As construction nears completion on the Empire’s awesome new battle station, the moon-sized Death Star, members of the Rebel Alliance procure its construction plans, entrusting them to Princess Leia Organa. But Darth Vader is quick to capture her ship, kill much of the crew, and take her prisoner. But she has already passed the plans on to the adventurous R2-D2, who abandons ship along with C-3PO, landing on nearby Tatooine. Scavenging Jawas salvage the two droids and auction them off to Owen Lars, who hands them over to his nephew, young Luke Skywalker, to get the droids into shape to serve around their farm. Luke accidentally activates a recorded message from Leia, a desperate plea for the assistance of Obi-Wan Kenobi. When Owen forbids Luke to track down Kenobi to ask him about the message, R2-D2 sets out on his own to find him. Luke and C-3PO catch up to the determined droid, but are attacked by desert-roving Tusken Raiders, and saved at the last minute by the cloaked hermit, Ben Kenobi. Upon seeing Leia’s message, Ben admits that he is actually Obi-Wan Kenobi, one of the very last Jedi Knights, and tells of how he witnessed the murder of Luke’s father, Anakin.
Imperial forces trace the two droids to Tatooine, following their trail to Owen’s farm. When Luke discovers that his uncle and aunt have been killed by the Empire, he pledges to follow the elderly Jedi Knight to the planet Alderaan. They go to the seedy Mos Eisley spaceport, where they happen upon the renegade space freighter captain Han Solo and his Wookiee sidekick Chewbacca. Solo, desperately in need of money to pay off crime lord Jabba the Hutt, takes Luke, Obi-Wan and the droids on as passengers, but quickly realizes that his passengers have attracted the interest (and firepower) of the Empire. Solo’s ship, the Milennium Falcon, arrives at Alderaan to find the planet has been smashed into lifeless bits – the handiwork of Darth Vader and the Death Star. Solo accidentally runs into the Death Star not far away, which seizes the Falcon in a tractor beam. Han, Luke, Chewbacca and the droids try to evade the Imperial forces and rescue Leia, while Obi-Wan sets out to disable the Death Star’s tractor beam and face Darth Vader one final time. Obi-Wan is cut down in a lightsaber duel with Vader, but the others succeed in escaping, unaware that a homing device has been planted on the Falcon, allowing the Death Star to track the ship down to the Rebel base on the third moon of Yavin.
With only a short time to spare, the Rebels must prepare for a fight to save themselves from extinction – and Luke Skywalker, in becoming the hero of the ferocious battle against the Empire, brings himself to the attention of Darth Vader.
Cast: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia Organa), Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin), Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), David Prowse (Lord Darth Vader), Jack Purvis (Chief Jawa), Eddie Byrne (General Millard), Phil Brown (Uncle Owen), Sheelagh Fraser (Aunt Beru), Alex McCrindle (General Dodonna), Drewe Hemley (Red Leader), Denis Lawson (Red Two – Wedge), Garrick Hagon (Red Three – Biggs), Jack Klagg (Red Four – John “D”), William Hootkins (Red Six – Porkins), Angus McInnis (Gold Leader), Jeremy Sinden (Gold Two), Graham Ashley (Gold Five), Don Henderson (General Tagge), Richard Le Parmentier (General Motti), Leslie Schofield (Commander #1), James Earl Jones (voice of Lord Darth Vader)
Notes: The subtitle “Episode IV: A New Hope” was added to the opening crawl for the movie’s 1981 re-release, presumably to be consistent with the labeling of The Empire Strikes Back as Episode V.
LogBook entry by Earl Green