Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
Catch up on the prequel trilogy before Star Wars: The Force Awakens is released on 17 DecemberLucasfilm Ltd/Image.net

As if we really needed to tell you, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is released in the UK on 17 December. While the plot occurs 30 years after the events of Return Of The Jedi, they will undoubtedly be linked to all that happened in the six earlier films.

Not everyone has the time to sit through that many films in one day. To help you out, IBTimes UK has recapped the prequel trilogy of movies from The Phantom Menace to Revenge Of The Sith, (here's our recap of the original trilogy), just in time to get you prepared for all things Episode VII...

Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Star Wars: Episode I
Jedi master Qui-Gon Jin (Liam Neeson) and apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi meet Anakin Skywalker, a gifted young slave with a strong sense for the ForceLucasfilm Ltd

Galactic Republic Leader, Supreme Chancellor Valorum sends Jedi master Qui-Gon Jin (Liam Neeson) and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) to negotiate with the Trade Federation to end a blockade of battleships around the planet Naboo. Darth Sidious, a Sith lord and Trade Federation adviser, orders a Federation Viceroy to kill the pair and invade Naboo with an army of battle droids, but the Jedi manage to flee before they are attacked.

Later, they rescue Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman), ruler of Naboo, and escape on her royal starship. Her ship lands for repairs on desert planet Tatooine, where they meet young slave Anakin Skywalker, a gifted pilot and engineer.

Sensing a strong ability with the Force in Anakin, Qui-Gon believes he is "the chosen one" of Jedi prophecy who will bring balance to their worlds. Anakin joins the group to be trained as a Jedi. En route to their repaired starship, Qui-Gon is attacked by Darth Maul, Darth Sidious's apprentice who was sent to capture Amidala.

The group escort Amidala to Republic capital planet Coruscant so she can fight for her people in front of Chancellor Valorum in the Galactic Senate. Meanwhile, Qui-Gon asks the Jedi council whether he can train Anakin, but when the council refuse after sensing aspects of the dark side within him, Qui-Gon vows to train him.

Meanwhile, Naboo senator Palpatine persuades Amidala to make a vote of no confidence in Valorum to elect a more capable chancellor to resolve the crisis on Naboo. Though she pushes for the vote, Amidala grows frustrated with the corruption in the Senate and decides to return to Naboo with the Jedi.

Back on Naboo, Padmé reveals herself to the Gungans as Queen Amidala and persuades them into an alliance against the Federation. Off in a starship hangar, Anakin gets hold of a vacant starfighter and joins the battle. He flies into the Federation's control ship and destroys it from within, deactivating the droid army. Simultaneously, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan battle Darth Maul, who fatally injures Qui-Gon before being cut in half by Obi-Wan. As he dies, Qui-Gon asks Obi-Wan to train Anakin.

Elsewhere, Palpatine is elected as the new Supreme Chancellor and Gunray is arrested. The Jedi Council promote Obi-Wan to Jedi knighthood and accept Anakin as Obi-Wan's apprentice.

Episode II - Attack Of The Clones

Star Wars: Episode II
A decade later, Anakin (Hayden Christensen) falls for Naboo leader Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman)Lucasfilm Ltd

Ten years on, the Galactic Republic becomes threatened by former Jedi Master Count Dooku and his Separatist movement. Now Senator, Padmé Amidala travels to Coruscant to create an army of the Republic to assist the Jedi against this new rival. After avoiding assassination on arrival, she is placed under the protection of Obi-Wan and Anakin, the latter of whom escorts Amidala back to Naboo, where the pair fall for one another.

Obi-Wan's involvement in the investigation of the attempted assassination leads him to ocean planet Kamino, where he discovers an army of clones is being produced for the Republic, with bounty hunter Jango Fett serving as their template. Obi-Wan concludes Fett is the man who tried to kill Amidala, and follows him and his clone son Boba to desert planet Geonosis via a homing beacon placed on their ship.

Elsewhere, Anakin has become troubled with constant visions of his mother in pain, and travels to Tatooine with Padmé to save her, but on their arrival the pair learn that his mother was abducted by Raiders and is most likely dead. Later, Anakin finds the Raiders' campsite where he discovers his mother has been tortured. Enraged, Anakin kills the Raiders. After revealing his deed to Padmé, Anakin says he wants to prevent death.

