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Is there any indication from the movie, or other official material, on how long the Rebellion spent studying the stolen Death Star plans before they found out about the exhaust port vulnerability?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

According to Wookieepedia, there is a range of less than 16 days in which it could have happened. I don't know that I 100% agree with their estimation, but here's how they break it down.

They posit that that means that The Battle of Yavin took place somewhere between 0 BBY (35:3:5) and 0 BBY (35:3:21)

To me, this is narrow-sighted, assuming that the Battle of Dathomir must have taken place on almost the exact anniversary of the Battle of Yavin. It's been years since I read The Courtship of Princess Leia, but I can't find any reference to the battle being specifically on that anniversary.

If you follow their logic, that's 16 days from the Dissolution until the actual battle, but one must also shave off time for the events aboard the Death Star and travel time from there to Yavin. Unfortunately, we all know that travel times in Star Wars are all screwed up.

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Purely theoretically, it's at most 14 days, as we know that we must subtract at least 1 day for Luke buying the droids and losing R2, and then another day wondering around the planet looking for R2. –  DVK Dec 31 '12 at 18:13
    
Also, your answer doesn't include a possibility that the Rebels actually had the plans before Millenium Falcon reached Yavin (and before the dissolution of the Senate) –  DVK Jan 1 '13 at 11:15
    
Well, even you agreed that that wasn't a possibility. –  phantom42 Jan 1 '13 at 14:52
    
- I agreed it's a possibility and checked it out :) –  DVK Jan 1 '13 at 17:36
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A full timeline of the plan retrieval on Wookiepedia (assembled from both movie G-canon and EU C-canon) confirms that the rebel command did not have access to the plans until Millenium Falcon delivered R2-D2 to Yavin 4.

How long did Jan Dodonna and company have to study the plans? That's hard to say.

According to The Movie Trilogy Sourcebook, the analysis took at least several hours, since it involved Dodonna preparing to go to sleep after not finding a solution; and getting to the idea after telling a child a story about killing a dragon via a chink in its armor. Realistically, it should be somewhere between 8 and 48 hours, since I doubt he would have gone to sleep without trying for at least 8 hours, and unlikely to have been able to function without sleep for 3 days straight.

Please note that we don't have a good official date estimate: the best Wookiepedia can do for the battle itself is "35:3:5 and 35:3:21" (the former is dissolution of Imperial Senate that we know preceded the battle as Vader informed Leia about it after capturing Tantive IV, and the latter is subtracting 8 years from a Dathomir battle whose date is known and happened at least 8 years after Yavin). This is explored in detail in @phantom's answer, but doesn't help much to narrow things down (since we can't assume Dodonna went without sleep for a full 16 days).

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