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When Vader first attempts to board the Rebel Blockade Runner at the end of Rogue One, we see Vader board first. After he slaughters several Rebel soldiers, we see that his Stormtroopers have come behind him. Now this is the exact opposite of what happens at the beginning of A New Hope; the Stormtroopers go ahead of Vader and several of them get killed.

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    My gut instinct is because he's in a hurry the first time around, boarding with his troops via shuttle but can board the Tantive IV at his leisure in the latter film since it's completely enveloped by his Star Destroyer. – Valorum Jan 29 '17 at 20:43
  • @Valorum I thought it the very opposite there. He had an enemy ship disabled in rogue one so he had more time there.....in new hope he had an enemy ship who could overload its reactor any time sitting in his hangar.....I dare say time was of essence almost more so in the second situation. – Thomas Jan 30 '17 at 20:35
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    @Thomas - Vader's barrage had already resulted in the reactor being disabled. - "“Did you hear that?” he inquired rhetorically of his patient companion, referring to the throbbing sound. “They’ve shut down the main reactor and the drive.”" – Valorum Jan 30 '17 at 20:37
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Darth Vader is not afraid of a couple of Rebels... and he doesn't board Tantive IV until Tattoine.

The MC75 cruiser Profundity, owned by Admiral Raddis, was the ship that received the "stolen data tapes." It's disabled by the Star Destroyer Devistator, at which point Vader and stormtroopers board to locate the data.

At this time, the Empire is not aware of the blockade runner located in the docking bay of Profundity.

Once Darth Vader becomes aware of Tantive IV, he figures out where the tapes are going, and makes a mad dash to catch them; he's in front of his stormtroopers because he doesn't have time to wait. He's got the skills and speed to mow through a handful of retreating troops scrambling to evacuate... but even with his head start, he comes up short at the airlock as Tantive IV escapes.

The situation is way different when they've caught up with the blockade runner and board her. For one, he's not chasing after a few scrambling rag-tag rebels throwing wild shots behind them. Darth Vader is boarding an enemy ship, from a known entry point, through unknown defenses, with defenders who are expecting him, and who have entrenched defenses, and unlike before, he doesn't know where exactly the tapes are.

Sure, Vader is such a bad-ass he could probably have pulled a Kool-Aid man and charged through the door, but it's way more prudent to let a Forlorn Hope squad through at first, to breach the doorway and set up a beachhead. He'll need a lot of troops to search the ship, anyway.

  • It might be a little clear if the first sentence ends with "... and he doesn't board the Tantive IV during the events of Rogue One" or maybe "...Tantive IV just yet." Because he does board it, just almost immediately later but in the next movie. A little less confusing that way, especially for the tl:dr's out there. – Mufasa Jan 30 '17 at 17:22
  • Good catch, @Mufasa. – Zoey Boles Jan 30 '17 at 17:34
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We're most likely never going to see that missing 10mins between Rogue One and New Hope, but I thought this was strange at 1st too (Mostly because of my lust to see Vader slaughtering people). Then it hit me though, Vader boards with a party of a couple small ships. The Tantive IV jumps to into hyperspace with Vadar watching still on the rebel ship that the Tantive IV detached from right? In New Hope the Tantive IV is pulled in by a tractor beam of a Star Destroyer. So connecting the dots, the Tantive IV makes the jump, the Star Destroyer immediately follows, Vader has to return back to his ship, make the jump himself and because he's a few mins behind, shows up a little late to the party. Which explains why the stormtroopers have complete control of the ship before Vader gets there.

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One thing to keep in mind is also the personality of Vader. He is still like Anakin. Thus he does not lead from the safe back but instead from the front. And his fall to the dark side also brought out more brutal tendencies than anything else...thus he is even more prone to lead from the front.

In rogue one the ship is boarded after getting disabled. Vader naturally was among his men there and boaded the ship. Rushing towards the data as fast as possible when he found out where it was. Then it escaped.

As he had to reach the rebel flagship with his troops it can be assumed that they used shuttles to do so. Thus he had enough time to land/board at the same time as his troops.

The next time the Tantive IV was seen was over Tatooine. Here though it was different from before. We see the corvette get disabled and docked within mere minutes. During the fight we CAN assume that Vader was on the bridge and when the corvette docked he was on his way to the docking ramp (probalby first waiting to make sure not another surprise happens). As no time was to be wasted though the stormtroopers boarded the corvette as fast as possible.

So in essence.....the difference is a matter of time. In rogue one there was more time between disabling and boarding the ship so Vader successfully made his way towards the enemy ship at the same time as his troops. In a new hope there was not enough time for him to get from the bridge onto the enemy ship before his troops already boarded it (and they had to board it immediately.....letting an enemy ship sit within ones hangar even disabled could get the said enemies to get wrong ideas like overloading their reactor to take the star destroyer out with them, ...).

At least that is the impression I got from watching both films (never read the novels, so not 100% if the "time difference" also comes up in them or not).

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