In Star Wars episode IV A New Hope we see a Star Destroyer chasing the Tantive IV, which was carrying the stolen Death Star plans. Is there a known reason the rebels didn't jump to hyperspace like:

  • The hyperspace recently having been used and overheated

or perhaps

  • The Tantive IV having no hyperdrive

or even

  • The Star Destroyer broke it while shooting at the ship

Are any of these the reason, or does nobody know?

  • 5
    Tantive IV had a hyperdrive - it's seen in action in the last scene of Rogue One. Commented May 27, 2017 at 18:57
  • 3
    when E4 opens - they have reached the destination (Tatooine) - they aren't really interested in running as much as delivering the stolen data
    – NKCampbell
    Commented May 27, 2017 at 19:01
  • 3
    Excuse my ignorence of Rogue One, but why was Tatooine the destination? Why wasn't the destination the rebel fleet? Commented May 27, 2017 at 19:03
  • 1

2 Answers 2


The Tantive IV was damaged very shortly after it arrived in the Tatooine system. With the main reactor and the sensor array out of action (along with the main engine to take them to the nearest safe hyperdrive exit), using the hyperdrive engines to flee simply wasn't an option.

Bursts of laserfire streaked after the consular starship Tantive IV, which was racing for the planet Tatooine. The ship was fleeing from the Devastator, an immense Imperial Star Destroyer that was firing nearly all its turbolasers at the elusive ship. Both vessels had just entered Tatooine’s orbit when the Devastator’s lasers scored a direct hit on the Tantive IV’s primary sensor array. The array exploded, and the blast overloaded the starboard shield projector — which caused another explosion, damaging the power generator system and triggering a chain reaction throughout the ship. With no starboard shield and no power to its engines, the Tantive IV was effectively crippled.

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope - junior novelization

In the original (George Lucas) novelisation, we get a view from inside the ship as well.

One of those probing, questing beams succeeded in touching the fleeing ship, striking its principal solar fin. Gemlike fragments of metal and plastic erupted into space as the end of the fin disintegrated. The vessel seemed to shudder.


“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.”

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope - Official Novelisation


    Retcon job, and not a very good one

Opening crawl for New Hope (1977) says that Rebels achieved their first victory against Empire striking from their secret base, and that during battle Rebels spies managed to steal plans for Death Stars. Leia is now custodian of the plans (1:25 in clip) and she races home with them. Home, of course is not Tatooine but Alderaan. Therefore, she didn't come for Obi-Wan specifically. But, it looks like her ship could not make to Alderaan (damage probably ? ), so she puts plans inside R2-D2 and instructs him to find Kenobi because she knows that he lives on Tatooine.

Message by Leia is a bit confusing, she says that her mission is to bring Obi-Wan to Alderaan to Bail Organa. But we could strike that down as diplomatic white lie - Kenobi certainly didn't serve Organa in Clone Wars. She is most likely trying to establish emotional link .

Final piece of the puzzle is Vader himself, mentioning transmissions .

“Several Rebel transmissions were beamed aboard this ship from Rebel spies”

This implies that Tantive IV received plans remotely, and was not part of "first Rebel victory". Full story, before retcon in Rouge One, would be something like : After first Rebel victory, Leia's ship posing as diplomatic vessel, receives transmissions from Rebel Spies containing Death Star plans . Unfortunately, Vader discovers transmissions, and starts pursuing Tantive IV which gets damaged in the process and cannot continue to Alderaan. Leia remembers that Obi-Wan lives on nearby Tatooine, and sends plans to him.

  • 1
    Rouge One?
    – Valorum
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 1:08
  • 1
    In the original novelisation (written by George Lucas) it's made abundantly clear that her mission was to meet Obi-Wan in person, explain the situation and take him (and the plans for the Death Star) to Alderaan. "“I regret that I am unable to present my father’s request to you in person. My mission to meet personally with you has failed. Hence I have been forced to resort to this secondary method of communication."
    – Valorum
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 1:12
  • @Valorum And in original movie which is higher level of canon, Leia races home. Obviously, something is wrong there :P
    – rs.29
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 9:43
  • Races home...via a stop-off.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 10:01
  • @Valorum Casually stops at Tatooine to pick up Obi-Wan, while carrying Death Star plans and being chased by Vader himself :D
    – rs.29
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 10:14

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