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I don't mean the plans, pictures, etc., I mean the actual thing.

Had she actually seen it with her own eyes before she was taken on board as a prisoner?

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    I'm at a loss why this has gotten a downvote. It's a perfectly sensible question, especially given that Rogue One may directly show the process by which she received the plans. – Valorum Dec 7 '16 at 23:41
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No. According to the new (and fully canon) ANH novelisation, Leia hadn't seen the Death Star before. When she collected the plans in orbit of Scarif, her ship was apparently isolated in the hold of a larger Rebel capital ship which could explain why she didn't see it.

These are her thoughts as she first arrived at the Death Star (with Vader) after having been removed from the Tantive IV.

Leia spun back toward the viewport. She was still, after everything, expecting to see Coruscant, the capitol planet. But there was only a small gray moon hovering in the sea of stars.
A moon that wasn’t orbiting a planet? No, it had to be a small planet. It grew larger…larger…larger as they moved toward it, until it filled the viewport completely.
Leia’s heart sank to her feet.
That wasn’t…
It couldn’t be…
How…?
The stars weren’t winking around the hulking sphere as she’d first thought. The flickering lights were swarms of TIE fighters moving in formation, screeching as they passed the approaching Devastator. Those weren’t craters marring the sphere’s surface, but plating and towers. The large crater she’d spotted right away was no crater at all—it almost looked like a circular dish.

A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy

Interestingly the implication seems to be that she wasn't actually aware that the station was fully operational, merely that it was planned.

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  • Hmmm couldn't it be also read as complete and utter shock at being transported THERE instead of Coruscant? – Thomas Dec 8 '16 at 8:45
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    @Thomas - It's hard to see how it could be read that way. She's not just shocked at seeing it, she's surprised by its appearance and presence, neither of which would be the case if she was seeing it for a second time. This doesn't remove the possibility that she simply wasn't near a viewport or viewscreen when they collected the plans (like how Meg Ryan keeps missing out on seeing the Eiffel Tower in 'French Kiss') – Valorum Dec 8 '16 at 10:37
  • I wasn't sure if it couldn't be interpreted also the other way as english isn't my first language so wasn't 100% if it was really that strongly going into that one way – Thomas Dec 8 '16 at 16:02
  • @Thomas - if she'd seen it before, she wouldn't have mistaken it for a moon (a common enough mistake!). – Valorum Dec 8 '16 at 16:13
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    This likely means that she wasn't fully aware of the contents of the plans she was carrying on the Tantive IV. I guess we'll find out this weekend if Rogue One will hold true to this notion. – TheIronCheek Dec 13 '16 at 21:15
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I've just came back from the Rogue One, and this contradicts previous information. It wasn't clearly said but it seemed that Leia never saw the Death Star or its destructive power before.

Leia is on the Tantive IV (as in the beginning of Episode IV) during the final battle on Scarif, which was docked to the command ship. She must have seen the Death Star destroy the planet. However, in this case they didn't use the full power, so she didn't see the instant annihilation the Death Star demonstrated in episode IV.

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  • There is no statement in the question that could contradict previous information, in fact there is no statement at all in the question. If you are referring to another answer, you should do that by commenting on the answer. – Blackwood Dec 16 '16 at 3:25
  • I mean it goes against what you would infer from the information available before. Not sure how to word it better. – meneldal Dec 16 '16 at 4:50
  • I'm afraid I'm not sure what you mean. "What" goes against the information available before "what"? – Blackwood Dec 16 '16 at 4:57
  • Information available before rogue one. I'm editing it in now. – meneldal Dec 16 '16 at 8:33
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    @meneldal They didnt destroy the planet. They just created a huge explosion with a blast of several hundred kilometers. Leia might not be looking through the viewport at that moment, as they might be focusing all their attention to the fight and flight. – Sebustyan Dec 16 '16 at 9:59

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