There are casual fans of the Star Wars films, and then there are those for which Star Wars is more than a film franchise — it’s a way of life. Whether you fall into one camp or the other, chances are pretty good that no matter whether you stick to the classics or you can’t get enough of the recent releases in the series, you want to watch them more than once.
If you own the films on Blu-ray or UHD Blu-ray, this isn’t a problem, but what if you prefer your movies not to take up any space in your living room. Not that long ago, it was nearly impossible to watch anything with Star Wars online, unless you were watching a parody video on YouTube. Fortunately, things have changed, and while you may need to look to different services depending on the movie you want to see, it’s possible to watch all the Star Wars you could want using a TV and your internet connection. Let’s run through your options.
(Note: These recommendations are for U.S. residents. International availability will vary by region.)
Streaming via subscription
It would be great if we could all just log into our Netflix accounts and queue up our favorite Star Wars films. Unfortunately, Disney/LucasFilm knows how valuable the franchise is, and only a few of its movies are available via the popular service. In fact, Disney is creating its own streaming service, set to debut in 2019, to further cash in on the franchise, among its many other properties. Once that’s up, we expect all (or at least most) of the Star Wars movies to be available there.
Fortunately, if you’re looking to watch the latest proper entry in the series, you’re in luck. Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi became available on the service in June, joining Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which has been on the service since 2017.
As far as streaming platforms go, that’s about it. Sadly, none of the Star Wars films are available with subscriptions to Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, PlayStation Vue, or Sling TV. If you want ’em, you’re gonna have to buy ’em.
Like most cable companies, DirecTV allows customers to stream content on demand in addition to watching them live on television. With a DirecTV account, you can stream Disney’s animated Star Wars Rebels at no additional cost. The service offers 58 episodes total — most of the first three seasons, plus a bit of the fourth — 57 of which are available online, so you can almost binge your way through the whole series.
If you’re a cable or satellite customer, but you don’t have DirecTV, there’s another option for watching Star Wars Rebels: Straight from the source. Head over to Disney’s XD page, sign in with your cable or satellite provider (assuming you pay for a package that gets the XD channel), and voilà! You’re now able to watch every Rebels episode ever aired, save the four “shorts” released in 2014 ahead of the series premiere.
Now that we’ve covered all of the (extremely limited) options for streaming Star Wars content, let’s move on to the most feasible method: Just buying it. If you’re a big fan, purchasing the films digitally isn’t such a bad idea — if you’re going to watch them every year in anticipation of the newest release, the investment will eventually pay off. If not, well, you don’t really have a choice — although sites like iTunes and Amazon usually offer movie rentals, the first six Star Wars movies are noticeably nowhere to be found (the newest films can be rented in some places). Evidently, Disney decided that offering rentals wasn’t in its best interests.
That said, the Movies Anywhere initiative allows users to watch any Disney films purchased digitally from one platform, regardless of where you buy them. It’s a cool program for library consolidation purposes, though we expect that if you’re buying one movie from Amazon, you probably buy most movies from Amazon. Still, with Microsoft recently joining Movies Anywhere, it means you can buy from any of the sites below, with the exception of YouTube, and watch wherever you want.
Amazon is the first place most people go to buy stuff online, and it’s a fine choice for Star Wars fans too. Each of the nine feature-length films is available for digital purchase; pricing for HD purchases ranges from $15 to $20, depending which movie you want and which version you want (bonus content, etc.). If you don’t own any of the films, Amazon also offers a digital HD collection of episodes I-VI for $100 (but it’s cheaper below).
YouTube’s Movies section also offers all the official Star Wars content for purchase. Despite our earlier comments, you can actually rent some Star Wars films from Youtube — unfortunately, you can only rent Episode VII, Episode VIII, and Rogue One, for between $4 and $6. Otherwise, you’ll have to take the plunge and buy. As with Amazon, pricing varies between $15 and $20.
If you want to watch Rebels, Youtube is a good place to do it — the whole series is available for purchase, either by season or by episode. High-definition is a bit more expensive, as you might expect. Clone Wars is also here, if you don’t have a Netflix subscription or if you’d just rather own the content. Someone also uploaded a compilation of the 2003 Clone Wars series, created by Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack) — it’s not canon, but you can watch it here for free.
Like Amazon and Youtube, Google’s got all nine movies for you to buy — in HD, they’re all between $15 and $20 — plus the option to rent Rogue One, The Force Awakens, and The Last Jedi. If you want the digital collection of Episodes I-VI, it’s “just” $80 in HD.
Just like the other options above, you can buy all the movies via iTunes, as well as Clone Wars and Rebels, or you can rent one of the three newest films. Not all the content is available in standard definition, though, and there are no options for renting rather than purchasing. For $100, you can also get the aforementioned six-film collection.
As you’ve probably surmised by now, most of the options here are fairly similar — it simply depends which ecosystem you prefer to invest in. Microsoft’s store is actually a bit more limited; neither of the animated series are available here, though all nine films are at similar pricing as the choices mentioned above.