All Sections

How to watch Star Wars: Original Trilogy, Prequel, The Force Awakens and Holiday Special

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has finally dropped out of hyperspace. Here’s how you can stream and watch all the other movies including Episode VII

Sky Movies and Now TV – watch and stream now

Related: How can I watch Sky Movies and how to get Now TVSky and Disney’s ‘multi-year movie and TV agreement’ means that Sky’s got broadcast and streaming rights to all six Star Wars movies, plus the second season of Star Wars: Rebels and The Clone Wars animated spin-offs.

At the time of writing, all of these are available to watch on demand with a Sky Movies subscription or Now TV Movies Pass.

Sky’s deal with Disney will also see Sky TV and Now TV customers with a Sky Movies subscription or pass able to get first dibs on The Force Awakens roughly nine months from now. 

The standard Sky Movies price is currently £17/month in addition to a Sky TV subscription, which starts at £20/month. You can also add Sky Movies to Virgin TV, BT TV and TalkTalk TV subscriptions and have the option of watching in SD and 1080p Full HD. 

Note that Sky Movies prices are increasing on Sky and Virgin Media later this year

Now TV Movies passes cost £9.99/month. Currently, you can only stream movies as they’re being broadcast in SD, unless you’re watching through an Apple TV, but even then the best you’re going to get is 720p HD. If you’re streaming on demand content, then you’ll be able to watch movies in SD and HD (again, up to 720p HD).  

Buy The Force Awakens on Sky Store Buy & Keep

What is HD? The difference between 720p, 1080i and 1080pStar Wars: The Force Awakens is available now to rent and buy from the Sky Store. 

You can rent The Force Awakens is SD for £4.49 or buy a digital copy in HD for £13.99. The Force Awakens is a Sky Store Buy & Keep title, which means once DVDs go on sale, you’ll be sent a physical copy in the post. 

You can access the Sky Store through Sky TV set-top boxes as well as Now TV boxes, Roku streamers iOS and Android apps and YouView-based hardware, including BT TV and TalkTalk TV set-top boxes. 

You don’t have to be a Sky TV or Now TV customer to sign up for Sky Store, although if you already have a Sky ID or a Now TV account, you can just sign in with those credentials. 

iTunes – Apple fans pay more

You can currently buy all seven Star Wars movies from iTunes. Episode IV: A New Hope costs £13.99 whether you buy it in standard definition or 1080p Full HD. Every other Star Wars film is priced at either £9.99 (SD) or £13.99 (HD) each. 

For less-enthusiastic Star Wars fans, The Force Awakens is also available to rent for £3.49 in SD or £4.49 in HD. 

There’s also Star Wars: The Digital Movie Collection, a bundle which gives you access to all six of the films in SD (£59.99) and HD (£64.99), plus a raft of extra deleted scenes and interview bonus content. 

It should be noted that the films from the Original Trilogy sold on iTunes are more or less the same as the 2004 remasters, continuity wise. This means a CGI Jabba the Hutt and Greedo shooting first in A New Hope and the absence of the 20th Century Fox fanfare at the beginning of Empire and Jedi

iTunes is available for Windows and OS X desktops as well as iOS and Apple TV devices.  

Amazon Instant Video – cheapest prices (shocker)

How can I watch Amazon Prime on TV?Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now availble to rent and buy from Amazon Instant Video. 

Renting The Force Awakens in SD will set you back £3.45 and£4.45 in HD. 

If you’d like a permanent digital copy, you can shell out £9.99 for The Force Awakens in SD and £13.99 for it in HD. 

Amazon is also selling all of the old Star Wars movies in Digital HD, either as standalone purchases in SD or HD, or as part of the big Digital Movie Collection bundle. 

Amazon’s prices are a little cheaper overall – with the exception of Episode IV: A New Hope, every Star Wars movie costs either £9.99 for the film in standard definition or £11.99 if you want the movies in HD. 

Bizarrely, the price of A New Hope in standard definition from Amazon Instant Video is actually dearer (£13.99) than its high definition equivalent (£11.99). Why anyone would want to pay more for an inferior quality product is beyond us, but there you have it. 

Amazon’s also undercut Apple’s prices for folks who want to buy all six movies in one go – the Star Wars: Digital Movie Collection costs £59, with all of the bonus content included. 

There’s only one payment option for the Digital Movie Collection on Amazon, but you’ll get both SD and HD versions of the films for your money, so for those with slower broadband connections or older devices that won’t really benefit from an HD download, this is potentially a good buy. 

If you want more Star Wars action, you can get seasons 1-5 of The Clone Wars, on a per episode (£1.89 in SD, £2.49 in HD) or per season (£24.99 in SD, £30.99 in HD) basis.  

Season 1 of Star Wars: Rebels is also available to buy from Amazon, again on a per episode (£1.89 in SD, £2.49 in HD) or per season (£14.99 in SD, £19.99 in HD) deal. 

Amazon Instant Video is available on iOS, Android and Kindle devices, the great majority of smart TV platforms, Roku devices, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and 4, Wii and Wii U.

All seven Star Wars movies can be bought from in standard defintion or 1080p Full HD. 

Episode IV: A New Hope costs £13.99 whether you buy it in standard definition or 1080p Full HD. Every other Star Wars movie costs £9.99 (SD) or £13.99 (HD). 

Unlike iTunes, doesn’t give you the option to buy all of the Star Wars movies as one big bundle and there’s no offer of bonus content either. 