On Geonosis, Obi-Wan discovers a Separatist gathering led by Dooku, who he learns had authorised Padmé's assassination and is developing a new battle droid army together with Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray. Obi-Wan begins transmitting his findings to Anakin to relay to the Jedi Council but is captured in the process. With knowledge of the droid army, Palpatine sends his clones into battle.

Anakin and Padmé attempt to rescue Obi-Wan but are also captured. The three are sentenced to death but are saved by Jedi and clone troopers, led by Mace Windu and Yoda. As the clone and droid armies battle, Obi-Wan and Anakin intercept Dooku and the trio fight. Dooku wins, injuring Obi-Wan and severing Anakin's right arm with his lightsaber, but then Yoda arrives and engages the Count in a duel. Finding he is unable to defeat Yoda, Dooku flees.

Arriving at Coruscant, he delivers blueprints for a superweapon to his master, Darth Sidious, who confirms everything is going as planned. The Jedi are forced to acknowledge the beginning of the Clone Wars while Anakin is fitted with a robotic arm and secretly marries Padmé.

Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith

Stars Wars: Episode III
Will the dark side pull Anakin in? Read our synopsis and find out...Lucasfilm Ltd

Obi-Wan and Anakin lead an expedition to rescue a kidnapped Palpatine from Separatist commander General Grievous. After infiltrating their enemy's flagship, the pair encounter Dooku and begin fighting, which ends with Anakin killing Dooku with Palpatine's encouragement. Grievous flees the battle-torn ship, which the Jedi use to journey back to Coruscant. There, Anakin reunites with Padmé, who reveals she is pregnant. Initially excited, Anakin begins to have premonitions of Padmé dying in childbirth and becomes irked by the idea of him having a child.

Palpatine suggests Anakin join the the Jedi Council as his representative but the Council declines Anakin the rank of Jedi Master and orders him to monitor the Chancellor, putting an even further black mark over Anakin's allegiance with the Jedi. Palpatine entices Anakin with knowledge of the dark side, including the power to cheat death.

Palpatine later reveals himself as Sith lord Darth Sidious and Anakin reports the treachery to Windu, who subdues Palpatine in a subsequent lightsaber duel. But in a turn of faith, seduced by the promises of the dark side and the promise of saving Padmé if she ever comes to any harm, Anakin kills Windu. Anakin pledges himself to Palpatine, who hails him Darth Vader.

Palpatine issues an order for the clone troopers to kill their Jedi commanders and dispatches Vader and a legion of clones to kill everyone in the Jedi Temple; however, Obi-Wan (having killed Grievous on Utapau) and Yoda manage to survive. Hellbent on destruction, Vader murders the remaining Separatist leaders hiding on the volcanic planet Mustafar, while Palpatine addresses the Senate and transforms the Republic into the Galactic Empire, declaring himself Emperor. On their return home, Obi-Wan and Yoda learn of Anakin's treachery.

Concerned by Obi-Wan's beliefs that Anakin has turned dark, Padmé travels to Mustafar to confront him, while Obi-Wan stows away aboard her ship. When Vader discovers Obi-Wan, he accuses Padmé of betrayal and uses the Force to choke her into unconsciousness. Obi-Wan battles and dismembers Vader, who is then significantly burned by a volcanic river. Back on Coruscant, Yoda confronts Palpatine, but retreats after they somewhat draw in their duel in the Senate Chamber.

Obi-Wan takes Padmé to safety, where she gives birth to twins Luke and Leia before dying. Meanwhile, Palpatine salvages Vader's remaining body parts and brings him back to Coruscant, where his burned body is repaired with cybernetic limbs and a respiratory suit.

Palpatine informs Vader of Padmé's death, which devastates him. As Palpatine and Vader supervise the construction of the first Death Star, Obi-Wan and Yoda determine to hide the twins from Vader. Senator Bail Organa adopts Leia and takes her to Alderaan, while Obi-Wan delivers Luke to his stepfamily Owen and Beru Lars on Tatooine.