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As I am sure most of us non-donkey riding folk here on SFF are familiar with...

Facts:

  • Princess Leia was traveling on the Tantive IV trying to get the stolen plans of the Death Star back to Alderaan and picking up Obi-Wan up long the way.
  • Princess Leia is so named because she is part of the royal family on Alderaan.
  • She is also a member of the Imperial Senate (which is located on Coruscant).

Why would Leia claim she was on a "diplomatic mission" to Alderaan?

Real-life example, would a Senator who was in Washington claim he was going on a diplomatic mission to his home state? I understand inter-planetary travel is over much further distances... but still Leia was just "visiting home".

This also makes less sense when you see where Coruscant and Alderaan are located in relation to Tatooine... Coruscant and Alderann and practically next door neighbors in Galactic terms while Tatooine is in the Outer Rim. galaxy

Regardless of the real reason they went there... should she have claimed that she was on a diplomatic mission to Tatooine instead, to make ruse somewhat believable?

It makes even more suspicious that the Death Star was being built near Geonosis and guess what, Tatooine right next door!

What was Leia's reasoning behind being near Tatooine when she was supposed to be going to Alderaan?

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    If a policeman stopped a US Senator and demanded to know why they were out of their assigned State, the Senator would most likely pull rank and tell them to get stuffed, then arrange for that policeman to spend the rest of their very very short career regretting their impertinence. Leia seems to be trying to play the "it's none of your business" card. – Valorum May 14 '16 at 13:26
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    @Randal'Thor - Ah, the difference being that if a UK MP tried that same thing, they'd destroy their own career faster than you can say "Sun Exclusive" – Valorum May 14 '16 at 13:52
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    She doesn't say she was coming from Coruscant. She says that she's a member of the Senate, and she also says she's on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan. Her origin point could well have been an Outer Rim planet, and/or one that is known to sympathize with Rebels. – TylerH May 14 '16 at 20:02
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    When you get a PhD, all of your appointments become "doctors appointments". When you become a diplomat, all of your whims become "Diplomatic Missions". – zzzzBov May 14 '16 at 23:46
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    Out of universe: many parts of the predicate for your question were years away from being conceived, much less canon, when Star Wars was filmed. The map is a good example. One thing straight from the movie that could give us pause is the question of how Tatooine could be anywhere near or on the way to Alderaan when the latter is likely to be near "the bright center of the Galaxy" and the former is "the planet that is farthest from" that center. – Todd Wilcox May 15 '16 at 3:55
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Real-life example, would a Senator who was in Washington claim he was going on a diplomatic mission to his home state? I understand inter-planetary travel is over much further distances... but still Leia was just "visiting home".

Princess Leia is the appointed Senator representing Alderaan in the Imperial Senate. For the duration of her appointment to this office, she is permanently stationed in Coruscant. It is not uncommon for a Senator to be dispatched on official business back to the systems he/she represents. This is what you officially call "on official business/diplomatic mission/etc. to [home-system]". The wording "visiting home" is used only when it means "returning to [home-system] on vacation".

This also makes less sense when you see where Coruscant and Alderaan are located in relation to Tatooine... Coruscant and Alderann and practically next door neighbors in Galactic terms while Tatooine is in the Outer Rim.

Regardless of the real reason they went there... should she have claimed that she was on a diplomatic mission to Tatooine instead, to make ruse somewhat believable?

It's simple: Leia already knew that she's caught. She's not genuinely trying to stage a ruse - she is only stalling for time to give R2-D2 as much of a headstart as she can get to make contact with Obi-Wan Kenobi. If she genuinely believed that such a ruse has a significant chance of success, would she have resisted the Star Destroyer's attempt to board her ship? After all, which Imperial officer will believe that she is on official Senate business after her ship locked down access from approaching Imperial military, and fired on Stormtroopers attempting to board the ship? Truly loyal Imperial citizens would not have resisted even when fired upon.

It makes even more suspicious that the Death Star was being built near Geonosis and guess what, Tatooine right next door!

This is untrue. While the Death Star started construction in Geonosis, it had been transported to a different base (location unmentioned in canon) in its final stage of construction, years before the events of A New Hope.

In conclusion, the reason Leia said what she did is quite simple: She knows she is caught and there is no escape, so her plan is simply to do whatever it takes to buy R2-D2 time to escape and make contact with Obi-Wan Kenobi, completing her true Rebel mission (recruiting Obi-Wan into the cause). That includes trying to troll Darth Vader.

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    "That includes trying to troll Darth Vader." +1 just for that :D In addition to a great answer! – Kevin May 15 '16 at 7:34
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    @Kevin And ironically, that includes trying to troll her father. – user11521 May 16 '16 at 5:22
  • @Michael I get it now, "Darth Vader" isn't a name or title, he's trying to tell people he's their father, but the mask makes it hard to articulate.... :O We figured it out guys! – Kevin May 16 '16 at 8:37
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Hmmm.... I think it makes sense because of the way the Senate works... She could have been sent to Alderaan by the senate as someone from the royal family to put to them some point that the senate wanted then to do/help with/trade with etc. So it would be a diplomatic mission but with someone who could talk them into whatever the senate was wanting because of the close relationship with the royal family.

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    It's a diplomatic mission because she's a diplomat and she's on her way somewhere – Valorum May 14 '16 at 14:52
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    @Richard The old "Because I said so!" reason for being there? – Rincewind May 14 '16 at 15:52
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    She's a Senator. That should, theoretically, be enough to get her out of a tight jam. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to her, the Emperor is within days of declaring the Senate defunct and switching over to the Tarkin Doctrine to keep order. – Valorum May 14 '16 at 16:02
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    Season 2 of Rebels establishes that Leia does do relief missions that are sometimes also cloaked as rebellion activities. She may have been leaving a different location (Ryloth for example) and been on her way to Alderaan for a new mission. This would make her statement true as well as account for her current location. Also - what is the canonicity of the above map? Not that it matters terribly much, but I wonder what the new canon says about system locations. Ultimately, I think Richard has it right here - diplomatic immunity doesn't apply only if you are working in an official capacity. – NKCampbell May 14 '16 at 16:26
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A diplomatic mission doesn't begin when you leave home and end when you reach your destination … it ends once you've safely reached home again.

She was simply saying:

The purpose of my travel is diplomacy and, as such, you sir have no business questioning me on any part of it. Get tae frak.

The fact that she was — in this hypothetical scenario — on the home stretch is irrelevant.

2

Because of the nature of hyperspace travel, Leia could have been anywhere rimward of Tatooine on the Corellian Run, or in the Outer Rim in the same sector (where they would have travelled across, before turning onto the Corellian Run) she would pass Tatooine while taking a diplomatic message from that world to her home world, which was an important centre for trade (and... rebelliousness) which would give her reason to travel past Tatooine on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan.

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Its a terrible excuse. She came from scariff. Why was she near scariff anyway. Her ship is not fitted to fight

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    Could Tatooine not be between Scariff and Alderaan? – Edlothiad Jan 5 '18 at 23:16
  • No its not Tattoine is close to scarriff alderqn is in the ither side of the galaxy. To get to tattoing from scarriff you fly away from the direction of alderan – Colin Mcmahon Jan 24 '18 at 17:06
  • So it could be between the two? – Edlothiad Jan 24 '18 at 23:04
  • Tatooine is south alderan is north. She went south and said she went north – Colin Mcmahon Jan 26 '18 at 14:54

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