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This question already has an answer here:

Why, after seeing Rogue One, in New Hope, does Leia send the plans to Obi-wan and not just send R2 back to the Alliance.

marked as duplicate by ibid, Blackwood, Politank-Z, KharoBangdo, Praxis Dec 28 '16 at 5:59

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    Related, possible duplicate: scifi.stackexchange.com/q/80654/51379 – Adamant Dec 28 '16 at 1:29
  • I don't see it as a duplicate of the other question. This is about why Leia just happened to bring the plans to Obi-Wan rather than bringing Obi-Wan to Alderaan. – RichS Dec 28 '16 at 2:23
  • @RichS "Duplicate" doesn't necessarily mean the questions are precisely, exactly the same. It means that the questions are similar and have the same answer. – jpmc26 Dec 28 '16 at 4:15
  • @jpmc26 Even so, I still see these as separate questions. The other question was posted before Rogue One so it lacks the key insight that Leia was on her way to Tatooine solely to get Obi-Wan, and that the Death Star plans ended up in her possession by happenstance. (Or by luck, kismet, or the Will of the Force) – RichS Dec 28 '16 at 4:21
  • @RichS That reasoning only hurts your case. The answers there explicitly state that Leia was coming to Tatooine to take Obi Wan back to Alderaan and only sent him the plans because of the attack, despite having been posted before Rogue One. There was enough in the dialog of the original movie to deduce that, so Rogue One apparently only builds on existing information. – jpmc26 Dec 28 '16 at 4:25
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Leia's mission was to bring Obi-Wan to Alderaan so he could aid the the Rebellion in destroying the Death Star. From the novelisation of Rogue One:

Bail nodded, the motion so small it seemed like all he could muster. "I agree. I must return to Alderaan to inform my people that there will be no peace...We will need every advantage."

It took Mon a moment to comprehend. Then she glanced to the closest other councilors and lowered her voice. "Your friend," she said. "The Jedi."

Bail nodded again. "He served me well during the Clone Wars and has lived in hiding since the Emperor's purge...Yes, I will send for him."

A Jedi, returning to fight against the Empire. it seemed an impossible thought, so Mon focused on what was not. "Captain Antilles's ship is docked with the Profundity for repairs, but it's nearly ready to go. The extraction should be simple; if it's not, his skills will be an asset."

...

"You'll need someone you can trust."

"I would trust her with my life," he said.

Later, in A New Hope, Leia makes her mission explicit:

LEIA: General Kenobi, years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars. Now he begs you to help him in his struggle against the Empire. I regret that I am unable to present my father's request to you in person, but my ship has fallen under attack and I'm afraid my mission to bring you to Alderaan has failed.

So the course of events becomes clear:

Leia was tasked with bringing Obi-Wan to Alderaan. The ship she was to take, the Tantive IV, was docked with Admiral Raddus's flagship, and so ended up in the middle of the Battle of Scarif. When the ship was boarded, the Tantive presented a last desperate hope to get the plans away from Scarif, and potentially into the hands of the Rebellion. Leia then proceeded with her original mission, but when she was captured she was forced to send the plans to Obi-Wan, in the hope that he could get them to the Rebels.

That Leia was carrying the plans when she reached Tatooine was happenstance, not the plan; that it worked out in the end must be considered the Will of the Force.

  • It is also possible that Leia had no choice but to proceed to Tatooine as originally planned. We know from ANH that it takes time to retarget a hyperdrive, and the Tantive had no time to do so if they were to have any hope of escape. Presumably, they were already "aimed" at Tatooine when the Imperial fleet arrived. In fact, that's probably the only reason they did escape: several other ships, presumably aimed at Yavin, were destroyed when their escape route was blocked by the Imperial fleet. – Harry Johnston Dec 28 '16 at 2:50

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