In the Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope opening crawl, it says the Rebels won their first victory. The victory was in some battle that happened before the start of the film. From that battle, they retrieved the Death Star plans. What battle was that? Do we have any information on what happened during the battle?

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    I would have thought that would have been the battle where the rebels get the plans...
    – HorusKol
    Sep 25, 2011 at 23:11
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    Think about this little detail... their FIRST victory. Which causes the Empire to select Alderaan as their demonstration for the death star's weapon, as well as tracking the droids to Tatooine and the murder of a few Jawas and Luke's aunt and uncle. Apart from that, what else has the original trilogy revealed as evidence the Empire is evil? Everything the Empire does is a direct result of the rebels' actions. Had they not stolen the plans, would anyone have been deliberately hurt? Just sayin, maybe the Empire isn't the enemy in those movies.
    – Kai Qing
    Jun 11, 2018 at 17:26
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    @KaiQing Building a Death Star doesn't sound like a nice thing to do. Jun 11, 2018 at 21:54
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    @OrganicMarble - Neither does launching 100 tomahawk missiles into syria for no real reason. We don't know what the real intentions were for project stardust as they call it in rogue one. But not unlike our dumb human asses, it seems operations of extreme tragedy can be "justified" if spun the right way. All I'm suggesting is it's all cause and effect in star wars. But the cause starts with the Rebels striking first. So who is the real bad guy?
    – Kai Qing
    Jun 11, 2018 at 22:00
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    I think we're pretty sure what the real intentions were. From the first movie: Grand Moff Tarkin: The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station. Jun 11, 2018 at 22:14

2 Answers 2


The 'victory' referenced in the opening crawl did, indeed, occur just prior to the start of Episode IV.

A small team of Rebels headed by Jyn Erso and Cassan Andor infiltrated an Imperial data storage facility (located within a significant military base) while a number of other volunteers staged an assault.

During this mission, they were largely successful, managing to secure and transmit the plans for the Death Star to orbiting Rebel ships.

The 'victory' was a Pyrrhic one, as virtually everyone on the assault and infiltration force was captured or killed, and several starships were destroyed.

Prior to the new Disney movies and the exclusion of the novel canon to the new 'Legends' flag, this had been the canon answer:

The events are detailed in the novella "Interlude at Darkknell", which you can find in the book Tales of the New Republic.

The story features several people from Stackpole's X-wing series, several years before that series (obviously).

More info can be found at the Wookieepedia article on the plans.

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    If you have played the original X-Wing game for PC, you get to play through several missions surrounding the acquisition of the plans and the escape of Princess Leia with the plans aboard the Tantive IV before the Empire catches up with her at Tatooine at the start of the movie.
    – BBlake
    Sep 25, 2011 at 20:14
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    unfortunately, games are pretty low in the canon - but I think that this hasn't been overridden by any books.
    – HorusKol
    Sep 25, 2011 at 23:12
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    @HorusKol - licensed games (aside from alternate endings) are C canon, just as books are. (except some really old RPGs) Aug 22, 2014 at 15:31
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    This answer is no longer canon and requires an update.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Jun 10, 2018 at 2:45
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    @RogueJedi - Updated to reference the new canon. Thanks!
    – Jeff
    Jun 11, 2018 at 13:08

The victory in question was, of course the encounter in which the rebels managed to steal the Empire's plans for the Death Star.

We get a little more info about this encounter in the newly-released (and Disney-canon) Star Wars novelisation for A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy.

Stealing top-secret plans from the Empire was a risk, but being dismissed as a twinkling ball of gas had only made her more determined. The mission should have been simple. All they needed to do was intercept a transmission about a new battle station the Empire was rumored to be building.

But the system had been swarming with Imperials. They’d caught on to Leia’s bogus tale about her ship’s breaking down, but the cover had helped her stall long enough to download the technical plans for something code-named “Death Star.” Despite the Rebels’ efforts to lose the Imperials in the jump to hyperspace, the hulking Star Destroyer had caught up to them. And Leia knew, the moment the ship identified itself as the Devastator, there would be no escape.

Moving down the canon scale, the battle is referred to as the "Battle of Orron III" in the Star Wars: X-Wing game, however it remains to be seen whether this will be incorporated in the upcoming Rogue One film which will act as a direct prequel to the events leading up to A New Hope and will detail the daring scheme to steal the plans for the Death Star.

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