What Episode Is the First Star Wars Movie?

When it comes to the Star Wars franchise, there can be confusion over which movie is the first in the series. Is it Episode I: The Phantom Menace or Episode IV: A New Hope? Let’s explore the answer to this question.

The Release Order

In terms of the release order, Episode IV: A New Hope is considered to be the first Star Wars movie. It was released in 1977 and directed by George Lucas. This movie takes place after a time when a group of rebels try to overthrow an evil empire that has taken control of the galaxy.

The Chronological Order

However, if you consider the chronological order of events in the Star Wars universe, then Episode I: The Phantom Menace comes first. This movie was released much later in 1999 and directed by George Lucas as well. It takes place before all other movies and shows how Anakin Skywalker becomes a Jedi and sets off a chain of events that lead to the fall of the Republic.

Why Does It Matter?

Knowing which episode comes first may not seem like a big deal, but it can affect how you view and understand events in the movies. Watching them in release order allows you to experience them as audiences did when they were first released, while watching them in chronological order can provide more context and backstory for certain characters and events.


In conclusion, whether you consider Episode IV or Episode I to be the first Star Wars movie depends on your perspective. However, it is important to understand both orders as they can provide different insights into this beloved franchise.