Star Wars stories cover a timeframe that stretches back to 25,000 years before the Battle of Yavin and up to 140 years after it. So to make it easier to place a story's chronological setting, LucasBooks introduced five Eras of Adventure in 2000: The Old Republic, Rise of the Empire, The Rebellion, The New Republic and The New Jedi Order. A sixth, Legacy of the Force, was added in 2006 and a seventh, Before The Republic, was created in 2012 to accommodate the new Dawn of the Jedi comic and novel series.
Now every official story, whether book, comic, short story or other, could be placed as occurring during one of six Eras of Adventure. Thus the events of the Prequel Trilogy (Episodes I thru III) occur during the Rise of the Empire era, while the Original Trilogy (Episodes IV thru VI) take place in The Rebellion era.
For The Clone Wars period there are currently two separate timelines: the first is for original material published circa 2002–2007 and excludes all material created since the 2008 film and accompanying animated TV series. The second is for the 2008 The Clone Wars film and the accompanying five TV series—this timeline is designed to provide a chronological viewing order for the animated film & TV series.
The classic Star Wars movies can be watched in either release order (indicated by year) or episode order (as indicated by Roman numerals).
IV A New Hope (1977)
V The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
VI Return of the Jedi (1983)
I The Phantom Menace (1999)
II Attack of the Clones (2002)
III Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Clone Wars (2008) – CGI movie set between II and III
Detailed timeline/titles for Star Wars books
Detailed timeline for Star Wars comics
More information about Star Wars Reads Day