We took the time to do the research for the best legal and safe ways to watch Star Wars online (the movie franchise), and our team has decided that Amazon Instant Video is the ideal method. This was our top choice due to the availability of all released Star Wars films, affordable pricing and high versatility of many supported viewing platforms.
Our runner-up choice is Vudu which is a lesser known online video distribution platform that is backed by their parent company, Walmart. While Vudu offers similar pricing and availability to watch all of the Star Wars episodes through their platform, they don't have as extensive list of support devices as Amazon.
Lastly, if you are looking to digitally rent one or more of the Star Wars movies online for the cheapest price then you may want to consider FandangoNOW. Run by the popular online movie ticket retailer, Fandango, their on-demand platform has a few of the previously released Star Wars films available for rental starting as low as $2.99 each.
When George Lucas first envisioned making a sci-fi film based on worlds in outer space back in 1976, people thought he was delusional. However, the man behind the franchise convinced Fox to give him $7.5M for production of the original Star Wars movie (which ended up being more towards $11M upon the movie's completion).
The rest is history as the original film grossed over $513M at the time (which would be over a billion with inflation) and the future movies within the franchise have continually profited immensely even setting some opening weekend sales records along the way.
Eventually, Lucas sold the rights to the Star Wars franchise to Disney for a whopping $4B, and the entertainment company has produced one two new episodes (VII and VIII) under the direction of J.J. Abrams as well as the standalone spin-off Rogue One and the upcoming release of Solo.
For most of you who are reading this right now, you either missed out on watching all of the current Star Wars movies or you are a diehard fan that wishes to rewatch the films from time-to-time via the power of the Internet.
Lucky for you, we have compiled all of the necessary methods to do so within this article while maintaining a focus on only those ways to watch Star Wars online that are both legal (no risk of breaking the law or hurting the studios) as well as safe (no viruses or risk of malware).
Keep in mind, this article does utilize affiliate links which may earn us a small commission if you were to do business with these content providers but rest assured this will never affect the integrity of our content. The use of affiliate links helps us provide helpful content like this for free without relying on too much obtrusive display advertising.
In the rest of this guide, we will cover the various methods we have found to stream or watch Star Wars online. In some cases, you may be able to access the movies for free if you have a streaming subscription to a service like Netflix, but most will require a small monetary investment for temporary or permanent viewing.
Which US Streaming Services Offer Star Wars Movies?
Episode I - The Phantom Menace
Episode II - Attack of the Clones
Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
Episode IV - A New Hope
Episode V - Empire Strikes Back
Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
Episode VII - The Force Awakens
Episode VIII - The Last Jedi
The Clone Wars
How To Watch Star Wars Online
Amazon Instant Video is an online digital video distribution platform run by the e-commerce giant that allows consumers the chance to buy or in some cases rent all of the current Star Wars movies.
All of the movies are available for purchase digitally through Amazon (as well as physical DVDs or Blu-Rays) with prices starting at $16.99 for high definition versions with the cost rising up to $19.99 depending on which episode and if you also want bonus content.
A great advantage to buying from Amazon Instant Video is their offering of the "Digital Six Film Collection" which offers six Star Wars episodes (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) plus the bonus features of each of these movies for just $99.99.
If you don't want to own the films for future watching and just want to temporarily rent Star Wars online digitally, Amazon Instant Video will allow you to purchase access to the newest titles like The Last Jedi for $5.99. These rentals last 30 days, but once you begin watching the film, you only have 3 days to finish it.
It is important to note that Amazon Instant Video is separate from Amazon Prime Video of which offers free streaming of TV shows (like Suits) and movies to Prime members. You do not need an active Prime membership to purchase Star Wars films through Amazon.
Most of you will already be familiar with iTunes which is Apple's own digital content distribution service. They have a wide selection of available content including all of the Star Wars films, but the downside is that their service is really designed only for consumers who will be watching content through Apple's own ecosystem of devices like an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or Mac computer.
At this point in time, iTunes is not offering any rentals on Star Wars titles. They are selling the digital copies of all of the starting at $19.99 per movie for high definition. Like Amazon, they too are offering the six movie collection for Star Wars Episode I through VI although in this case, you don't get the bonus content included yet save $19.99 versus buying each episode individually through iTunes.
As we stated at the beginning of this guide, Vudu is our runner-up choice for watching Star Wars online and only falls shortly behind the offerings of Amazon due to supported devices. Like Amazon and iTunes, Vudu offers all of the current films within the Star Wars franchise up to the recent release of The Last Jedi.
Purchasing an episode of Star Wars through Vudu will cost the same as Amazon, but this service also offers a higher-tiered option for delivery in 4K UHD (with compatible devices). For rentals, Vudu offers slightly cheaper pricing starting at $2.99 and has more rental offers on Star Wars movies than Amazon.
