Tantive IV is the ship used by Leia in Rogue One and A New Hope.

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Tantive has the feel of the end of an English adjective. (I think of substantive.) This wouldn't be dissimilar to the names of Darths (inVader, inSidious, Maul) which are inspired by evil-sounding English words.

Do we have any (presumably out-of-universe) explanation for the selection of this name?

Less likely: Any explanation for the selection of the numeral IV?

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    Possibly named after the planet called Tantive IV? Just a guess, I don't know enough to make an answer. – user57650 Jan 18 '17 at 16:02
  • @EᴀsᴛᴇʀʟʏIʀᴋ Unlikely, since the planet is Legends and was likely invented after the ship was named. – Null Jan 18 '17 at 16:14
  • I've had another look and I can't find anything more to add to my answer. Is there anything more you'd want me to address before considering an acceptance? – Valorum Oct 1 '17 at 13:47
  • I think that the inspiration for the name of Darth Vader was a take on the German word for Father, which is Vater, and that the intended "hidden meaning" was a kind of wordplay on "Dark Father" – Sekhemty Mar 2 '18 at 8:57
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    @steenbergh Thanks for the clarification, I do not speak Dutch. Anyway, I wrote that the German word is Vater, not Vader. – Sekhemty Mar 2 '18 at 9:02


According to the Star Wars: Blueprints - Rebel Edition factbook, the Tantive IV was renamed in honour of representatives from the distant Tantive system.

The Corellian Engineering Corvette CR90 is the starship of choice for everyone from respectable diplomats to notorious pirates. More than a decade before the Clone Wars, Queen Mazicia Organa of the planet Alderaan commissioned the Star of Alderaan to serve as a consular vessel for Senator Agrippa Aldrete. After the queen's son, Bail Organa, ascended to Viceroy and became a Senatorial representative, he renamed the ship the Tantive IV in tribute to visiting ambassadors from the Tantive system. It served House Organa for 30 years until its capture by the Empire, after which Darth Vader ordered it be destroyed.

Star Wars: Blueprints - Rebel Edition

Star Wars Insider Magazine identifies the fourth planet of the Tantive System as having engaged in an exchange of arts and artists with Alderaan prior to the renaming of the ship.

The fourth planet in the Tantive system is home to the Tantive Gallery of Progressive Arts, a sister gallery to Alderaan's own Aldera Museum of Modern Expression. A cultural exchange program of art and artists preceded the naming of the starship.

Star Wars Insider #90

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Image Courtesy of The Official Star Wars Fact File #11 - "Tantive IV: Blockage Runner"

Out of Universe

The ship's name wasn't included in the original script or film novelisation. The ship was merely referred to as a "blockade runner".

The awesome yellow planet of Tatooine emerges from a total eclipse, her two moons glowing against the darkness. A tiny silver spacecraft, a Rebel Blockade Runner firing lasers from the back of the ship, races through space.

Star Wars: A New Hope - Final Draft Script

The name 'Tantive IV' was subsequently added by Brian Daley for the (NPR) Star Wars Radio Play. According to Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo (in Star Wars Insider #90), the name was based on the obscure English word "Tantivy" meaning 'to gallop at full speed'

  • So I guess Tantive III from Episode 3 was named after the third planet of that system? I wonder what was on it – Petersaber Jan 18 '17 at 20:38
  • are those resources Disney / official canon? (still gets my vote - just curious) – NKCampbell Jan 18 '17 at 20:59
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    @NKCampbell - All of the references above are considered "Legends" canon. The name Tantive IV is fully (Disney) canon, but the explanation of where the name came from is not. – Valorum Jan 18 '17 at 21:02
  • In early works (such as the 1982 Jedi Master's Quiz Book, which was, admittedly, complied by a middle school student), it was often unclear whether "Blockade Runner" was the proper name of the ship, the name of its model/series, or merely a description of its function. – Buzz Jan 18 '17 at 22:30
  • No explanation of how the word came to be ? – ThePopMachine Jan 19 '17 at 5:42

The word "tantivy" was A.Word.A.Day's 'Word of the Day' a few days ago (https://wordsmith.org/words/tantivy.html). Made me think of this ship. It means: adverb: At full gallop; at full speed. noun: A fast gallop; rush. adjective: Swift.

Good name for a fast ship.

  • Is there anything that suggests these two are similar. While certainly likely, canon sources stating the fact would be beneficial to your answer. – Edlothiad Mar 2 '18 at 6:26
  • @Edlothiad "Tantive" and "tantivy" look similar, which would possibly be the connection. As the answer is an out-of-universe explanation, there can be no "canon sources stating the fact". Mind you, Safari's spellcheck doesn't think "tantivy" is a word – Matthew Barclay Mar 2 '18 at 15:46

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