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Disney+ is the motherlode of Star Wars shows and movies. Which should you watch?

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Nov 12, 2019

Disney+ is upon us, and it will marks the coming of all kinds of Star Wars content. Of course the big draw is the new live-action series The Mandalorian, but that's not all that the service has to offer in terms of the galaxy far, far away — there's enough content to stuff a space slug fit to bursting.

Most of the content is animated, but that doesn't mean that it's only for children. Though some of the LEGO-oriented offerings are definitely in the kidzone, series like Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels are built for all audiences. The Clone Wars has previously been available on Netflix, but now has a permanent home on the new service (including all existing six seasons as well as the theatrical release), and all before the long-awaited final episodes of the beloved series hit the service next year.

Star Wars Rebels will be streaming all four of its seasons here, and this is the first time that show has been available to stream anywhere as part of a service. The same goes for the first season of Star Wars Resistance.

Where should a Star Wars fan start? There's so much on offer that it might be hard to choose where to go first, so allow us to guide you though this battlefield of content. What should fans check out first, and what absolutely cannot be missed? Let's get down to it.

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS

If you've never seen this show, then this is the perfect time to start watching. It lived peacefully on Netflix for a few years, but no longer — the Clone Wars rage only on Disney+ now.

The series comprises one theatrical release (which is really four episodes jammed together) and six seasons. Where should you start? Honestly, start with the theatrical release and watch the entire show. All of it. Some may argue that there are plenty of episodes in this series that can be missed, but we say otherwise. There's a little something special in every single one. The best way to experience this series is to watch the whole thing. Episodes come in 22-minute bites, so it won't take long.

If you don't have the time, or the patience? We get it. Time management is essential for a full and healthy life. A lot of this series is built around "arcs" that contain three or four episodes that tell one story, so here is our fast and furious recommendation guide to the arcs of this show, depending on what mood you're in and what kind of stories you're looking for.

The biggest thing that the show adds to the canon and lore of Star Wars is the character Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein). To truly get on board with her development (as well as who she is in general), we definitely recommend the first half hour of the theatrical release, which is mostly an episode called "The New Padawan." You'll meet Ahsoka, Clone Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker), and get some great action. Once they leave the planet Christophsis, you can theoretically move on. (You're missing out though.)

To get a taste of how great the action on this series gets, punch up "Landing at Point Rain" in Season 2. It's the second episode in a five-episode arc that returns us to Geonosis, and it's an all-time classic. If you want to finish the rest of this arc, continue with "Weapons Factory", "Legacy of Terror", and "Brain Invaders." You get a lot of Ahsoka in the mix, some Star Wars horror, and an animated introduction to Barriss Offee (Meredith Salenger), who will become important later.

Credit: Lucasfilm

To see where all of the Mandalorian action began in the new canon, "The Mandalore Plot" (Season 2) is your next stop. It introduces Pre Viszla (Jon Favreau) as well as Duchess Satine Kryze (Anna Graves). To finish the arc, go forward with "Voyage of Temptation" and "Duchess of Mandalore." The big bonus here is that you'll learn more about the "love life" of Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor).

For more epic battles with the clones, head over to Season 4 for the episode "Darkness of Umbara" and continue with "The General," "Plan of Dissent," and "Carnage of Krell." This will load you up with more stunning action, and it will give you a taste of how incredible Dee Bradley Baker is at voicing each and every clone in the series.

If you've been wondering how Darth Maul (a Darth no longer) survived to end up in Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story, then go to the final four episodes of Season 4: "Massacre," "Bounty," "Brothers," and "Revenge." You'll get to know Asajj Ventress (Nika Futterman), Maul's sort-of brother Savage Opress (Clancy Brown), and you'll see Maul (Sam Witwer) return to the saga.

Want to see how the two great tastes of Maul and Mandalore actually taste really great together? There's only one place to go — Mauldalore. Head to Season 5 and watch "Eminence," "Shades of Reason," and "The Lawless." For the full arc, you can watch the episode "Revival" first...though it isn't completely essential, it does have the incredible Hondo Ohnaka (Jim Cummings) in it.

For our money, "The Lawless" might be the best episode of the entire series. If you only have time to watch one single episode, make it that one.

Curious about how Ahsoka Tano fell out with the Jedi Order? Then grab some tissues and go to the end of Season 5 — "Sabotage", "The Jedi Who Knew Too Much," "To Catch a Jedi," and "The Wrong Jedi." The Anakin/Ahsoka story here is tremendously powerful, and the Jedi generally act like a**holes.

For a truly magical deep dive into the force, and more information on why we see certain Jedi vanish when dying? Season 6 is the place to be, where a Force journey with Yoda (Tom Kane) himself ends the current run of the show. "Voices," "Destiny," and "Sacrifice" are must-watch episodes.

Want some great episodes that can be watched by themselves? "Rookies" in Season 1 got fans to stop worrying and love the clones, and Season 4's "A Friend in Need" features Ahsoka vs. Mandalorians. "Lightsaber Lost" in Season 2 offers more Ahsoka and some great Jedi wisdom, and "Ambush" in Season 1 is a good introduction to the series in general, with Yoda wasting a battalion of battle droids with minimal effort. For a glimpse of the greatness of bounty hunter Cad Bane (Corey Burton), then check out "Hostage Crisis" from Season 1.