Many of you have probably heard of Fandango, an online service for buying tickets to movie theaters, but the company actually has an online video distribution platform much like Amazon Instant Video and Vudu. Pricing seems to match Amazon and Vudu in most cases, although Vudu does beat it in rental fees about a dollar on select episodes.
The most popular online video streaming service, Netflix, does offer some Star Wars content but it is very limited compared to the earlier non-subscription options listed above. For example, right now Netflix only has Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as well as The 3D animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars available in their content library. This may still be a great option to watch Star Wars online free if you haven't seen Rogue One but won't get you much farther.
Why You Shouldn't Illegally Watch Star Wars Films Online
Let's face it, the Internet has changed our lives and the way we consume information on a daily basis. Included in this is the way we choose to receive our entertainment. In the past, you'd have to go to a movie theater to watch a series like Star Wars, but now you can enjoy the movie from the comfort of your own home with the click of a button.
However, with this convenience of the Internet comes the temptation to pirate or illegally watch Star Wars online through an illicit website or service. While we already know that some of you will read this section and still go with this route, we want to share a few reasons why we think it is important to access the Star Wars movies online legally:
1) Watching Unlicensed Films Is Against The Law & Faces Legal Risks
According to U.S. copyright law, the consumption or distribution of unlicensed material without prior written approval from the copyright holder is highly illegal.
In most cases, there are companies like the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) monitoring the downloading or illegal viewing of movies although their main targets are the file-sharing services or owners of the illegal websites themselves.
Will you get caught for just participating and watching a pirated movie? Unlikely, but entirely possible as a small number of users each year are prosecuted (under 10,000 cases annually), and the punishments can be rather harsh:
- Up to 5 years of jail time
- Monetary fines up to $150,000 per file (in this case per film)
- Additional lawsuits to cover copyright holder's legal fees and damages
For further information about online piracy and the potential risks, read these sources:
2) Illicit Websites Offering Free Streaming Have Risks & Can Be Harmful
It is no secret that you can find free websites to stream or watch Star Wars online via Google or through services such as torrents, but know that there is a serve risk in using these forms of illegal distribution. Beyond the legal implications, the vast majority of these unlawful resources can actually cause harm to your device through hidden manipulation.
For example, the Telegraph recently came across a study which discovered a whopping 90% of all illegal TV and film websites in the U.K. contain a form of malware or other types of programs whose sole purpose was to defraud users. Within these types of risks include phishing scams, malware, spyware, viruses, identity theft, ransomware and financial hacking.
Some of you will breeze over these warnings and continue utilizing these illegal methods as it saves you a couple of bucks in the end. While we can't stop you, we just want to remind you of one thing to keep in mind. If a random website promises you the ability to watch Star Wars online free, but they ask you to provide personal information such as your name, email, address, credit card number, etc.) DO NOT provide them with it.
This is going to be a way to entice potential victims into being scammed 99% of the time, and you face serious risk providing any sensitive information into a random's stranger's hands who already has proven he has no concerns with breaking the law (he runs an illegal website already).
3) Revenue & Ratings Losses Risks The Future Of The Film Franchise
It is simple to understand that being able to watch a Star Wars film for free ends up saving you a small amount of money. However, this is technically stealing, and that lack of a transaction ends up making Disney (who purchased the rights to Star Wars) less money as you are taking their licensed content without paying for it.
The revenue made from Star Wars films are used for a large assortment of things, but paying the actors, writers and production staff responsible for creating this excellent sci-fi franchise. This hurts the entertainment industry as a whole since there is less incentive to produce more Star Wars episodes or spin-offs if they aren't continuing to make a decent profit.
Additionally, the metrics of which the digital purchases ofStar Wars are calculated to help determine the success of the films beyond the box office. By choosing to illegally consume the movies outside of the measurable and revenue-generating means, the studio is not able to receive an accurate depiction of how many people actually watched their films.
Piracy ultimately becomes a huge issue for the entertainment industry as it makes filmmaking less profitable and also less calculated as to whether the film or TV show is successful or not. Plenty of good shows and movie franchises are canceled despite large followings because too many people are tuning in without proper compensation to the content owners.
If you enjoy the Star Wars franchise as much as we do, then we ask that you show your support to Disney and continue to pay for legal access to their film content. This will ensure that the studio and content creators will have the ability to keep making a living producing such great films as they have with Star Wars and it will also ensure that the franchise has many for movies to be released in the future.
At this point, you have made it to the conclusion of our guide, and we hope you found it helpful! While all of the options listed in this article might be the right choice for your needs, we have determined Amazon Instant Video the best option for most people to watch Star Wars online.
As a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and our Managing Editor, Colt loves testing out the newest tech products/services. His goal is to help better educate other consumers to ensure the most satisfying purchases decisions on consumer electronics and services. When he is not working on creating new content, Colt enjoys spending time with his two Australian Shepherds, Mia and Zoey.