YMMV: A New Hope

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: People have noted that the Death Star gunner lingered on Yavin IV despite having a firing solution for some time. ("Stand by.... Stand by....") They believed that the gunner might have had an attack of conscience and was deliberately delaying in the off-chance that someone might stop him from destroying the Rebel base. This interpretation has even became canon in the Legends universe.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Multiple studios turned the film proposal down and most of the management of 20th Century Fox outside of Alan Ladd Jr. thought it would be a final embarrassment before Fox closed its doors. Even George Lucas' director's guild thought it was going to bomb, which was the only reason they let him release it without any opening credits. After the film exploded into the public consciousness, everyone else changed their tune saying this film was the kind of unorthodox creative dare that company founder, Daryl Zanuck, often won big with.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Princess Leia. "We have no time for sorrows, commander."
    • Luke gets over Owen and Beru's death pretty easily. Making his reaction to Obi-Wan's death even more strange.
  • Award Snub:
    • Many people see it losing Best Picture to Annie Hall as this. Both are widely considered to be fantastic movies, though, and quite a few Star Wars fans even regard Annie Hall as the one film they were okay with losing to, given that it's about as different to the usual Oscar Bait films as A New Hope was.
    • Quite a few see Alec Guinness losing Best Supporting Actor to Jason Robards in Julia as this. Though given how much the actor came to hate the fame he gained purely for playing Obi-Wan Kenobi, this could be for the best.
  • Complete Monster: Grand Moff Tarkin is a ruthless Imperial officer, and one of the Emperor's top agents. While in command of the Death Star, Tarkin had Princess Leia tortured and threatened to destroy Alderaan, Leia's homeworld, if she didn't give him the location of a Rebel base. When Leia gave him the information he wanted, Tarkin destroyed Alderaan anyway, killing billions of innocent people, solely to demonstrate the Death Star's power, then ordered Leia's execution. After discovering the location of the Rebel base, Tarkin attempted to destroy that planet as well.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Porkins is only on-screen for about a minute before being blown to smithereens, but is probably the most popular background character in the movie.
    • Wedge Antilles became popular enough to bring back in the rest of the series, helping lead the fight against the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi.
    • The Cantina denizens. In the actual film they're more set pieces than characters, but they did their job in the narrative - giving the viewer an impression of just how diverse The Galaxy is - so well that most of them have received extensive backstories in the Expanded Universe. And to think, a number of them were cobbled together from old Halloween costumes!
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    Aunt Beru: He's just not a farmer, Owen. He has too much of his father in him.
    Uncle Owen: That's what I'm afraid of.
    • Not only did Luke's father become Darth Vader, but we later see in Attack of the Clones that, the same day Owen met Anakin, Anakin killed a whole tribe of Tusken Raiders out of anger. Evidently he's afraid Luke will do something like that.
    • After watching the prequels, seeing Vader so callously shoot R2 with a TIE Fighter blast makes him seem all the more cruel. He might not have known it was R2 or even aiming for him but it still jerks a tear.
    • Also, Darth Vader, later revealed to be the father of Luke Skywalker, had Luke's Uncle and Aunt murdered by stormtroopers, meaning he had his (step)brother killed. Several years later, with The Lion King, Simba's father ends up killed by his uncle. The connection between the two? Both Vader and Mufasa (Simba's father) were portrayed by James Earl Jones.
    • Garven Dreis, aka Red Leader, was shot down by Darth Vader in the last moments of the film. A New Hope also proved to be the last acting role that Drew Henley, the actor who played Dreis, would partake in, retiring shortly thereafter due to being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Also, Dreis being shot down by Darth Vader is even more harsh after the revelation that he and Vader (then known as Anakin Skywalker) were originally comrades.
    • Try watching Obi-Wan in the original trilogy knowing how Alec Guinness felt about his work on Star Wars.
    • Leia's Cold-Blooded Torture at the hands of Vader is disturbing enough, then comes the revelation that he was (unknowingly) doing it to his own daughter.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Luke and C-3PO's bond throughout this film and the OT becomes more heartwarming once it was revealed in The Phantom Menace that Threepio was originally built by Anakin, making Luke and Threepio, in a sense, brothers.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Obi Wan's line that the blaster marks are too precise for Sand People and must be from Stormtroopers gets funnier as the series goes on. We see (Justified and not) stormtroopers miss nearly everything they shoot for, while the Tuskens are able to hit pod racers moving at hundreds of MPH in The Phantom Menace. If you think about it, it's more just showing that Obi Wan's been in hiding for so long. The last time he was hanging around with troopers they were kicking ass, and then killing Jedi. There's also the fact that that Sandcrawler is huge and slow. Even a Stormtrooper could probably hit that just fine.
    • Given what we later discover about Vader's policy on employee mistakes in the next movie, Admiral Motti comes off as exceptionally stupid for picking a fight with Vader, especially by mocking the religion the Emperor holds to. This is even lampshaded by Grand Moff Tarkin in the Death Star Technical Manual, where he expressed that if Motti didn't keep his opinions to himself regarding the Force, he won't last long under Palpatine's Empire.
    • Just going by the films, Palpatine may not have ever let on to anyone but his apprentices that he was a Sith Lord.
