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This Is The Correct Order In Which To Watch The Twilight Movies

As of July 16, Netflix is home to all five "Twilight" franchise movies. What does that mean for the world at large? Well, for "Twilight" fans, it means that deciding what to binge over the weekend or after work just got a lot easier. For the rest of us, having all of the "Twilight" movies contained on a single platform for the next few months presents a prime opportunity to get properly acquainted with this YA supernatural drama. Based on Stephenie Meyers' smash hit book series released in the early 2000s, the "Twilight" franchise — also referred to as "The Twilight Saga" — follows the swoon-worthy love story of a human teen named Bella Swan (played by Kristen Stewart) and a vampire named Edward Cullen (played by Robert Pattinson). Bella and Edward are the definition of star-crossed lovers and their high school romance endures many a bumpy road, including an ancient and shadowy vampire ruling class looking to tear the couple apart and a local pack of werewolves who've struck an uneasy agreement with Edward and the rest of his vampire family.

Maybe you've been nervous to wade into the deep and all-encompassing waters of the "Twilight" world, or perhaps you started watching the franchise when it kicked off with 2008's "Twilight" but bailed somewhere along the way — either way, now is exactly the right time to watch the "The Twilight Saga." But, with five movies clocking in with 10-hour runtime, numerous characters to get acquainted with, and lots of lore to digest, where exactly should you begin? Luckily, there is one correct viewing order for all five "Twilight" movies because both the release date order of the movies matches the narrative order of the movies. 

Here's how the "Twilight" viewing order should go.

The best starting point for your Twilight Saga binge is Twilight, of course

The best place to begin "The Twilight Saga" is with the first movie, "Twilight." Released in 2008, this movie is the one that started it all. We're introduced to Bella Swan, a high schooler who moves to the small town of Forks, Washington, to live with her dad. As she settles into her new life, she is meets Edward Cullen, a handsome but very aloof student who, as the pair get to know each other better, reveals himself to be a vampire who has been alive for more than a century.

A few notable aspects of "Twilight" help lay the groundwork for the global hit franchise it will rapidly evolve into in the ensuing years. First off, "Twilight" is a movie that feels both like a contained, indie movie with a supernatural twist and a sweeping, big screen drama all at one. That's partially due to the well-adapted story penned by screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, partially thanks to Catherine Hardwicke's insightful-yet-offbeat direction, and partially thanks to Pattinson and Stewart's tangible onscreen chemistry, which serves as the foundation for the rest of the franchise. "Twilight" is also a perfect first movie in this official watch order because of all the great world-building it does right from the start. The cinematography helps establish the moody, dramatic world of the Pacific Northwest, where most of the franchise's action will play out. There's also plenty of screen time given to introducing each key character in Bella and Edward's respective families. And it also helps that "Twilight" treats the supernatural elements of the story seriously, taking time to lay out vampire history and lore through Edward's monologues and even making the rules of being of sparkly vampire sound plausible.

Next, it's time to watch The Twilight Saga: New Moon

After "Twilight," the next movie to fire up is 2009's "The Twilight Saga: New Moon." The second "Twilight" moves ups the ante in the drama department through a variety of very questionable decisions from both Bella and Edward. For a majority of the movie, the young lovebirds are separated following an incident where Edward's adopted brother, Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), nearly kills Bella. Bella is deeply depressed over Edward leaving and indulges in risky behavior in an effort to bring him back. She also grows closer to her childhood friend, Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who reveals himself to be a werewolf — one of many that are unique to the indigenous tribe he is part of.

"New Moon" is arguably the most emo entry in the "Twilight" franchise, but it delivers audiences a lot of memorable moments to chew on. Chief among those moments is the scene where Jacob reveals himself to Bella outside while it's raining (watch it here via YouTube) — a moment so jaw-dropping because it's so ridiculous and also because it offers a primo shot of Lautner's abs. And look, if there's one thing the "Twilight Saga" does well, it's serve audiences with numerous thirst-trap moments: Jacob taking off his shirt in the rain is the first of many. There is also the introduction of the Volturi, an ancient vampire triumvirate who rule over all of the vampires, at the end of the movie. While the Volturi as a group are only present to look menacing and help the franchise introduce the idea that vampires in the "Twilight" world can also have superpowers, it's Michael Sheen's gleefully unhinged performance as Aro, the lead of the Volturi, that makes the third act palatable. 

