At the beginning of A New Hope, Princess Leia has just received the stolen plans for the Death Star. Yet rather than take these plans directly to the Rebel base on Yavin IV, she first stops off to pick up Obi-Wan Kenobi. From dialogue in the movie we also learn that, after picking-up Kenobi, she is supposed to go to Alderaan to meet-up with her adoptive father Bail Organa. Presumably then everybody would proceed to Yavin IV from there.

If we take into account the events of Rogue One, Bail Organa told Leia (offscreen) to go to Tatooine to get Kenobi, however this was done before Leia ended-up with the Death Star plans. You would have thought, given the change in circumstances, she would determine that it's more important to get the plans to Rebel command than stop off at Tatooine first. Especially as, at this point, she would have known about the Death Star's destruction of Jedha.

Have I missed any movie dialogue that describes or implies why Leia thought it more important to go to Tatooine, then on to Alderaan, before taking the Death Star plans to Yavin IV? Or is there anything in any of the books or supplementary material to explain it?

Of course if she had gone straight to Yavin IV with the plans then the original movie would have been very different!

  • 4
    It's been a while but the film starts with her being taken captive by Darth Vader and she'd been running from them since Scarif. Leading them straight to the rebel base is a bad idea and after that she didn't really have a chance to get there until she did. Even then she never went to Tatooine herself but sent R2 and 3PO there in an escape pod. – TheLethalCarrot Feb 16 at 12:20
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    Perhaps Tatooine was on the way. She was followed by Darth Vader, a mighty Sith. She knew that on Tatooine Obi Wan was hiding. An also mighty Jedi. She wasn't able to escape Vader (as we see) and decided to send R2D2 with the plans to Obi Wan in the hope he will be able to bring them to the rebels. – Hothie Feb 16 at 13:02
  • The answers to this question suggest it was her father's plan to take the plans to Obi-Wan. – delinear Feb 16 at 13:19
up vote 6 down vote accepted

This is addressed in the Rogue One novelisation. The rebels are aware that the Tantive IV is damaged and might be tracked through hyperspace. Stopping somewhere for repairs before jumping to their super-secret base seems like a good idea.

Since they're under orders to travel to Tatooine (to pick up Kenobi) and given that the Tatooine system has a moderately busy spaceport, this presumably seemed like as good place as any to lose their probable pursuers.

“Star Destroyer closing!” called the officer at the tactical console. Raymus didn’t recognize the face—one of Raddus’s men. He erased the fear from his own expression. “Get us into hyperspace,” he said. “Make sure you secure the air lock. And prepare the escape pods.”
The Tantive IV might jump out of the system, but it was hurt and it would be pursued. Best not to take chances.
He saw a figure in white robes near the bridge entrance and turned the tape over in his hand. He approached the woman and said, his tone respectful, “Your Highness. The transmission we received…”

Rogue One - Official Novelisation

One assumes that the same also applies to traveling to Alderaan and dragging her planet into disrepute when (at this point) the Empire has no idea of the identity of her ship.

Based on the pre-SE/Prequel novelization of Return of the Jedi, Senator Bail Organa had raised Leia telling her to seek out Obi-Wan if she was ever desperate.

In this scene, Obi-Wan is explaining the circumstances of the twins' birth and how/why they were separated.

“That’s what she was doing when her path crossed yours— for her foster parents had always told her to contact me on Tatooine, if her troubles became desperate.”

Lucas, George; Kahn, James. Star Wars: Trilogy (25th Anniversary Collector's Edition) (p. 567). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Even just in the context of the untouched original movies, Leia is clearly has been just barely able to stay ahead of the Empire, and needs to get the plans somewhere safe. Times are desperate, and she's been told to seek out Obi-Wan in this sort of situation.

Obviously, back then, there was no Scarif to plot a course and see if Tatooine was on the route between Scarif and Yavin, but when we add in the events of Rogue One, and we see what sort of death and destruction she's fleeing, it makes even more sense that she would seek out Obi-Wan.

  • Except in Rogue One she's been tasked by the rebel leaders to go find Obi-Wan and then receives the plans. The question is asking why she didn't ditch her original plan to deliver the plans to Yavin. Are you saying she stuck with her original plan because Obi-Wan will save her? – Edlothiad Feb 16 at 13:34
  • First, I'm basing my answer on the original versions of the movies and novels, before all these backstories and retcons. It more accurately matches what Lucas intended. But yes, I think it still fits. She may be tasked with getting back to the Rebellion, but she's got Vader and the Empire nipping at her heels. She probably realizes she isn't going to make it, and tries to get the plans to someone safe. – phantom42 Feb 16 at 13:39

There is nothing new from Rogue One - we have always known the following:

It is a period of civil war.
Rebel spaceships, striking
from a hidden base, have won
their first victory against
the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel
spies managed to steal secret
plans to the Empire's
ultimate weapon, the DEATH
STAR, an armored space
station with enough power
to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire's
sinister agents, Princess
Leia races home aboard her
starship, custodian of the
stolen plans that can save her
people and restore
freedom to the galaxy....

We have also known

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.

It is clear that the Death Star is an existential threat to the rebellion. It is only by enlisting the help of the last (known) Jedi that they have a hope of defeating it.

Until this point, Bail Organa has claimed that Obi-Wan is dead (see Star Wars Rebels Twin Suns). It is only in their most desperate hour that he dares to break the secrecy and interrupt him from his mission (protecting Luke).

This was Leia's mission, one only she could do, as Obi-Wan would probably not leave his post for anyone else (he didn't for Ezra). The fact she ended up with the death star plans too only made it more important she succeed.

I don't think Leia was suppose to get the plans in the first place. She was only to get Obi-wan, head to Alderaan and then probably to Yavin 4. But she was then given the plans and is all what ANH is. This whole confusion comes if Rogue One isn't in the picture.

Now with Rogue One, its clear that the Profundity was disabled and the plans were given to Leia because there was no other option now since the whole fleet had left after getting the plans. Now her whole plan to quickly go to Tatooine, recruit Obi-Wan and head to Alderaan was affected after accidentally getting the plans.

Also, I think until ANH's opening Leia doesn't know she has been tracked, so maybe thats why she continued with her original plan and lied about being on a diplomatic mission.

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