Prepping for a new Star Wars movie’s theatrical release has never been easier. Thanks to the launch of Disney+ you can now binge the galaxy far, far away with ease. But what should you actually watch to get ready for The Rise of Skywalker? There’s so much Star Wars stuff on Disney+, there’s no way you could watch it all before Episode IX. (And let’s face it, those Lego specials are pretty lame.)
So, here’s a list of 16 episdoes and movies worth checking out before The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20. From trippy episodes of The Clone Wars, to epic Darth Vader battles you’ve never seen before, this is the essential Star Wars stuff to make your canon knowledge of the Force very strong before seeing The Rise of Skywalker.
Mild spoilers ahead for Clone Wars and Rebels.
Yeah, no duh. Before The Rise of Skywalker comes out, you’re totally going to binge all the existing films in the Skywalker saga. Obviously, this means you’re going to have to sit through Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace and experience “maclunkey” in the new version of A New Hope, but the saga films look great on Disney+. However, if you want to watch The Last Jedi, you’re going to have to catch that one on Netflix, until right after Episode IX hits theaters.
The Clone Wars, Season 3, episodes 15, 16, and 17
This is where things get interesting. Since a lot of us are convinced Rey has the Dagger of Mortis in the latest trailer for The Rise of Skywalker, it might be a good idea to re-watch this utterly bizarre three-part Clone Wars story. Essentially, it explains why the Force is unbalanced in the first place. Be warned: the episodes “Overlords” “Altar of Mortis” and “Ghosts of Mortis” are deeply, deeply strange, and certainly seem very close to the metaphysical vision of the Force that George Lucas originally concieved. (Lucas was still helping write The Clone Wars back in 2011, when these episodes aired.)
Anyway, when you watch these episodes, you’ll find yourself wondering how The Rise of Skywalker can avoid NOT incorporating some of these concepts. Plus, several of the locations seem straight out of Luke’s island in The Last Jedi and the jungle Rey runs through in Rise of Skywalker. I’m betting all this Mortis canon will be essential to Episode IX and when you re-watch it, you’ll see why.
The Clone Wars, Season 6, episodes 11, 12 and 14
At the very end of the first run of The Clone Wars (Season 7 is coming soon), Yoda explores everything about the rules of Force ghosts. Like the Mortis episodes in season 3, these episodes — “Voices” “Destiny” and “Sacrifice” — are straight-up trippy. Ready to see Yoda fight a negative version of himself (think Scott Pilgrim’s “Nega Scott”) in a bizzaro world that may also exist in his mind? This is the ticket!
With Mark Hamill as the voice of the ghost of Darth Bane, and a lot of exposition about the flow of the Force and Yoda’s knowledge of the future, this stuff is thrilling, weird, and could set up a lot of ghost action in The Rise of Skywalker.
Rebels, Season 2, episodes 21 and 22
There’s an off chance a live-action version of Ahsoka Tano could appear in The Rise of Skywalker. But even if she doesn’t, these episodes of Rebels — “Twilight of the Apprentice Parts 1 and 2” — are essential to your Rise of Skywalker prep because they explain so much Sith lore. One rumor about C-3PO in Episode IX is connected to writing that comes from a forgotten language. All of that stuff is spelled out in these episodes.
Plus, you get Darth Vader versus Ahsoka. It’s awesome.
Rebels, Season 4, Episode 13
There probably isn’t proper time travel in The Rise of Skywalker, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some sideways Star Wars version of it. In this Rebels episode — “The World Between Worlds” — Ezra figures out Palpatine is trying to use a kind of inter-dimensional gateway to screw over the entire galaxy. Through this, Ezra is able to save Ahsoka from her fateful duel with Vader in “Twilight of the Apprentice.” The episode basically establishes you can bring someone out of time via the Force, and into another time period. Could something similar happen with Luke in Episode IX? Or even… Han Solo?
“The World Between Worlds” is by no means a flawless episode or concept. But it is one of the more adventurous ways Rebels explored the Force. What’s more, since Ezra hears the voice of Kylo Ren at some point, this concept could come back in a big way for The Rise of Skywalker.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out everywhere on December 20, 2019.