One little detail in ‘Rogue One’ that’s been annoying me
“Rogue One,” the latest in what promises (threatens?) to be an unending chain of “Star Wars” movies that will outlast us all, tells us the story of how exactly the rebels got their hands on the Death Star plans. The most explanation we were ever given in the original “Star Wars” was they were stolen by rebel spies and sent to Princess Leia. Now that story gets fully fleshed out, and — aside from one or two cringe-inducing moments — the movie is pretty great. (At the very least, the faction of Death and Taxes staff that skips work to watch “Star Wars” movies liked it way more than “The Force Awakens.”) One thing just hasn’t been sitting right with me since I watched “Rogue One,” though, because the ending seems to contradict slightly what we’re told in “A New Hope.”
Look, there are spoilers in the rest of this article, OK? And not things where I reveal one or two plot points. I’m going to explain exactly how “Rogue One” ends. Stop reading if you don’t want to know that before you’ve seen the movie, dummy.
Once the rebels get their hands on the Death Star plans, they beam them up to the rebel flagship in battle above the planet they’re on. Just as they’re getting ready to leave, Darth Vader’s star destroyer exits hyperspace and disables the rebel flagship. Vader and a few stormtroopers board the ship in order to retrieve the plans while rebel soldiers transfer the plans to a card and try to get them to another ship. Most of them die, but they do successfully get the plans onto another ship waiting in the flagship’s hangar bay. As it pulls away with Vader watching, the ship appears to be Tantive IV, the same ship we see at the very beginning of “A New Hope.” A few moments later, someone hands the data card with the plans directly to Princess Leia, all but confirming it is the same ship.
That’s fine. It all basically makes sense. It just doesn’t jive with some of the dialogue at the beginning of “A New Hope.” For instance, here’s Vader talking to a guy whose wind pipe isn’t going to last much longer.
Vader asks, “Where are those transmissions you intercepted?” The rebel responds, “We intercepted no transmissions. This is a consular ship. We’re on a diplomatic mission.”
This is overly nitpicky, but intercepting would mean the Empire was trying to send the plans somewhere and the rebels stole them. That’s not what happened at all. The plans were just sitting in an archive and the rebels deliberately transmitted them. That’s not my biggest problem with this though. Things get more out of sync when Vader confronts Leia.
The conversation between these two plays out like they weren’t both physically present at the battle they’re talking about. The clear implication is that the rebels stole the plans and then sent them to the Tantive IV sometime later. This certainly tracks because Leia would theoretically not be suspected, as she’s a member of the Senate, and thus making her the perfect person to carry the plans undetected. It just didn’t work out that way. But that’s obviously not what happens in “Rogue One.”
That ship, Leia’s ship, sitting around in the hangar bay of the main rebel cruiser used in a pivotal fight. It is very obviously part of the rebel fleet.
Now, Darth Vader has clearly been chasing this ship since he watched it fly away, and not much time could have possibly passed. It’s gonna be pretty difficult to convince him your ship is on a diplomatic mission when he literally watched a soldier take the Death Star plans to the ship and stood around helplessly as it flew away.
To be perfectly clear, this in no way ruins the movie for me. I really enjoyed it,and recommend everyone who cares even a little bit about “Star Wars” to go and see it. It’s just a weird little detail that’s been annoying me. That’s all. It’s not a big deal.