|First appearance||Star Wars (1977)|
|Class||Corvette (modified CR90/CR70 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, and games.
Origin and design
The ship's design stems from initial concepts for the Millennium Falcon. When Space: 1999, which first broadcast in 1975, featured a ship called an Eagle Transporter with an appearance similar to the Industrial Light & Magic's Falcon design, the modelmakers redesigned the Falcon and adapted the initial Falcon design for the Tantive IV by scaling down the model, replacing any outsized components, and replacing the 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 ship was generally referred to as the "Rebel blockade runner"; National Public Radio's radio adaptation of A New Hope in 1981 revealed the name "Tantive IV". On the current official Star Wars website it is referred to as an Alderaan Cruiser (Weblink).
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 blockade runner's shape.
Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) in A New Hope uses the Tantive IV for humanitarian and mercy missions. Leia uses this as a cover to travel to the restricted world of Raaltiir to obtain stolen plans to the Empire's Death Star battle station, intending then to travel to Tatooine to ask Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) to join the Rebel Alliance's struggle against the Empire. Although the Tantive IV successfully intercepts the plans, an Imperial Star Destroyer chases them to Tatooine. Unable to find Kenobi herself, Leia gives the plans and a message to R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), and then orders the droid to deliver them to Kenobi. Shortly thereafter, Imperial stormtroopers led by Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones) board and capture the ship and crew, including Leia. Vader himself chokes Captain Antilles to death. R2 and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) board an escape pod, which lands on the surface of Tatooine.
Corellian corvettes are part of the Rebel fleet that attacks the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. They also appear in LucasArts products, such as the X-Wing Flight Simulator series and the Empire at War real-time strategy game.
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. The Tantive IV also appears as a ship model in the X-Wing miniatures game 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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