Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope is the first installment to the Star Wars franchise, despite being numbered as Episode IV. Initially conceived as the very first episode, A New Hope began in medias res during the galactic civil war.
The story, if watched before the so-called episodes I, II, and III, would give off the vibe that the story had begun somewhere else and that this episode was just making a few random backstory references. However, if this episode were to be watched (for the first time) after the said three episodes, this would flow smoothly with the plot and would create a perfect coherence of events, such as from the rise of Vader to how Luke’s father lost his lightsaber.
The Death Star
During the events of Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, it was shown that after Darth Vader (who was the then-Anakin) had his body healed and stored in a protective suit, he foresaw the creation of the very first Death Star – an enormous celestial body designed to be a weapon capable of obliterating galactic objects, even entire planets.
The Imperial Senator Princess Leia orchestrated the attainment of the blueprints of the Death Star so that they could analyze how it could be taken down. However, the forces of the Dark Side managed to intercept Leia’s actions, which caused her to be arrested and taken for execution. Fortunately, before she was taken away, she managed to obtain the schematics, thanks to the rebel spies, and hid them in R2-D2’s system for safekeeping.
R2-D2 and his companion, C-3PO, escaped to the planet Tatooine. However, they were captured by some traders, who then sold these “items” to Luke Skywalker’s step-uncles.
While Luke was tending to R2-D2, he accidentally activated the droid’s recording system, which then played Leia’s recording of her request for help to a certain “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” He ignored it. However, after discovering that the white robot was missing, he found himself under the attack of several goons. He was rescued by someone familiar, the hermit “Old Ben” Kenobi.
Old Ben revealed to Luke that his real name was Obi-Wan. Furthermore, he retold his story of greatness, where he used to be a Jedi Knight who possessed supernatural powers through the unseen Force. Kenobi then told Luke of his father’s past, where he used to fight with him until Darth Vader tricked him into joining the Dark Side and murdered him. (This event will be referenced again in Episode V.)
In the full message of Leia, she pleaded to Obi-Wan to deliver the Death Star’s plans to her home planet of Alderaan so that her father could analyze them. Obi invited Luke to join him in Alderaan and also to be his apprentice so that he could learn the ways of the force. At first, he was reluctant, but after having realized that evil stormtroopers killed his aunt and sacked his village, he agreed.
To fly to Alderaan, they sought the help of Han Solo to use their Millennium Falcon so that they could reach there. He wasn’t supportive of this idea. However, if he were to choose between flying these two people or being killed by his debt collectors, he would choose the former.
The Destruction of the Death Star
Upon reaching Alderaan, a Dark Force general destroys it to demonstrate to Leia what he can do. Near the Death Star, the Millennium Falcon was almost captured, but they managed to evade it by entering through the Star’s reception compartments. However, a tractor beam was still on their backs, and they ought to disable it. In there, Obi-Wan ought to disable the beam, but he had to lightsaber duel with Vader first. This duel bought the team some time to rescue Leia and leave the death star.
The plans of the Death Star revealed a minor flaw in its thermal ports that could easily be exploited by shooting torpedo strikes at it. By shooting, it would trigger immense chemical reactions which would destabilize the entire thing and destroy it from within. Luke fired the torpedo shots, guided by Obi-Wan’s spirit, which destroyed the Death Star.
In the end, Princess Leia decorated Luke and Han for their bravery.