I always knew there were several different versions of the theft of the Death Star plans but my understanding was that before Disney, one of those many stories was granted "official" status and the rest weren't given the same level of canonicity. That is, until I read this i09 article today.

The article basically says that instead of picking a single story as the established canon, all these conflicting stories were smashed together to paint a larger picture of a heist that involved a bunch of different parties stealing bits and pieces of the plans at various times over the course of 2 years and then the disconnected data was compiled on the Tantive IV just before being loaded into R2D2.

Is this true? According to the pre-Disney Legends canon, were the conflicting stories retconned and mashed together? If not, which of the many variations is the "correct" one?

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    Well it does make sense for the Empire to make it hard to steal the plans – CHEESE Jan 25 '17 at 16:47
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    @CHEESE - Haha, certainly. More than anything else, my question is referring to the complexity of the retconning necessary to make it all jive. – TheIronCheek Jan 25 '17 at 16:53
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  • @NKCampbell - That answer is definitely related but not a dupe at all. None of the answers there say if or how those stories were combined to create the "official" canon story. – TheIronCheek Jan 25 '17 at 17:13
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    are you actually asking then if any Expanded Universe "Legends" material relating to the Death Star plans was used in the Rogue One storyline? I wouldn't consider that a dupe, but I think it should be re-worded if that is the case. But as currently asked, it's a dupe imo. And to answer the very last question - "Rogue One" is the only correct version in terms of official canon – NKCampbell Jan 25 '17 at 17:17

Yes, and it actually makes a sort of sense.

Let's get the obvious out of the way first; the reason the Legends Death Star Plan Heist is so complicated is because of video games; everyone wants to be the one who steals the plans, so we have many different games that cover that.

The original explanation from Star Wars: Empire At War was that the Death Star plans were scattered in chunks that had to be combined, turning the collection of the plans into a complex mcguffin hunt that explains away some of the problems, but really just seems contrived.

You don't need a contrived explanation for why the Legends canon had such a complex story. In fact, I'd argue you need a good excuse for the now Canon story of a single mercenary squad taking the ENTIRE plans out of an external hard drive and transmitting it to orbit, where it then had to be physically carried to it's destination on Tantive IV. (Apparently uploading through shields and scrambling is faster than a local area network, but I digress.)

The Death Star was constructed all over the Empire. The superlaser was designed in The Maw, the Hypermatter core was built by Sienar Fleet Systems, and various other components would have been constructed everywhere else. What the Rebels needed were complete technical readouts because they needed to find a weakness in the system as a whole.

As such, the rebels scrounged up what data they could gather, when they could gather it. This data was spread out in various computers and networks, on the Death Star itself, and apparently transmitted through the Holonet, where some of the plans were "intercepted" by rebels.

I would argue that the Rebels never got the "final" "complete" plans for the Death Star, because there were no "final" "complete" plans. Blueprints for buildings have to be edited and modified as changes are made to the structure; the book Death Star shows that many, many changes had to be made during construction, moving entire hallways and pieces of the superstructure. In fact, the secondary exhaust port that eventually destroys the station is almost edited away by a character!

What Leia gives R2-D2 is the complete summation of what the Rebel Alliance has gathered to this time, in hopes that it'll be enough to destroy the Death Star; she's being captured and it's the only way to get the data down the line. Later, when it's revealed that the Death Star is coming to the rebel base, they need to make do with the plans they have...

...and even those are wrong! The superstructure shown during the briefing shows the superlaser dish on the equator, as part of the trench structure. Luckily, the old blueprints showed the accurate location of the exhaust port they needed to destroy, the port wasn't moved or deleted during construction, and the plans for the engine core were accurate enough to predict an explosion. Luckily enough, they didn't need anything more accurate than that; if they had had to storm the base, or do anything even moderately more complex to handle the weakness, it was likely they would have ended up failing.

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    You make a good case for it making sense to be spread out and collected in chunks. So, Empire at War retconned the stories together, basically saying that each adventure was a story about collecting a certain piece of the puzzle? – TheIronCheek Jan 25 '17 at 17:18
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    I like this retconning of the dish location inconsistency. :) – Z. Cochrane Jan 25 '17 at 17:37
  • @TheIronCheek pretty much, yeah. They had to find the bits and stick them together; what made Tantive IV so dangerous to the Empire is that they had the entire readout, instead of bits and pieces. – Zoey Boles Jan 25 '17 at 18:49
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    "(Apparently uploading through shields and scrambling is faster than a local area network, but I digress.)" Never underestimate the power and efficiency of a sneaker-net. (Especially when said sneakers are being pursued by a Dark Lord of the Sith.) – Ghotir Jan 25 '17 at 23:05
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    True, @Ghottir! My hero, Andy S Tannenbaum made a similar statement about the bandwidth of a station wagon full of data tapes. Unfortunately, Star Wars was filmed in the 70s, so Vader had to complain about "data tapes" and "intercepting transmissions." This doesn't change the fact that Tantive IV could have loaded those tapes into memory and burned copies before being stopped at Tatooine according to the on-screen data transmission and write times. It's carelessness on their part to only have one copy when R2-D2 escapes with the plans. – Zoey Boles Jan 25 '17 at 23:19

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