Is Star Wars Episode 4 the First Movie?

If you’re a fan of the Star Wars franchise, you may be wondering if Episode 4: A New Hope is truly the first movie in the series. The answer to this question is a bit complex and requires some explanation.

The History of Star Wars Movies

When George Lucas first created the Star Wars universe, he envisioned it as a series of three movies. These movies were later named Episodes 4-6 and were released in theaters between 1977 and 1983. These films introduced us to iconic characters like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader.

After the success of the original trilogy, Lucas began working on a prequel trilogy that would explore the events leading up to Episode 4. These movies were released between 1999 and 2005 and were named Episodes 1-3. They introduced new characters like Anakin Skywalker (who later becomes Darth Vader), Padme Amidala, and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

In addition to these six main movies, there have been several standalone films set within the Star Wars universe. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released in 2016 and tells the story of how rebels stole plans for the Death Star (a key plot point in Episode 4). Solo: A Star Wars Story was released in 2018 and explores the backstory of Han Solo.

Why Episode 4 is Considered “the First”

Despite being labeled as “Episode 4,” A New Hope was actually the first Star Wars movie ever made. This can be confusing for fans who are just getting into the franchise or who are unfamiliar with its history.

The reason for this labeling is that when Lucas first wrote his script for what would become A New Hope, he had already envisioned a larger story that would span multiple films. He originally intended to start with Episode 1 (which would become The Phantom Menace) and work his way through the story chronologically.

However, when Lucas began shopping his script around to studios, he faced numerous rejections. Eventually, 20th Century Fox agreed to produce the movie, but only if Lucas made significant changes to the script. One of these changes was to remove much of the backstory and focus on telling a self-contained story that could stand on its own.

As a result, A New Hope was released as a standalone film in 1977. It wasn’t until after its success that Lucas was able to secure funding for the rest of the trilogy and begin working on Episodes 5 and 6.


In summary, while Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope is not technically the first movie in the franchise’s chronological order, it is considered “the first” because it was the first one ever made and released in theaters. Its success paved the way for future films and helped establish Star Wars as one of the most beloved movie franchises of all time.

If you’re just getting into Star Wars or are curious about its history, watching Episode 4 is a great place to start. Not only is it an excellent movie in its own right, but it also sets up many of the key plot points that are explored in later films.