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Film / A New Hope

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Obi-Wan: Remember, The Force will be with you, always.note 

It is a period of civil war. Rebel
spaceships, striking from a hidden
base, have won their first victory
against the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel spies managed
to steal secret plans to the Empire's
ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an
armored space station with enough
power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents,
Princess Leia races home aboard her
starship, custodian of the stolen plans
that can save her people and restore
freedom to the galaxy....

The one that started it all.

Star Wars (later retitled Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope) is a Space Opera film that marks the first chapter of the Star Wars saga and the beginning of the franchise, as well as the start of its enduring phenomenon in pop culture. It was written and directed by George Lucas, and released on May 25, 1977.

A New Hope tells the story of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), a young Farm Boy on a desert planet at the far edge of the tyrannical Galactic Empire. Luke's quiet life is turned upside down when his family purchases a pair of used droids named R2-D2 and C-3PO (Kenny Baker and Anthony Daniels), who are secretly carrying classified Imperial documents: the schematics for a planet-destroying Doomsday Device known as "the Death Star".

With the aid of a wise, mystical hermit named Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) and a rakish smuggler named Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Luke sets out to rescue the droids' owner, the captive rebel princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), and deliver the documents to the Rebellion before the Empire can unleash the Death Star on the galaxy and crush the fledgling revolution.

The film also features Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, Han Solo's beastly alien partner; Peter Cushing as Governor Tarkin, commander of the aforementioned Death Star; and David Prowse as Darth Vader, the Empire's sinister top enforcer, with voice dubbed by James Earl Jones.

As an Episode of the "Skywalker Saga", the film is chronologically preceded by Revenge of the Sith and followed by The Empire Strikes Back. Other films and shows such as Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars Rebels, Andor and Rogue One take place in the period between Revenge of the Sith and this film within the current canon, in addition to many other kinds of works in both the new expanded universe as well as the old Star Wars Legends canon.

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    Tropes # to B 
  • 2-D Space:
    • Seemingly done straight, with the Death Star trench run playing almost exactly like an Aerial Canyon Chase. But paying close attention to the briefing and wireframe demonstration, it's explained that the port is shielded from the top (making it less of a stupid design flaw) so they had to fly underneath and drop the torpedo at a 90 degree angle as they pass overhead (making it even more of a One In A Million Chance). It still doesn't explain why they enter the trench so much farther away rather than diving in much closer to the target.
    • Later media justified the trench run. Turns out they did so to take cover from the heavy surface fire, as demonstrated in Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, in which going above the trench will see you getting annihilated by turbo laser fire.
  • Achilles' Heel: The Death Star is a moon sized space station capable of destroying a planet, with only one significant weakness; a two meter wide exhaust port that leads directly to the station's reactor. Even then, the port is ray shielded, so only proton torpedoes have any chance of getting through, and it's still a very slim chance at best.
  • Action Prologue: The very first scene of the film starts with the famous shot of the Star Destroyer chasing the Tantive IV.
  • Activation Sequence: The Death Star needs about twenty seconds from "Commence primary ignition" until it fires its superlaser upon Alderaan.
  • Actually, I Am Him: Ben Kenobi the "strange old hermit" is actually General Obi-Wan Kenobi. Unlike many other examples of this trope, he doesn't waste time playing games and admits it straight away to Luke, who had already made the connection anyway.
    Obi-Wan Kenobi: Of course I know him. He's me. I haven't gone by the name Obi-Wan since, oh, before you were born.
  • Adaptational Self-Defense: One of the more controversial changes made from the movie's original cut to the Special Edition.
    • In the original, during Han's Establishing Character Moment, Han shoots Greedo when Greedo holds him at gunpoint, shakes Han down for the money owed Jabba, and implies he is going to kill Han for the bounty since he doesn't have it on him. This sets Han up as an Unscrupulous Hero who might end up betraying his passengers to save his life, and it lays the foundation for his Character Development into a better man.
    • In the special edition, Greedo shoots, misses at point-blank range, and gets shot in self-defense. This was done due to Lucas' insisting it made Han not a cold-blooded killer. Of course, since Greedo had Han at gunpoint and was going to kill him, Han already had the moral high ground even without the Orwellian Retcon - he was acting in self-defense either way. All the edit did was make the moral high ground even more obvious (which is rumored to have been necessary for a PG rating).
