Which ‘Star Wars’ Movies Should You Watch To Refresh Your Memory Before ‘The Rise of Skywalker’?

Today is the day; Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is finally in theaters. The franchise that started in 1977 has grown into the phenomenon it is today, with nine core movies, three trilogies, and plenty of spin-offs to make up the universe. There are characters you love and those you hate, but the galaxy far, far away holds a special place in fans’ hearts. 

In case it’s been a hot minute since you watched the other Star Wars movies, which ones are the most important to see before The Rise of Skywalker?

A promotional photo for 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' at a 'Star Wars' nine-movie marathon.
A promotional photo for ‘Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker’ at a ‘Star Wars’ nine-movie marathon | JC Olivera/Getty Images

You can leave out the prequels for a rewatch

It’s no secret that the prequel trilogy — Episodes I, II, and III — aren’t well-liked by a majority of loud fans. There is absolutely nothing wrong with liking these, but they’re not super crucial to The Rise of Skywalker. They are, of course, significant in the series overall. They hold the origin of Darth Vader and show the fall of the Jedi Order. They’re great to ground you in the mysticism and ethos of Star Wars

However, when going into the ninth Skywalker saga film, viewers can skip these if they’re running low on time during a rewatch. To recap, they start with the beginning of disputes in the Republic, which leads to the creation of the Separatists and the eventual Clone Wars. It introduces Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi and shows the start of Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker’s relationship. The series follows Anakin and Obi-Wan and ends in Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side, caused by many things, but intense fear and hate lead the way.

The original trilogy holds a lot of lore and essential foundations

You should always try to include the original movies in any rewatch that you do, if only for nostalgia’s sake. It was the first time any of this galaxy was shown to the world, so it does an excellent job of setting it all up. Considering, as well, that Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Han Solo are staples in Star Wars, and also appear in the sequel trilogies, the originals hold more weight in terms of what you need to know. 

The sequel trilogies, and The Rise of Skywalker, definitely pull more from the originals. Even though 31 years pass between Return of the Jedi and The Rise of Skwaylker, the sequel trilogy is directly affected by the original three.

‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Last Jedi’ are your most important companions before ‘Episode IX’

Of course, if you’re coming down to the wire and really can’t fit in a full marathon, you’re in luck. The most important films in the series are The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, the two most recent films in the saga. 

The Force Awakens introduces this final era of Star Wars films, including the new characters. Rey and Kylo Ren are the most important throughout this saga, and these two movies do a great job of following their stories. Basically, the sequels are your best crash course through what to know before Episode IX.

The Rise of Skywalker is trying to pull off a finale for one of the greatest franchises of all time. Even though more spin-offs and shows are on the way, the trilogies are ending, and so is the Skywalker narrative. Hopefully, the sequel trilogy gets you pumped and ready for that final showdown.