly defeats Count Dooku after Obi-Wan is injured, and is pressured into beheading him despite it being against the Jedi way. Obi-Wan is sent on a mission to kill General Grievous, and in the meanwhile, the Chancellor makes his move to sway Anakin over to the dark side promising him ultimate power, and succeeds. Palpatine executes Order 66 to kill all Jedi, while Obi-Wan attempts to talk Anakin to his senses. He fails, and defeats Anakin after a long lightsaber duel, who is then dragged off to be treated for his wounds. Padme loses the will to live hearing Anakin’s change in allegiance, but gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia, before she dies. 

Solo: A Star Wars Story


Ten years on from the events in the Revenge of the Sith, we’re introduced to a young Han Solo who is a footsoldier for the Empire who runs into a bunch of crooks, including a man named Beckett, looking for a way out. Han is arrested and is chucked in jail with a Wookie named Chewbacca. After a mission to steal some fuel from the mines of Kessel with his new crew, Solo kills Beckett after learning of his betrayal, and wins the Millenium Falcon from Lando. Solo and Chewbacca head off into the stars in search of fame and fortune.  

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story


Several years after our adventure with Han Solo and his crew of miscreants, we meet a scientist named Galen Erso, who has purposely built a flaw into the Empire’s Death Star. Erso’s daughter, Jyn, is recruited by the Rebellion to help learn more about the Death Star and how it can be stopped. The plans are found on Scarif, but in the process of beaming them up to the Rebellion ship high above them, Jyn and her friends are killed as the Death Star vaporises the whole planet. The movie ends with Princess Leia obtaining the Death Star plans. 

Episode IV: A New Hope


Released in 1977, A New Hope directly follows on from the events in Rogue One, and begins with Princess Leia putting the Death Star plans in the clutches of R2-D2, and sending the robot off with fellow droid C-3PO to Tatooine. While attempting to pass the plans onto Obi-Wan, they are taken by a droid-seller, but are purchased by none other than Luke Skywalker’s adoptive father. Luke joins Obi-Wan on his mission to bring the plans to Alderaan, and on the way, they pick up Han Solo and Chewbacca. Alderaan is blown up by the Death Star, halting their plans. Given little choice, they infiltrate the Death Star, where Obi-Wan has a final duel with his old padawan, now Darth Vader. He is killed but buys the rest of the team enough time to escape and make it back to the Rebel base, where they regroup with enough force for Luke to blow up the Death Star. 

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back


While their Rebel base on Hoth is under attack by Empire troops, Luke Skywalker escapes to Dagobah to see Yoda. Luke undergoes rigorous Jedi training while Han and Leia go to Cloud City to seek help from Lando. The Empire is waiting for them there though, and are captured. Luke tries to save them but has his arm chopped off by Darth Vader, where he proceeds to inform Luke he is in fact his father. Han is frozen in carbonite and taken to Jabba the Hut for the bounty that was on his head. If the Rebels made it one-nil in A New Hope, the bad guys have certainly equalised in this episode. 

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi


Luke and Leia hatch a plan to save Han Solo which is successful. Luke returns to Yoda where he witnesses his death and discovers Leia is his sister. Meanwhile, the Rebels discover that a new Death Star is being made by the Empire. They head to Endor to switch off its shield generator and team up with the Ewoks in a fight against Imperial troops. During a confrontation between Vader, Palpatine and Luke, Vader returns to the light and throws the Emperor in the the core of the space station. With the generator switched off the Rebels blow up the Death Star. Two-one. 

Episode VII: The Force Awakens


Han and Leia’s son is Kylo Ren, the new evil Sith lord. The First Order replaces the Empire, and at the helm is Supreme Leader Snoke aboard Starkiller Base - a rather self explanatory name that sounds awfully familiar. A scavenger named Rey teams up with Finn, a deserter from The First Order, and Han Solo. Together, they join up with the Resistance in order to fight The First Order. Rey duels Kylo Ren, while Finn and Solo infiltrate Starkiller Base. The film ends with Rey finding the map that will lead her to Luke Skywalker’s hideout. 

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi 


Rey finds Luke and reluctantly helps her train in the ways of the Jedi, while First Order ships are pursuing the Resistance fleet. Admiral Holdo sacrifices himself so the rest of the crew can escape onto nearby planet Crait. Kylo Ren kills Snoke to take control of the First Order, and then journeys to finish off the resistance on Crait, but is confronted by Luke Skywalker. This buys the resistance fighters enough time to escape on the Millenium Falcon. 

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is in cinemas in the UK on the 19th December!

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