    • The scene was later re-re-edited to make Han dodge the shot and fire at almost the same time as Greedo. In this edit, Greedo still got in that first shot, but Han was already preparing to shoot Greedo, fulfilling the original intent of Han as a wily Anti-Hero.
    • In one of the original scripts (dated January 15, 1976), Han indeed shot first. Which makes it even more insulting when George Lucas made a statement, in 2012, claiming that Greedo has always shot first:
      The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo [who seemed to be the one who shot first in the original] to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn't. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.
    • In 2019, the Disney+ version (originally re-edited by Lucas for a 3D re-release before the purchase of the property by Disney) contains a brief shot of Greedo saying "Ma klounkee!" before Han and Greedo shoot at each other. External media states that this is a death threat, possibly putting Han in a higher moral ground to shoot Greedo.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The Radio Drama version adds a few scenes cut from the final version. Two of them, featuring Luke with his friends and Leia acquiring the plans and dealing with an Imperial Governor, are put in the very beginning of the film, meaning it's nearly an hour into the story before the Tantive IV and Devastator start shooting at each other.
  • Airstrike Impossible: The Trench Run. Not only is the Trench guarded by heavy gun towers and TIE Fighters, but at the end of it all is a target so small, the only hopes of hitting it at all are via a targeting computer or The Force.
  • Allegiance Affirmation: Han presents himself throughout the film as an opportunist only helping the Rebellion for money, and loads up his reward and leaves just before the last-ditch attack on the Empire's Death Star. Just when Luke's X-Wing is targeted by Darth Vader, Han flies in with guns blazing, saving Luke's life and showing his true allegiance as a Rebel hero.
  • All There in the Manual: Tarkin's formal rank of Grand Moff is never mentioned in the film and appears in the credits. He is only addressed by the nondescript title of Governor, even in the deleted scenes.
  • All There in the Script: In the shooting script, right after Han makes his comment about the Kessel Run, the stage directions explicitly call for Obi-Wan to give Han an incredulous stare, implying he's pulling the tale out of his ass to impress some rubes. So the forty-year-old debate over "parsecs" is utterly meaningless, as the line was wrong on purpose. Rewatching the scene with this in mind, Sir Alec Guinness does indeed give Han an incredulous stare but—in a rarity for a Star Wars films—the acting was so subtle that nobody noticed it.
  • And Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford share top billing, Peter Cushing comes next and Alec Guinness gets the "And" in the main cast. James Earl Jones may get "as the voice of Darth Vader"... but is lumped with all the other co-stars.
  • Anti-Air: The defense of the Death Star is initially handled by fixed gun emplacements and turrets. While they manage to shoot down a handful of Rebel fighters, they were designed to defend the station against capital ships, allowing the X-Wings to slip through the grid. It isn't until Darth Vader scrambles his personal fighter squadron that the Rebels start getting decimated.
  • Anti-Interference Lock Up: Leia is held prisoner on the Death Star. The Imperial military doesn't want her blabbing to the Senate about their ultimate weapon, and they'd like to extract from her the whereabouts of the Rebel Alliance headquarters. However, when the heroes jailbreak Leia from her cell, Grand Moff Tarkin devises a Batman Gambit: let the Princess escape. She'll make a bee-line for the rebel base, where "we will then crush the rebellion with one swift stroke."
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Averted with the Millennium Falcon, played straight with the Star Destroyers.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!:
    • Han charges headlong at the Stormtroopers as a diversionary tactic; he turns and runs after he ends up cornering them and forcing them to stand and fight (the special edition changes this to them running into a hangar full of troopers). The Marvel Comics adaptation suggests that the troopers didn't realize they only had two people chasing them, and once forced to turn and fight, realized they outnumbered their pursuers.
    • Later when Han and Chewie were being chased by Stormtroopers, one of them called on the comlink to close the blastdoors to cut off their escape. When Han and Chewie manage to get through before it shuts, the Stormtroopers are unable to pursue, with the one who ordered the doors shut shouting "Open the blastdoors! Open the blastdoors!"
