Rogue One was full of delightful nods to the original Star Wars trilogy, stuffed full of Easter Eggs and tying directly into A New Hope. In many ways, the entire movie was building towards those incredible final 10 minutes, as the Rebel Alliance came together to get the Death Star plans off Scarif and into safe hands. Inevitably, those were the hands of Leia Organa, and as Rogue One concluded the original trilogy began.
But why was Leia even at the Battle of Scarif? Earlier on in the movie, Bail decided to send his daughter off to recruit an old Jedi general with whom Bail had served during the Clone Wars.
As we watched Bail make his plan, we knew Leia would eventually be the one to get the Death Star plans, but her ship, the Tantive IV, was conspicuously absent during the final battle — until, of course, it was revealed to be hidden inside Admiral Raddus' warship. So what happened to divert her from her mission to Tatooine, and where was she during the events of Rogue One?
Another Part Of The Story
These burning questions have finally been answered, thanks to #StarWars Story Group chief Pablo Hidalgo, who dropped in to The Star Wars Show to clear some things up. And as it turns out, Leia was actually there on the Yavin IV base the whole time, we just didn't see her — Hidalgo explained that the #RogueOne creative team wanted to save Leia's cameo until the very end.
As for why she got diverted from her mission to Tatooine to Scarif, this had less to do with Leia and more to do with her escort, Admiral Raddus and his ship the Profundity.
"The plan was always that Leia was going to go to Tatooine to pick up Obi-Wan and Raddus was going to escort her. Then the news of Scarif came in, and that was deemed more important ... [because] it’s the one warship that they have at this point."
The Mon Calamari admiral's immense starship was notably the biggest ship in the Rebel fleet, and fans may have recognized the MC75 cruiser design from the one Admiral Ackbar commands in Return of the Jedi.
But if every ship was so vital to the Battle of Scarif, why didn't Leia take the Tantive IV out of hiding and help out in the fight? As Hidalgo explains, this was because at this point, Leia was primarily a senator and not a Rebel soldier.
"Leia is like public face of the cause, but she hasn't outed herself as a member of the Rebel Alliance. She's using her cover as senator to get them all the things they need, which Bail used to do when he was senator."
We already saw Leia's vital role in the Rebellion in Star Wars: Rebels Season 2, when she helped the crew of the Ghost steal three hammerhead corvettes — ships that later proved essential to the Rebellion's victory at Scarif.
But by not taking the Tantive IV out into the Battle of Scarif, Leia wasn't just protecting her cover — and ensuring she could complete her mission to find Obi Wan Kenobi — she was also hampered by the fact that her ship was damaged and needed repairs.
"The one power it has is as a consular ship — it's like having diplomatic plates, you can't mess with it. Until Darth Vader says alright, I'm done pretending that I care about the senate. You're going to jail."
As Hidalgo points out, Leia's cover was pretty much blown as soon as she fled the Battle of Scarif, and even had Darth Vader not seen the Death Star plans get directly transferred to the Tantive IV, the mere fact that Princess Leia fired back on an Imperial star destroyer was proof enough that she was "part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor."
Now that we know exactly what Leia was doing during the events of Rogue One, this just makes Leia's barefaced lies about being on a "diplomatic mission" in A New Hope all the more satisfying!
Would you have liked to have seen Leia earlier on in 'Rogue One'?
[Source: 'The Star Wars Show']