Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is the first Star Wars film to have been made, but it's chronologically the 4th in the series. George Lucas had the idea of making an epic space opera inspired by the serials of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, American Westerns, The epic cinema of Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, and the mythological archetypes of Joseph Campbell. With this came the first in a series of films that would change the world forever.
Palpatine has been for the past 19 years furthering his grip on the galaxy as Emperor. He has now at this point disbanded the Imperial Senate, thus leaving the control of the Star systems over regional governors or Moffs. With the newly operational Death Star, Sidious seeks to destroy any motivation of rebellion, as that would mean complete annihilation. He has been likely, for a while now, searching for a new apprentice, to replace the shackled Darth Vader.
Darth Vader, Palpatine's Sith apprentice, has been going further into the path of the dark side for the past 19 years, hunting down the last of the Jedi and waiting for reports on the locations of Obi-Wan and Yoda. However, we must not forget that he is the Chosen One, and he is destined to bring balance to the Force. So is their any chance of redemption for Vader?
Bail Organa, former senator of Alderaan on the other hand, has been waiting patiently for the past 19 years in order to start the Alliance to Restore the Republic. The Alliance as off recently won it's first decisive battle against the Empire, gaining the plans for the Death Star. With this, Darth Vader and the 501st Legion go off to hunt down the Tantive IV, where Princess Leia has the plans and has gone to Tatooine to enlist Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. Bail Organa obviously realizes that the Jedi are quintessential for the defeat of Darth Vader and the Emperor.
Obi-Wan on the other hand, has been guarding Luke Skywalker from a distance in Tatooine. He knows that Anakin's children are the only hope the Force has of being balanced and the galaxy be somehow, someday at peace. Owen Lars is hesitant of Obi-Wan meeting with Luke, but that cannot stop Luke's destiny of becoming a Jedi Knight.
The Galactic Empire has now captured the most important member of the Rebellion, Leia Organa, adopted daughter of Bail who possesses the strong will of her mother, Padme Amidala. Darth Vader, unaware of her relationship with Leia, sentences her to death above the Death Star, after Grand Moff Tarkin does a brutal demonstration of the power of the Death Star and destroys Alderaan. Bail Organa dies along with the planet.
Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker embarks on the classical heroes journey, deciding to leave Tatooine after his uncle and aunt are murdered. Obi-Wan, Luke and the droids go off to the Mos Eisley Cantina, where they meet with rogue spice smuggler Han Solo, and his first mate, Chewbacca. They go off in the famed Millenium Falcon and set course for Alderaan. Once they arrive their however, the planet is gone, with an asteroid field and debris being the only thing left. The Falcon then is pulled by a tractor beam into the Death Star.
Han Solo doesn't really care about what happens as long as he can get the hell out of the space station. Luke Skywalker has every intention of rescuing Leia. Obi-Wan however has a more complex problem once he arrives at the Death Star. He perfectly knows he won't make it out alive. He has to do everything in his power to deactivate the tractor beam and allow Luke and the others to escape. Darth Vader senses Obi-Wan's presence for the first time since Mustafar. He hopes to get revenge on his old master for cutting him down and allowing him to burn in the lava.
Princess Leia gets rescued by Luke and Han, and they all board the Millenium Falcon in order to escape. Obi-Wan meanwhile, is having a confrontation with Darth Vader, one much less fancy than the one seen in Episode III. Obi-Wan sacrifices himself for the life of his new apprentice and his friends. Darth Vader witnesses as Obi-Wan's body mysteriously disappears.
The heroes manage to escape and go to the Rebel base on the rainforest moon of Yavin 4. Vader and Tarkin go out in the Death Star to destroy the planet and the Rebel Alliance once and for all. the Alliance prepares a team of it's best pilots in order to destroy the Death Star before it destroys them. The Battle of Yavin commences. Luke manages to destroy the Death Star through help from Obi-Wan's ghost and the Force. Han Solo saves Luke from being destroyed in his X wing by Darth Vader, who flies out of orbit. The Rebels have won a major victory. It is now a time of revolution.
Darth Vader meanwhile, has been left rather confused. Why did Obi-Wan disappear? And most importantly who was that Rebel pilot strong in the Force who destroyed the Death Star? Vader must find out who he is, at all cost.
A New Hope is commonly one of the favorite Star Wars films, but a look at it retrospectively can make you realize that the film was not really as great as the ones that followed it. It's still a great Star Wars film.
Finest Moments of the Film:
1. The chase of the Imperial Star Destroyer over the Tantive IV.
2. The Conversation Obi-Wan and Luke have in Obi-Wan's hut. It's very eye opening, and Obi-Wan offers an excellent backstory to the events that have taken place.
3. The Cantina Band sequence. One of the best pieces John Williams composed and a great scene.
4. The Battle of Yavin. One of the most memorable moments of the saga.
5. The Throne Room sequence. The music in that scene is among the best in Star Wars.