What is the importance of one rebel/smuggler ship that he is so obsessed with getting his hands on it?

As far as I can tell, he has no way of sensing who was on board (neither could he have seen Leia running into it, nor did Leia seem to pop up on his force-radar). However, he could sense that Luke wasn't on board (he didn't state this, but I think it's a reasonable assumption). Also he had no way of knowing that the Falcon's crew consisted of close friends of Luke (to use as lure). Note that he didn't seem to bother to send star destroyers after the escaping rebel ships from Hoth.

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    You might think it a reasonable assumption, but it's equally reasonable to think he may have thought Leia WAS Luke, since he had no idea that Leia was his daughter until Episode VI. But, as stated in other answers, even just Han Solo would have been a valuable prize for multiple reasons. – Zibbobz Mar 11 '14 at 17:09

I need to pull up some canon sources, but going on pure logic,

  • He knew that Millennium Falcon was the ship which blew out his "almost saved Death Star 1 from Luke" attempt

  • He knew that Falcon was the ship that rescued Leia from DS1 earlier.

    So Falcon was heavily linked with Leia even from events in Episode IV, never mind intervening time between it and Hoth.

  • More likely than not, Vader also had an idea of who Han Solo was, since:

    • Vader was generally wired into intelligence, including from bounty hunters.

    • Solo had prior run-ins with both Imperials (he served as an Imperial officer, freed Chewbacca, was boarded during a Kessel Run, saved Nal Hutta from a rogue Imperial general, etc) and bounty hunters including Fett

    • Solo was considered to be on top of his profession. He was one of Jabba's top smugglers.

To use a modern term - a "high value target".

Also, remember that Vader was a relatively powerful Jedi Sith - he may have been able to have some precognitive skills. The Emperor certainly did, on a major scale.

  • So, if I understand you correctly, your tl;dr gist is: *Out of Revenge", right? – bitmask Feb 10 '12 at 0:41
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    @bitmask: I took "high value target" and the rest of this answer to mean, "The Millennium Falcon was almost certainly involved with the Rebellion, and was absolutely certainly an enemy of the Empire." Either Leia or Solo would be a valuable prisoner, for any number of reasons. – NorbyTheGeek Feb 10 '12 at 0:53
  • @NorbyTheGeek: Again, he had no indication that Leia would be on board. Apparently he knew the Falcon and Solo from previous encounters, but I don't see the link to Leia at all. – bitmask Feb 10 '12 at 1:01
  • @bitmask - Please re-read the second bullet point. Or better yet, re-watch ANH :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 10 '12 at 1:31
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    @bitmask - several EU books show that Imperial Intelligence was VERY good. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 28 '13 at 17:20

A comic Perfect Evil by Shin-Ichi Hiromoto seems to have been published to answer this question directly. The book tells of events immediately following the destruction of the first Death Star where Vader vows revenge on the rebel pilot who destroyed it (this isn't the main story arc of the comic, but the part that is relevant here).

Upon his return to Coruscant, Vader dispatches an intelligence officer to uncover the identity of the rebel pilot. Some time later, aboard his Star Destroyer (not the Executor), the officer contacts him with a holoprojection containing both the name and picture of the pilot Luke Skywalker. Vader remembers his face as the boy who fired on him after he killed Obi-Wan aboard the Death Star.

Vader then makes the assumption that this boy must be his son born to Padme before her death and changes his vow to "reunite" with him rather than act revenge on him.

I assume that since the comic is officially licensed, it would be considered "C" canon. Although, I can also see why considering it canon would be frowned upon because it seems linked to The Force Unleashed video game.

Information taken from a synopsis of the story at Wookieepedia


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    I forgot to include that since Vader saw Luke leave in the MF. The MF is his only good "lead" on finding Luke, leading to recklessly following it into an asteroid field. – demanufacture Feb 10 '12 at 13:01
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    "That is why your friends are made to suffer." Also, that comment IS the answer. It's a trap! – Mazura Jan 5 '16 at 3:47
  • This comic violently conflicts with the canon established in the Marvel Vader comic. – Valorum Jun 8 at 9:00

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