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Death Star is invincible... Except for the fact one of the auxiliary exhaust ports leads directly into the main reactor, allowing a proton torpedo to blow up the entire thing.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: The Dianoga is a type 1. We only get to see its eyestalk and tentacle.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: The reason for that scene where Luke discovers his aunt and uncle's horrifically charred remains (as well as the alien's arm being cut off in the cantina scene). However, George Lucas had no way of knowing at the time that standards would be tightened for G-rated movies within the next few years and that even if he did get a G rating back then (which he did even with that; it was only after an appeal in which he showed the movie to kids and one of the kids was frightened by the scene where Darth Vader asphyxiates Captain Antilles that the MPAA bumped the rating up to PG), he might have gotten a PG rating in 1981 regardless. Averted in the UK, where the movie has always been rated U. Also from the other direction one of the many preferred explanations for Greedo shooting first.
  • Award Snub: In-Universe, as Chewie is the only living member of the main cast not to get recognition for his role in destroying the Death Star. The Doylist reason is that Carrie Fisher wasn't tall enough to reach around Peter Mayhew's neck.
  • Badass Boast
    Obi-Wan Kenobi: If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
  • Badass Bystander: The Y-Wing pilot, who was one of the few to survive the assault on the Death Star.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Mos Eisley cantina, where bounty hunters and smugglers hang out and Luke almost gets killed for no reason at all.
  • Bar Brawl: Downplayed. When Obi-Wan tries to talk down the guys bullying Luke, one of the thugs pulls a blaster on him. In response, Obi-Wan neatly lops his arm off with his saber. He then holds his still-lit saber defensively, the look of Tranquil Fury on his face saying, "Who's next?" The other bar patrons, after a pause, return to their drinks as if nothing had happened.
  • Bar Full of Aliens: The Mos Eisley cantina is full of different species, most shown in various shots throughout the scene. These range from bat-faced people as tall as children, to 7-feet-tall wookies.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: When imprisoned on the Death Star, Vader turns up to interrogate Leia with a droid equipped with a huge syringe. As the door closes on them, it's clear that she's about to be tortured for information. And yet the next time we see her, she looks perfectly fine, without so much as a puncture wound or a hair out of place. Word of God is that all the interrogator droid did was inject her with a powerful hallucinogen which left her susceptible to suggestion and Vader simply made her think she was in pain.invoked
  • Before the Dark Times: Trope Namer, from Kenobi when lamenting the end of the Jedi and the old Republic.invoked
  • Big Bad: Grand Moff Tarkin, who holds supreme authority over the Death Star and gives orders to Darth Vader and poses the biggest threat to the Rebels as a result of being in command. Later canon would establish that Tarkin is in military command and Vader exists outside the military structure, working directly under the Emperor. It's also established that Tarkin and Vader both report to the Emperor, respecting each other and working together as equals. Thus Vader doesn't obey Tarkin as a superior, but accepts his request as a friend and colleague.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Keeping the above in mind, Vader is the more direct threat to the heroes, and only bothers obeying Tarkin moreso out of a sense of respect and formality than actual obedience. The moment Vader's personal assessment of the situation differs from Tarkin's, he just decides to do as he himself pleases.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Han Solo arriving Just in Time to save Luke from Vader, and buy Luke the vital seconds needed to send the proton torpedoes into the Death Star's thermal exhaust port.
    • Luke himself also qualifies, given that he manages to destroy the Death Star mere seconds before it blows the whole Rebellion into dust.
  • Big "NO!": Luke has one as he sees Vader slice his wise mentor in two.
  • Big "WHAT?!":
    • Leia, after finding out that despite her (feigned) cooperation, Tarkin intends to destroy Alderaan anyway.
    • Vader, in the Death Star trench when his wingman is suddenly taken out.
  • Black-and-White Morality: The Rebel Alliance, Luke and co. are the good guys, and the Empire are the clear-cut bad guys, the trope played straight right down to the clothes worn by named characters. Han Solo starts off in a grey area, but even he ends up becoming a hero in the end.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • The whole "diplomatic mission to Alderaan" thing is a very iffy defense that Vader doesn't buy. The prequel Rogue One makes it even more blatantnote , as Vader was cutting his way into the Tantive IV when it blasted away from a battle and jumped into hyperspace in plain view of the Imperials.
    • After shooting up the entrance to the detention block, Han tries to pass off the incident as a "slight weapons malfunction." The officer on the other side doesn't buy it for a minute.
