The Rise of the Empire and the Rebellion Era
The primary stories regarding the rise of the Galactic Empire and the Rebellion against it are told in the movies. The "prequels", Episodes I - III tell the story of how Palpatine manipulated events to create a rise in power, his appointment as Supreme Chancellor, and his ultimate overthrow of the Republic by instituting a Galactic Empire, naming himself as Emperor. The "Original Trilogy", Episodes IV - VI, tell the story of the Rebellion. Deeper, these movies also tell the stories of Anakin and Luke Skywalker as they learn the ways of the Force and struggle against temptation of the Dark Side. Many people have their own favorite order of watching the movies, but the one of the most common viewing methods is to use the prequels as a flashback, watching the movies in the following order:
- Episode IV
- Episode V
- Episode II
- Episode III
- Episode VI
The most notable aspect of this order is that Episode I: The Phantom Menace is noticably absent. That movie, while it does provide a small bit of insight into the overall story, does not provide enough information, nor provide any substantial continuity to warrant keeping in a viewing order for a marathon viewing session unless it is desired to be watched.
Heroes & Villians
Luke Skywalker, Hero of the Rebellion.
- Luke Skywalker
- Son of Anakin Skywalker, a powerful Force user who destroyed the first Death Star and turned Darth Vader back to the light side of the Force who in turn killed Emperor Palpatine.
- Leia Organa
- Twin sister to Luke Skywalker, Leia was raised by the Organa household on the planet Alderaan. A pivotal and charismatic leader, she was instrumental in keeping the Rebel Alliance together.
- Han Solo
- Smuggler by trade, Han was a former Imperial pilot who deserted after rescuing a Wookie slave whom he saw being mistreated. Han and the wookie, Chewbacca, have been comrades in the smuggling business, running illicit goods for criminal organizations, specifically the Hutt Cartels.
Darth Vader and Lord Sidiou at the end of Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith.
- Emporer Palpatine
- The Sith lord Darth Sidious, Sheev Palpatine devised and implemented a masterplan to put himself in a position of power and manipulated events to allow him to dissolve the Galactic Republic, replacing it with the First Galactic Empire.
- Darth Vader
- Formerly the Jedi Anakin Skywalker, Darth Sidious twisted and corrupted Anakin's thoughts and emotions until he fell to the Dark Side. At that point, Anakin swore loyalty to Darth Sidious, and was given the name Darth Vader. Due to extensive injuries, Darth Vader's suit contains extensive Life Support equipment.
While the majority of the time line for canon material during this era is confined within the movies, there are some materials outside of the movies that tie into the stories. Two cartoon series, The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels run during events between movies. Two books, Splinter of the Mind's Eye3 and Shadows of the Empire4, likewise, take place between movies. In addition to books, there have been a few computer games that have taken place during the same time as the movies, such as Star Wars: Battlefront, X-Wing, TIE Fighter, and Shadows of the Empire, which was created along side the novel, and released later that same year.