|First appearance||Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker (novel) (1976)|
|Class||Corvette (modified CR90 corvette)|
|Length||150 metres (490 ft)|
The Tantive IV / / (also referred to as the Rebel blockade runner) is a fictional spaceship in the Star Wars film series. It was used by Leia Organa in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and was the first vessel audiences saw when Star Wars premiered in 1977. Other Corellian corvettes, which share the Tantive IV's design, appear in Return of the Jedi and in the Star Wars expanded universe's books, comics, TV series, and games.
Origin and design
The ship's design stems from initial concepts for the Millennium Falcon. When Space: 1999 featured a ship called an Eagle Transporter with an appearance similar to the Industrial Light & Magic's Falcon design, the model makers redesigned the Falcon and adapted the initial design for the Tantive IV. The revised model was scaled down, with replacements for outsized components and a different cockpit. This also explains the 194-centimeter model's intricacy, which would have been necessary for depicting the prominent Falcon. Although not visible in the first Star Wars film, modelmakers hung a miniature Playboy centerfold on the cockpit's starboard bulkhead. The Tantive IV was the last model completed for the film.
The model was altered slightly for Return of the Jedi, with the addition of windows along the ship's spine and larger weapons. These modifications were removed in the 1990s. The Republic cruiser in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace was designed to be reminiscent of the Tantive IV's shape.
The Tantive IV first appears in the opening of Star Wars as it is captured by an Imperial Star Destroyer over Tatooine. The ship is carrying Princess Leia and the plans for the Empire's Death Star battlestation. Leia had taken the ship to Tatooine to recruit the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi to join the rebellion. Unable to find Kenobi herself, Leia gives the plans and a message to R2-D2, who escapes with C-3PO in an escape pod and lands on Tatooine. The vessel appears at the end of Rogue One (2016), with the film's final scenes depicting how the Death Star plans reached the ship and Leia beginning their journey to Tatooine.
The ship was initially referred to as the "Rebel blockade runner", and National Public Radio's radio adaptation of A New Hope in 1981 reveals the name "Tantive IV". Star Wars Expanded Universe material initially referred to the class of ships as "Corellian corvettes," but Lucasfilm later identified them as an Alderaan Cruisers.
The name was officially confirmed as canon with the release of the Rogue One novelization. It further stated that the ship was meant to take part in the Battle of Scarif, but had been docked for repairs aboard Admiral Raddus' ship, the Profundity. Once the battle was finished, the ship would head to Tattooine to deliver Bail Organa's request for help to former Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, Tantive IV was forced to launch before repairs were completed due to the capture of the Profundity and in order to protect the newly-stolen Death Star plans from Darth Vader. Although they were able to elude Vader initially, damage sustained during the escape and the still-unrepaired malfunctions allowed Vader's ship to disable and catch them above Tattooine.
Merchandise and reception
Both Decipher, Inc. and Wizards of the Coast published Tantive IV and Corellian corvette cards for the Star Wars Customizable Card Game and Star Wars Trading Card Game, respectively. Lego's 1,700-piece blockade runner model was the first to include dark red bricks. A small Lego model of the Tantive IV is included with the Ultimate Collector series 3,000-piece Star Destroyer, which at the time of its 2002 release was Lego's largest set. Two Micro Machines three-packs included a Corellian corvette toy, and Hasbro's Collector Fleet line included an electronic blockade runner. Kenner's Die Cast Star Destroyer from 1979 includes a miniature Tantive IV that can be inserted into a docking bay under the Star Destroyer. The Tantive IV also appears as a ship model in both the X-Wing miniatures game and Star Wars Armada produced by Fantasy Flight Games. A 16-inch (410 mm) miniature of the Tantive IV sold at auction for $450,000, making it the most expensive Star Wars item sold at auction.
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