  • Bluffing the Authorities: After attacking the detention block on the Death Star, Han Solo tries to do this to an officer who calls over the intercom. He's unsuccessful.
    Han: Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but, uh... everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine, we're all fine here now, thank you. [beat] How are you?
  • Blunt "No": Luke's answer when Han wonders if a guy like him could have a chance with a Princess.
  • Boarding Party: The Imperials blasting their way into the Rebel corvette at the start of A New Hope.
  • Bond One-Liner: Serves as an Establishing Character Moment for Han.
    Han: [to the bartender, after killing Greedo] Sorry about the mess.
  • Bottomless Pit: Which Luke and Leia swing over.
  • Bowdlerise: The Special Editions subtly edit every moment someone gets shot with a blaster on-screen to make the effect less gruesome, and also edit the Greedo scene so that Han unambiguously shoots Greedo in self defense as opposed to killing him before he can even get off a shot.
  • "Bringer of War" Music: The music at the beginning of the first scene has a staccato beat clearly inspired by Holst's Mars music.

    Tropes C to D 
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": In the novelisation, Obi-Wan uses the term "ducks" to refer to what would later be known In-Universe as "pelikki".
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Luke's home being burnt down by stormtroopers. Kenobi notes that Luke would have been killed as well if he was there.
  • Call to Adventure: Delivered by Obi-Wan Kenobi:
    Obi-Wan: You must learn the ways of the Force, if you're to come with me to Alderaan.
    Luke: Alderaan? I'm not going to Alderaan, I've gotta get home — it's late, I'm in for it as it is!
  • The Cameo:
    • The Outrider taking off from Mos Eisley in the Special Edition.
    • John Wayne as the voice of Garindan ezz Zavor, an alien who unwillingly alerts the Stormtrooper garrison to the location of C-3PO and R2-D2 as the heroes are about to leave Tatooine for Alderaan on the Millennium Falcon.
  • Can't Believe I Said That:
    • Han Solo, struggling to pose as an Imperial soldier over the intercom, improvises "We're all fine here now, thank you. Uh... How are you?", then winces at himself. (This was an adlib, so either Harrison Ford couldn't believe that was the best he could ad lib, or he felt Han would realize he was talking like an idiot.)
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: When all their efforts to get the rebel base of out Leia prove useless, Vader and Tarkin order her termination. But then the Millennium Falcon arrives, and they re-consider.
    Officer: We've captured a freighter entering the remains of the Alderaan system. Its markings match those of a ship that blasted its way out of Mos Eisley.
    Vader: They must be trying to return the stolen plans to the princess. She may yet be of some use to us...
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: During the Detention Center shootout, Han and Leia take some time to banter with each other while they're being shot at by a group of Stormtroopers.
    Han: Can't get out that way!
    Leia: Looks like you managed to cut off our only escape route!
    Han: Maybe you'd like it back in your cell, your highness! [blaster bolts whizzes past head]
  • Celebrating the Heroes: In the final scene, Princess Leia presides over an awards ceremony where she presents Luke and Han with medals for their efforts in destroying the Death Star. (Chewbacca didn't get his until the 1997 MTV Movie Awards.)
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Just when Vader is about to blast Luke down onto the Death Star surface, the Millennium Falcon makes a surprise intervention and blasts one of Vader's wingmen. Han returns after saying through the movie that he only cares about the prize at the end!
    Vader: I have you now... [explosion] What?!
    Han: Yeeeeeeaaahoooo!
  • Chekhov's Gun: Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber is an aversion for this film's plot, but is played straight in the trilogy as a whole. Obi-Wan gives it to Luke, and provides him some training in its use, but Luke never actually uses it until the next film. Not to mention the role it plays in the Sequel Trilogy.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • The development of Luke's Force sensitivity functions as this, as he increasingly learns to fight by instinct rather than by conscious thought. The culmination is his destruction of the Death Star.
    • Luke is also established early on to be a skilled pilot, which allows him to join the attack on the Death Star even though he's never flown in combat before.
  • City with No Name: Or rather, Planet With No Name. Despite how iconic and well-known it is, Tatooine is not named in the film.