Season 1 of Disney’s Star Wars: Rebels animated series is also available to buy in SD (£3.99) or HD (£4.99). Animated spin-off movie The Clone Wars can also be rented (£2.49) or bought (£6.99) in standard definition only. 

Can I watch Star Wars on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video?
Meio que…

How to get US Netflix in the UKCurrently, neither Netflix or Amazon have the rights to stream any of the Star Wars movies in the UK. 

Thanks to a Disney deal with Starz, makers of the Ash vs Evil Dead that’s currently hitting Virgin TV screens here in the UK, it won’t be available on Netflix in the US either. 

We can confirm that A New Hope is available to subscribers in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico but so far, none of the other Star Wars movies appear to be available in Latin American countries, despite what the rumours might say. 

‘Meio que’ is Portuguese for ‘kind of’, FYI. 

How to stream Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Part of Sky’s multi-year deal with Disney means that nine months after the The Force Awakens blasts off in British cinemas, it’ll broadcast on Sky Movies and available for streaming on Now TV.

However, if you’re wise to the ways of VPNs, you’ll also be able to stream The Force Awakens on Netflix, if you’re capable of fooling the service into thinking you’re in Canada.

While Sky holds the rights to show The Force Awakens and future Star Wars movies in the UK nine months after the theatrical release, across the pond, Variety reports that the seventh Star Wars film will land on Netflix ‘approximately eight months after the movie leaves theatres’ (our italics).

This means you could end up waiting, depending on when The Force Awakens finishes its run in Canadian cinemas, when you could be watching it on Sky or Now TV. 

You should also note that while not strictly illegal, using a VPN to fool Netflix into thinking you’re in different country violates the terms of service. 

While Netflix hasn’t taken action against customers who use services like Hola to get around geographic content restrictions so far, there’s a chance this could change by the time The Force Awakens is ready for streaming.  

How to watch the original, unaltered Star Wars movies

Rumours are circulating that the original Star Wars movies, with none of the extra CGI and overdubbed lines added for the late ‘90s Special Edition releases, will soon be released on Blu-ray. 

There’s speculation that these won’t surface until 2020, when Fox’s ownership of the home video rights to The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, in their original, unaltered form, expires and returns to Lucasfilm, which is now owned by Disney. But that’s pure speculation – nothing’s been confirmed by Fox, Disney, Lucasfilm or anyone. 

Rights to the original version of A New Hope is owned outright by Fox. Until all the snow on Hoth melts, stars die and the universe implodes, that’s the way it’s going to stay. 

Until such a time, there’s just two options available. Watch/buy the originals on VHS or investigate Harmy’s Star Wars Despecialized Edition, a series of fan remasters which have been painstakingly compiled from a variety of sources.

Despite the Despecialized Editions being totally unofficial, Disney’s legal eagles haven’t yet trained their sights on its compiler. You can download the Despecialized Star Wars here

How to watch Star Wars: The Phantom Edit

Alongside the Despecialized Editions, there’s a number of fan edits of the Prequel Trilogy doing the rounds. 

These unofficial works of fandom, which largely remove scenes containing Jar Jar Binks and cut some of the more egregious dialogue from the films, can be found on YouTube as well as on various torrent sites. 

How to watch The Star Wars Holiday Special

The stuff of legends, this woefully poor and cynical Christmas cash-in remains the absolute nadir of the Star Wars franchise, so much so that George Lucas once quipped that if he had enough time and a sledgehammer, he’d personally track down and destroy every copy. 

Needless to say, it’s not available anywhere officially. YouTube uploads are often taken down fairly swiftly. That said, this upload has been doing the rounds since February 2015 and at the time of writing is still live. 

We will say that it’s worth watching, if only to sample Carrie Fisher’s singing, which, to be fair, is actually alright. That’s more than you can say for the rest of the Holiday Special though. You have been warned.

How to actually watch Star Wars: Chronologically, numerically, machete

Most of us (read: people born before 1999) will know of only one way to watch the Star Wars films. You start with A New Hope (IV), The Empire Strikes Back (V), and Return of the Jedi (VI) – aka the Original Trilogy – and then go through The Phantom Menace (I), Attack of the Clones (II) and finish with Revenge of the Sith (III). 

This is follows the chronological order of each movie being released, which might be helpful information to keep to hand when watching this with younger viewers, should they need an explanation as to why the quality of the acting suddenly improves along with a dip in special effects. 

Obviously that’s not how Lucas intended the story to be told at first, hence why the first Star Wars film is subtitled Episode IV

If you want to take in the current saga as its creator intended, you’ll want to watch things numerically, in other words start with Episode I: The Phantom Menace and work your way through Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Finally, there’s a third way you can watch the Star Wars movies, the ‘machete’ order, so named because it cuts up and rearranges both of the previously discusses orders and also because it originated from developer Rod Hilton’s ‘No Machete Juggling‘ blog. 

The machete order is as follows:

  • Episode IV: A New Hope
  • Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Programmer Hilton says that watching them in this order doesn’t ruin the surprise of Darth Vader’s big reveal in Empire – which, if you watched the movies for the first time in either order, they would – while giving you enough of the character’s backstory. 

Hilton makes a compelling case for why Episode I is cut from the list completely in this widely-cited post here. TL;DR, it’s because Episode I’s plot is unnecessary to the rest of the films and also mostly terrible. 

It’s a good read, if you care in any way about Star Wars. If you don’t, it might be worth a quick once over lest some turbo-nerd tries to fansplain this to you at the work Christmas party. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *