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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 May, 2005, 07:44 GMT 08:44 UK
The Star Wars saga at a glance
The eagerly awaited release of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith brings George Lucas' epic space saga to a close.

George Lucas
Revenge of the Sith is George Lucas' sixth Star Wars film
Even after three decades, however, there are some people who have not seen the movies that comprise this blockbuster franchise.

The original films - Star Wars (also known as A New Hope), The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi - were followed by three prequels: The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and, finally, Revenge of the Sith.

Here, though, is the full story in chronological order - though if you have yet to see the new film you may wish to click away now.


The Galactic Republic is under threat from the greedy Trade Federation. The Jedi, an order of knights who derive strength from the "Force" that binds all living things together, are determined to maintain the peace.

Jake Lloyd in The Phantom Menace
Anakin Skywalker as he appears in The Phantom Menace
Two Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi, are sent to the planet of Naboo to legislate in a tax dispute. But the planet is invaded and they are forced to flee with its young queen, Padme Amidala.

Taking refuge on the desert planet of Tatooine, the fugitives meet a slave boy, Anakin Skywalker, whom Qui-Gon recognises as a Jedi in the making. Qui-Gon wins the boy's freedom by betting on him in a Pod race reminiscent of the chariot race in Ben-Hur.

Returning to Naboo, the Jedi and their alien allies the Gunga defeat the Trade Federation's robot army. When Qui-Gon is killed in a duel, Obi-Wan resolves to train Anakin as a Jedi.


Ten years have passed, and a civil war is brewing between the Galactic Republic and separatist forces led by the evil Count Dooku.

Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen in Attack of the Clones
Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker in Attack of the Clones
After foiling an assassination attempt on Amidala, Obi-Wan orders Anakin - now a headstrong teenager - to serve as her bodyguard. But his mission is compromised when they fall in love.

Obi-Wan's investigations into the murder attempt take him to Kamino, an ocean planet where an alien race is building an army of clone soldiers.

Obi-Wan, Anakin and Amidala are captured by Count Dooku and sentenced to death on the barren planet of Geonosis. Luckily the clone forces, led by Jedi master Yoda, arrive in time to rescue them.


Anakin, now married to Amidala, joins forces with Senator Palpatine, leader of the sinister Sith order, and systematically eliminates the Jedi knights.

Hayden Christensen in Revenge of the Sith
Anakin Skywalker with lightsaber (laser sword) in Revenge of the Sith
But he is horrifically scarred in a duel with Obi-Wan and is reborn as the masked Darth Vader.

Amidala dies giving birth to twins, a boy and a girl, who are separated for their own protection.

Yoda and Obi-Wan go into exile as the Republic is destroyed and an all-powerful Empire, led by Palpatine and his right-hand man Vader, rises to take its place.


The Empire captures a Rebel ship, but Princess Leia manages to send two robots, C-3PO and R2-D2, to Tatooine before she is captured.

Sir Alec Guinness in Star Wars
Obi-Wan Kenobi as he appears in A New Hope
The robots fall in to the hands of a young farm boy, Luke Skywalker, who takes them to Obi-Wan Kenobi, now an elderly hermit.

With the help of wily space pirate Han Solo, Luke and Obi-Wan travel to Leia's home planet only to find it has been destroyed by an orbiting space station called the Death Star.

Luke and Han rescue Leia, though Obi-Wan is killed by Darth Vader during their escape. The Rebels launch an attack on the Death Star, with Luke firing the decisive torpedo that brings about its destruction.


Imperial forces led by Darth Vader attack the Rebels' secret base on the ice planet Hoth.

Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back
Vader reveals he is Luke's father in The Empire Strikes Back
While Han Solo flees with Princess Leia, Luke heads for the swamp planet Dagobah to be trained as a Jedi by Yoda.

Han and Leia take refuge at a mining colony operated by Lando Calrissian. But Lando betrays them to Vader, who freezes Han and hands him over to bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Luke arrives too late to save Han and is bested in a duel by Vader, who reveals he is Luke's father. But Luke escapes with Leia and a reformed Lando before he can be turned to the "Dark Side" of the Force.


Luke returns to Tattooine to free Han from the clutches of reptilian gangster Jabba the Hutt. He then makes for Dagobah, where Yoda and a ghostly Obi-Wan confirm that Vader is his father and Leia his sister.

Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi
Jabba the Hutt as he appears in Return of the Jedi
On the forest planet of Endor, Han and Leia are assisted by the teddy bear-like Ewoks in their attempts to destroy the force field shielding the new and improved Death Star.

On the Death Star itself, Luke fights Vader and eventually persuades him to turn against the Emperor.

Vader dies redeemed, the Death Star is destroyed and the galaxy rejoices the fall of the Empire.


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