  • Color Motif: The good guys like Luke and Leia wear white, while Vader wears all black. The Stormtroopers, politically presented as good enforcers, wear white armor over black, and Han Solo, whose morality is greyed, wears light and dark colors.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Marvel Comics launched its long-running Star Wars comic with a six-issue adaptation of the film. The comic is notable for being based on an early edit of the film and as such has characters and scenes (including one featuring a humanoid Jabba the Hutt) not in the final movie. In 2013-2014, Dark Horse Comics released a miniseries titled The Star Wars, adapting an early version of Lucas' screenplay for A New Hope.
  • Coming of Age Story: For Luke and Leia. Luke Skywalker leaves his home and family to begin his training as a Jedi Knight while Princess Leia has to prove herself as a successful leader. Later shown to be a mirror of their parents Anakin and Padmé.
  • Commander Contrarian: General Tagge for the Empire ("Until this battle station is fully operational, we are vulnerable."). Unusually he's entirely right and the Empire would have been a lot better off listening to him.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Leia, which leads to Well, Excuse Me, Princess! with Han.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In the individual movie there is little problem with the fact Luke gains ownership of the droids, as he was just a farmboy along for the adventure with the Old Master. In the grand scheme of the saga, Vader being revealed as his father AND the person who built C-3PO starts to stretch things, in addition to the fact that Obi-Wan and Yoda anticipated Luke as a potential weapon to defeat Vader and the Emperor.
  • Cool Old Guy: Obi-Wan Kenobi, who can still wield a mean lightsaber, scare off Tusken Raiders, effortlessly maim rowdy cantina drinkers, shut down the Death Star's tractor beam, and even engage Darth Vader in direct combat before allowing him to strike him down so that the Force's power can grow in Luke Skywalker's path to Jedi knighthood.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: When Han is impersonating a stormtrooper over the intercom, he can't come up with his operating number.
  • Covers Always Lie
    • Darth Vader's lightsaber has a guard on the original cover and film poster. The blade is also orange-ish in colour instead of pale red.
    • There are also these earlier posters showing a much more muscular Mark Hamill, a sexier Carrie Fisher, the implication that they are lovers, and Luke raising a lightsaber as if he used it in battle. As it stands, Luke only uses a lightsaber during a training scene and doesn't pick it up again until the next movie, while it's not until two films later that we see Leia in anything that could be considered Ms. Fanservice. Also while this poster has all the elements for a classic Leg Cling, it averts it by giving the princess a strong independent pose.
  • Create Your Own Hero: The Empire killing Luke's aunt and uncle, as well as Obi-Wan telling Luke that Darth Vader killed his father, is what ends up convincing him to go with Obi-Wan to Alderaan and learn to become a Jedi. From a retroactive standpoint, this becomes much more literal when it's revealed that Luke is Vader's son.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Princess Leia is captured in the opening scene and remains a prisoner for a good deal of the movie. Then the trope is inverted (one could almost say deconstructed for the genre George Lucas was drawing from). True, Leia doesn't try to escape herself, but that's because she's imprisoned in a moon-sized battle station. When an opportunity does arise, she seizes it with both hands and takes charge of matters once it's obvious her so-called rescuers don't have a clue what they're doing.
    Leia: Somebody has to save our skins!
  • Danger Deadpan: Davish Krail (Gold Five) and Garven Dreis (Red Leader) both have their moments, especially during their trench runs. Krail not only has the infamous "Stay on target!", but also has the distinction that as he pulls out of the trench with Darth Vader closing on his tail, his last words are a calm sitrep telling Dreis what he is going to face. However, Dreis is the more deadpan of the two, as exemplified when he calmly reports to Luke that he just lost an engine and Luke should begin his attack run while Vader is still shooting him up.
  • Deadly Deferred Conversation: In a deleted scene restored in the Special Edition, Luke runs into his old friend Biggs Darklighter before Red Squadron launches against the Death Star, with them promising to catch up afterwards. Biggs dies to Vader's guns during the final trench run.
  • Death Faked for You: Stormtrooper officer Daine Jir warns Darth Vader that arresting Leia, an Imperial senator, is politically dangerous because the Imperial Senate in theory still has some power. Vader orders him to cover it up by faking a Distress Signal and then a report that the ship was destroyed with all hands (ancillary materials state they then ejected the ship and blew it up in case somebody came looking for the debris), though this is all rendered moot less than a week later when Emperor Palpatine dissolves the Senate entirely.
