A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the Star Wars Skywalker Saga began. It was 42 years ago, to be exact, and it started with George Lucas’s Star Wars, a sci-fi movie with a limited theatrical release that would soon turn into a worldwide phenomena. The original Star Wars became known as Episode IV: A New Hope, the beginning of the trilogy of trilogies; since then, Star Wars has made over $9.3 billion at the box office, consistently growing its global dedicated fanbase over the course of 40+ years. Now, on December 20, 2019, fans around the world will watch firsthand as a story that captivated audiences in the 1970s, and subsequently became part of every generation’s movie collection over the past few decades, comes to an end.

As the weather cools down and winter approaches, there’s no better activity than to prepare for what will surely be the movie event of the year: the release of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. Watching the first 8 episodes in the Saga to prepare for this momentous occasion is a must for lifelong fans as well as first-timers in order to fully appreciate the cultural significance of this highly anticipated film. There are two ways to watch these films: chronological order (Episode I - Episode VIII) or theatrical order (Episodes IV-VI, Episodes I-III, then Episodes VII-VIII). Watching in chronological order can be very beneficial for the first-timers, as there are a plethora of characters and storylines to learn and keep track of throughout the many films; the Saga covers over 60 years within the 8 episodes, which can be a lot for a first-timer to digest and remember. Watching in theatrical order may be especially delightful for dedicated fans, providing an opportunity to relive all of their favorite moments in the order that the films were first introduced. For added backstory, don’t forget to watch Solo and Rogue One between Episodes III and IV; while they are not essential to the understanding of the Saga, these enjoyable spinoffs will help provide more context and understanding to the storylines and characters.

Though not much has been revealed in the trailers for Episode IX, this much is certain:

The Saga will end - the story lives forever.

When those words appear on the screen amidst incredible battle scenes and lightsaber duels, coupled with the unmistakably distinct notes of the classic Star Wars theme song, a rush of nostalgia fills the viewer. Other memorable moments from the trailers include Emperor Palpatine’s menacing laugh, Luke’s reminder of the destiny of the Jedi, and C-3PO’s explanation of “taking one last look” at his friends. These moments, though fleeting and unrevealing to the overall plot of the movie, prove that this film will be full of surprises, beloved characters, timeless lessons, and, of course, deep emotion as viewers witness the cherished stories and characters finally meeting their conclusion.

Enjoy reliving the first 8 episodes of the Skywalker Sage in these final weeks before the release of The Rise of Skywalker and don’t forget to purchase your movie tickets early! Until then…

May the force be with you.