Then, it's time to get emo with The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

After "New Moon" comes "Eclipse," because if there's one thing "The Twilight Saga" is full of, it's moon imagery. By this point in the franchise, the "Twilight" movies have firmly established the Bella-Edward-Jacob love triangle, an essential aspect of the movies. It's a love triangle that divided the "Twilight" fandom for years, with fans picking the camp of Team Edward or Team Jacob, depending on which dude they thought was best for Bella. "Eclipse" should thank its lucky stars that it can devote a majority of its runtime to this tortured teen love triangle because it is an otherwise snooze-worthy movie with a fairly forgettable premise. 

While Bella tries to figure out her feelings for both Edward and Jacob, and Edward and Jacob both try to assert the dominance as the best supernatural boyfriend candidate, there's a string of murders happening in Seattle that alerts the Cullens to the fact a vampire is behind them. While the whole "Who is doing the murders?" isn't too terribly interesting, "Eclipse" offers us the consolation prize of Bryce Dallas Howard in the recast role of Victoria, a vampire villain from "Twilight" who returns here. Oh, and Howard is wearing perhaps one of the worst wigs ever used in the franchise, which is definitely a plus. Just as "New Moon" introduced the idea of vampires having X-Men-like superpowers, an idea that is integral to the final movies, "Eclipse" introduces through the Victoria-as-the-cause-of-serial-murders storyline the idea of what it's like to become a newborn vampire, both the intense process behind it and what it feels like in those first days. This is also essential to the final movies, which means "Eclipse" must come after "New Moon" in the "Twilight" viewing order.

The Twilight Saga nears its conclusion with Breaking Dawn - Part 1

Not only should you end your binge of "The Twilight Saga" with "Breaking Dawn – Part 1" and "Breaking Dawn – Part 2" in that order, but you should congratulate yourself for making it to the end of a truly epic franchise because ... you're ending with the horniest and most epic installments, also in that order. 

"Breaking Dawn – Part 1" sees Edward and Bella finally get married (right out of high school, mind you) and go on their honeymoon. This is where the horny part comes in and believe us when we say that it. Is. Incredible. And although "Breaking Dawn – Part 1" finally resolves the love triangle at the heart of "Eclipse" — and let's be real, Edward was always going to win — it also undergoes an incredible tonal shift from a story about a happily ever after for high school sweethearts to an almost Cronenberg-esque body horror piece involving Bella getting pregnant with a half-vampire baby. If you thought there was no room for surprises in "The Twilight Saga" think again. "Breaking Dawn – Part 1" is an incredible penultimate entry and one that's entirely unexpected if only because it covers so many major milestones in Edward and Bella's relationship. However, it is also a fairly inert entry from a narrative standpoint.

Complete your Twilight binge with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2

What is not narratively inert is "Breaking Dawn – Part 2," the final movie you will need to see in this official "Twilight Saga" franchise viewing order. 

"Breaking Dawn – Part 2" has perhaps one of the most buck-wild third act twists that rivals any M. Night Shyamalan joint, and it comes on the heels of some incredible story developments. Throughout the final "Twilight" movie, we see Bella finally become a vampire, which requires you to mentally pull up all that information about newborn vampires from "Eclipse." The final movie also sees the Cullens team up with Jacob and other werewolves, as well as the Cullens' global network of vampire allies, in order to fight the Volturi, which demands you remember all about vampire superpowers from "New Moon." Essentially, "Breaking Dawn – Part 2" does a cracking good job of tying up a lot of big franchise story threads related to vampire lore and Bella's ever-evolving relationship with Edward and the rest of the vampire community. It's often hard for franchises to stick the landing, so it's nice to see "The Twilight Saga" do it with this final entry.