  • Deathly Dies Irae:
  • Defiant Captive: Leia snarks at both Vader and Tarkin, resists their mind probe, and even when she seems to acquiesce to their demands for information, it is soon revealed that she's lying to them.
  • Defiant to the End: Leia refuses to give Tarkin and Vader any information about the Rebels, even after being tortured, orphaned, and threatened with death.
  • Demoted to Extra: Biggs Darklighter got this because his aforementioned scenes with Luke were deleted. Luke does mention him by name, however — "Biggs was right, I'm never gonna get out of here!" The special edition reinserts their reunion just before the Battle of Yavin.
  • Den of Iniquity: Mos Eisley is a dusty town filled with criminals stopping by to get a drink or to find a fight.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In the special edition, most of the lines from the Jabba scene are the same ones Han and Greedo had already traded in the cantina. The reason for this is that when the Jabba scene was originally cut, the lines were moved to the Greedo one. However, by the time the special edition came around and re-added the Jabba scene, Harrison Ford was too old to record different lines while he was reaching for the blaster.
  • Destroy the Security Camera: Luke, Han and Chewie pull the old Trojan Prisoner trick to get into the detention block, seeking to free the Princess. While Han and Luke focus on taking out the Imperial Mooks, Chewie makes a point of obliterating the many cameras and sensors. He's so thorough that an officer has to ask about their status over an intercom.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Luke only made plans to get into Leia's cell bay. He didn't think about how to escape. Lampshaded by both Leia and Han.
    Leia: This is some rescue! You came in here, and you didn't have a plan for getting out?
    Han: [indicating Luke] He's the brains, sweetheart!
  • Digital Destruction: The only DVD release of the original theatrical cut (released as limited edition extras) was a completely phoned in, raw transfer off of the 1993 laserdisc of the film, which had excessive grain, low contrast, serious aliasing, and motion smearing (Motion smearing is when moving objects are blurred and leave behind a trail of their own shape due to DVNR) — inexcusable, considering that a far better THX remastered transfer had been made and released of it in the past.
  • Dirt Forcefield: The heroes all emerge spotless from their ordeal in the Death Star trash-compactor. When Mark Hamill brought up this fact during filming, Harrison Ford explained to him they weren't making a movie which worried at all about cataloging nitpicky details.
  • Disobey This Message: Discussed when Obi-Wan tells Luke about his father:
    Obi-Wan: [takes out a lightsaber] I have something here for you: Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough... but your uncle wouldn't allow it. He feared you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damn-fool idealistic crusade like your father did.
  • Distinctive Appearances: The differences in color between the lightsabers, the stark contrast in starship designs, and the colors of the protagonists and antagonists are all designed to evoke a strong Good vs. Evil theme.
  • Do a Barrel Roll: When Luke has a TIE Fighter on his tail, Wedge saves him with a flawlessly executed Thach Weave.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The ending scene for A New Hope. Don't even get us started on Triumph of the Will! Which, of course, has become rather memetic, given who the Empire is patterned after... and then that award ceremony happens. Whoops!note 
    • Luke in the final sequence of the film being a military pilot sent on a mission to destroy enemy territory by flying past the defenses, dropping a payload resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, having to escape from the blast he created and receiving a medal almost immediately after his return. It mirrors to some extent the flight of the Enola Gay and the Bockscar — the US Army Air Force's aeroplanes which were sent to drop the atomic bombs that destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the final year of WWII. A controversial mission resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians which some believe to be either a necessary evil or plain terrorism. Though regardless of your stance, and to be fair to Luke Skywalker and the other Rebel Pilots, the Death Star was mostly populated with more service members than civilians workers (who were still culpable by serving on the Empire's genocide machine) and had more in common with a Naval Aircraft carrier than a civilian metropolis and posed a immediate threat. Some fans from a moralistic standpoint consider the destruction of Alderaan by the Empire to have more in common with the WWII bombings.
  • Doing in the Scientist: Motti scorns the Force as bogus sorcery that can do nothing but scare people with its hype. He is promptly Force-choked by Darth Vader.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Obi-Wan teaches Luke this aboard the Millennium Falcon.
    Obi-Wan: Remember, a Jedi feels the Force flowing through him.