    • According to the novelization, Obi-Wan was uncomfortable about Luke's questions about his father, but unlike Owen, Obi-Wan *didn't like lying* so he told the truth from a certain point of view: Darth Vader killed Luke's father.
    • Those who got to watch this first before they encountered the reveal that Luke and Leia are twin brother and sister may call the latter as a cop-out from the romantic triangle issue, but it does add some flavor to the films. With that knowledge, Han and Chewie have become two unfortunate guys getting caught in the middle of a big family mess, acting as some kind of baby sitters as the two siblings start putting things together. And it does add some more humor at how the two separately snark at his ship when each sees it for the first time.
    Luke: What a piece of junk!
    Leia: You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought.
  • Memetic Loser: Greedo, after George Lucas edited his scene so that he shoots but misses Han Solo at point-blank range. Even LEGO got in on the fun with a Funny Background Event in Revenge of the Brick wherein Greedo repeatedly fails to hit a dartboard positioned only a few inches away from him.
  • Memetic Mutation: "These are not the droids you're looking for."
    • "I have you now!"
    • "Use the Force, Luke."
    • "Stay on target..."
    • "Almost there..."
    • "The Force Is Strong with This One"
    • "I find your lack of faith disturbing."
    • "Great shot, kid! One in a million!"
    • "Red ____, standing by," with the space filled in with your reference of choice. Partly thanks to 4chan, but mostly thanks to Family Guy's spoof.
    • "That's No Moon!, it's a space station."
    • "Cover me, Porkins."
    • "Who's the more foolish: the fool or the fool who follows him?"
  • Misblamed: Vader did not destroy Alderaan. Tarkin did. Some fans actually forget this.
    • The wingman who flies on Vader's left somehow manages to escape blame for his flub. Han Solo only shot one of Vader's wingmen - the other one simply overreacted to Han's surprise attack and crashed his TIE Fighter into Vader's of his own accord.
    • Lucas revealed in an interview that the reason why Greedo shoots first in the re-made version was to prevent a PG-13 rating, which didn't exist in 1977. Not because he hated true fans, despite what some may say.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Grand Moff Tarkin orders the Death Star to destroy the planet of Alderaan, killing millions, if not billions, of innocent civilians.
    • About two billion, according to Legends.
  • Protection from Editors: Star Wars was refined damn good, if not made watchable in editing. The original slow paced assembly cut by John Jympson was deemed unusable, so the film had to be re-edited from the ground up by Richard Chew, Marcia Lucas, and Paul Hirsch, who later won Oscars for their work. To give an example of the changes made, the Ticking Clock element of the Death Star battle was written into the film entirely in post-production to add actual element of tension to the final battle.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny:
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The infamous "Han Shot First" scene is a victim of this in the remastered editions. The digital editing isn't so great at convincing you that Greedo shot first, and Han's attempted "dodging" is particularly bad. It doesn't even look so much like "dodging" as much as it does "Greedo misses at point blank range."
    • Another failure first seen in the special editions was the use of a (very poor) CGI Jaba the Hutt in one previously deleted scene. That particular model was replaced in the 2004 edition with the one used in The Phantom Menace.
    • During the trench run just before the "Use the Force Luke" line, one scene of the Tie Fighters flying into the camera is obviously a flat photo-stat.
    • One failure that was fixed in the 1997 special editions and onward; in the shot just after Vader's "I have you now!" line, freeze-framing will reveal that the Tie Fighter to the right of Vader is completely absent for two frames.
    • The Stormtrooper rifles were made from fully-functional British Sterling submachine guns, and fired "Hollywood blanks" to provide smoke and muzzle flash. During the gunfight across the chasm in the Death Star (where Leia kisses Luke before swinging across) the sound of the blank cartridges is heard when Leia takes a few shots, instead of the usual sound effect dubbed in.
    • In many scenes involving Lightsabers, there's always bound to be errors. These were fixed in the special editions.
      • As was a matte painting of a hallway and most of the optical lines around the ships.
    • As with The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, in the unedited theatrical cut a number of shots featuring TIE Fighters have a faint silhouette of each model's garbage matte.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: This is some fans' reaction to the Special Edition, particularly the above-mentioned Greedo Shot First scene.
  • Unfortunate Names: The overweight member of the Rebel Alliance happens to be named Porkins.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: This film completely revolutionized special effects for modern movies.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: This film got a U rating in the UK, despite shots of Luke's uncle and aunts' burning corpses and a close-up shot of Ponda Baba's severed arm in the Mos Eisley bar after Obi-Wan Kenobi chops it off with his lightsaber. Not to mention numerous on-screen deaths and an inferred genocide.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: The fact that for a while (and before he retconned the reason for the famous change into "so it would stay PG"), Lucas acted shocked and disappointed that fans would actually prefer "Han shot first", and then went on to assert that the original version basically has Han shoot Greedo in cold blood (or...something). George's attitude has led to analogies being made to the "gun control" debate of today.
  • Win the Crowd: For many, it was the first Star Destroyer shot. This was actually George Lucas's intention, and it was subsequently one of the most expensive shots of the film - he believed that if he hooked audiences from the beginning, then they would likely come back for more.
  • Woolseyism/Bilingual Bonus: In the Italian versions of the movie, the Death Star was called the Morte Nera, which means the "Black Death." It's a very fitting name, as like the Death Star, the Black Death also resulted in a large extermination of people.