Wanna get weird? The Mortis arc (Season 3, "Overlords," "Altar of Mortis," and "Ghosts of Mortis") has some of the weirdest (and possibly most important) force imagery in anything Star Wars, as the themes of balance run amok. To get weird in a very silly way, laugh along with the jogun fruit shenanigans of "Evil Plans" in Season 3 (R2-D2 goes to a droid spa while C-3PO is tortured, not kidding), or the just plain odd "A Sunny Day in the Void" from Season 5. That episode is... just really, really out there.

STAR WARS REBELS

The best way to experience this series? You guessed it! Watch the whole thing. Some episodes of this show might feel insignificant, but almost everything in it ties into the whole. Still, if time does not permit the extravagance, here are some one-stop-satisfaction stops.

To understand anything that goes on in this show, both parts of the pilot episode, "Spark of Rebellion," are recommended. You'll meet our main cast, get introduced to the planet Lothal, and you'll get a sense of the style of the series. From there, although it pains us to write this, you can jump to the end of the season and watch "Fire Across the Galaxy." You'll see the return of an old friend, and if you watched The Clone Wars, you will be excited.

Next up should be the start of Season 2, which is "The Siege of Lothal." Darth Vader takes on our rebel heroes and lays them in the dirt, both on land and in space. If you want to see how truly formidable Vader can be, then this is one of the best episodes to watch.

For a more intimate affair, watch Zeb (Steve Blum) and Imperial Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo) get stranded and forced to work together in Season 2's "The Honorable Ones." It is a huge moment for Kallus' overall arc, and it illustrates the vast differences between the Empire and the Rebellion.

Get the tissues out again and head to the end of Season 2 for "Twilight of the Apprentice," another showstopper with Vader and another one of the best animated Star Wars endeavors ever made. You get our regular heroes Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) visiting a Sith Temple with a returned Ahsoka Tano, and you also get some major fights with the Inquisitors, the return (again) of Maul, and an Ahsoka/Vader reunion.

To watch Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar) train in highly awesome fashion, then "Trials of the Darksaber" in Season 3 is a must. "Twin Suns" in Season 3 is also vital viewing, and in the larger sense of the entire Star Wars saga, it might be the most important episode of this series.

Finally, if you want to set yourself up for The Mandalorian and get a sense of where we left off with that planet and the people who live there, then go to Season 4's two-part episode, "Heroes of Mandalore." The rest of Season 4 is all payoff, and it would serve you best if you watched the rest of the series... which once again, we recommend. None of the episodes mentioned here really focus on the greatness of Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall), her relationship with Kanan, the returning Hondo Ohnaka, Yoda's appearances, or the re-canonized Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelson)... we feel horrible about that, but so it goes.

STAR WARS RESISTANCE

Set before the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this is the latest animated Star Wars series which is currently airing a second (and final) season. The full first season became available to stream at launch, however.

The series deals with a Resistance spy named Kazuda Xiono (Christopher Sean) who is recruited by Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) to scope things out on a station called the Colossus. Though it is definitely geared more towards children (and is a little bit of a slow burn), it's definitely worth watching. As the first season progresses, the First Order becomes more a presence and it begins to tie into the sequel trilogy a lot more. Once more characters all get on board with Kaz's true mission, the show really starts kicking, and recurring characters like Flix (Jim Rash), Orka (Bobby Moynihan), Synara San (Nanzeen Contractor), and Kragan (Gary Anthony Williams) make is something we've come to look forward to each and every week.

YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS! (LEGO STAR WARS)

For Star Wars content that is most definitely made for children, look no further than the large bounty of LEGO Star Wars programming that is included. Our favorite of the group is LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures, which tells a story with new characters that runs alongside the main saga. It isn't canon, but children tend not to care about that.

The best reason to check out this series is the character Graballa the Hutt, voiced by the legendary Dana Snyder. Graballa adds a large amount of unbridled lunacy to the series, and Snyder's vocal work puts this series on top.

LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales is also a lot of fun, and features C-3PO reimagining the stories of the classic saga. Some jokes here will go right over the heads of children, and are definitely there for adults who may be watching along...there's really something for everyone.

STAR WARS: EMPIRE OF DREAMS

Probably the best documentary yet made about the original trilogy, this film was initially released with the first DVD set of the classic movies. The interviews and information contained within are fascinating, especially in regard to the very first Star Wars movie. It documents how it went from a joke — something that was doomed to fail (showing parts of an early cut that did no favors) — and became one of the most unexpected smash hits that the world has ever known.

Similar in depth to the famous documentary that came with the first DVD for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, this documentary never gets old. It was made long before Disney or the sequel trilogy came along so it's not entirely current, but it is an invaluable treasure all the same. If you've never seen it, then you're in for a treat.

Other than all of that? You'll also get... you know... movies. All of the Star Wars movies are here, except for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Ron Howard's Solo: A Star Wars Story. They'll be on the service as soon as their Netflix deal is up.

When it comes to Star Wars on Disney+, The Mandalorian will probably be your first stop. After that? The galaxy is yours for the streaming.


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