    Luke: You mean it controls your actions?
    Obi-Wan: Partially, but it also obeys your commands.
    Obi-Wan: Stretch out with your feelings.
  • Doomed Hometown:
    • Alderaan, Leia's home planet, is destroyed by the Death Star as a show of its power.
    • The Lars homestead is attacked by Stormtroopers, who leave the burning corpses of the Larses out for the child they raised, Luke Skywalker, to find.
  • Doomsday Device: The Death Star is a space station that can destroy planets with its massive laser. Grand Moff Tarkin hopes to use it to eliminate the Rebellion and to scare the rest of the galaxy into submission.
  • Dope Slap: When R2-D2 refuses to display the rest of Princess Leia's holographic message to Luke, pretexting a dysfunction, C-3PO slams the top of his dome and tells him to stop fooling around.
  • The Dragon: Darth Vader appears as Tarkin's primary enforcer, although he only does so because Tarkin has supreme authority within the confines of the Death Star and because the two have a mutual respect for each other.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Darth Vader to Grand Moff Tarkin. Tarkin is Vader's nominal superior within the confines of the Death Star, and while Vader has at least a little respect for his authority, Tarkin is far less of a threat. Vader also clearly feels free to act on his own accord when he disagrees with Tarkin, assembling and leading a fighter squadron to defend the Death Star after Tarkin dismisses such a defense.
  • Dramatic Timpani: Heard when Obi-Wan, headed back to the docking bay, stops in his tracks when confronted by Darth Vader.
  • Draw Aggro: This is part of the Death Star battle plan. Red Squadron would focus on the laser towers on the surface, to reduce fire on the Gold Squadron flying into the trench. Unfortunately Vader's piloting skills mean it doesn't matter if the rest of the Death Star forces aren't focused on them.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Luke and Han "borrow" some Stormtrooper uniforms to sneak into the prison block on the Death Star.
  • Dub Name Change: Several in the French version, many for no other reason than avoiding Lip Lock. Also doubles as a localized version of Early-Installment Weirdness since several of these were later changed to the original names (or a more faithful equivalent) in the sequels, and others, eventually, in the prequels. In fact, Darth Vader's name is the only one to have remained consistent across all the movies.
    • Luke Skywalker was called "Luc Courleciel" (a literal translation) in very early credits.
    • C-3PO and R2-D2 are respectively Z-6PO and D2-R2.
    • Darth Vader is Dark Vador, possibly because French speakers are unfamiliar with the "th" sound.
    • Chewbacca is now Chictaba (a corruption of "chique tabac", chews tobacco), with Chewie now being Chico.
    • C-3PO references the "salt mines of Kesselring" instead of the "spice mines of Kessel".
    • Grand Moff Tarkin is "Gouverneur Tarkan", with a voiced n.
    • Alderaan is now Aldorande.
    • The Death Star is "l'Étoile Noire" (the Black/Dark Star). The dub of Return of the Jedi would later translate it literally as "Étoile de la Mort".
    • "The Clone Wars" to "La Guerre Noire" ("The Black/Dark War"), presumably to better match the lip movement while still sounding suitably mysterious. When the prequels came around the name was translated more literally as "La Guerre des Clones".
    • Han Solo is called Yan Solo (which is how the name "Ian" is pronounced in French) since "Han" would sound like "Anne", a female name.note 
    • The Millenium Falcon is the "Millenium Condor", it later became "Faucon Millenium" and is sometimes called "Faucon Millénaire" (a more literal translation).
  • Due to the Dead: Obi-Wan, C-3PO, and R2-D2 are shown burning a bunch of Jawas slaughtered by Stormtroopers on a funeral pyre when Luke returns from the devastated Lars homestead. As the novelization put it, "Kenobi retained values most modern men would have deemed archaic. He would consign no-one to the bone-gnawers and gravel-maggots, not even a filthy Jawa." Books later established burning as the standard Jawa funeral rite, which Kenobi, himself a subscriber to a religion which traditionally burned its dead in a similar fashion, knew.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Luke opts to rescue Leia on the strength of little more than her Hologram image.

    Tropes E to F 
  • Early-Bird Cameo: While disguising as Stormtroopers, Luke and Han walk past a RA-7 Protocol Droid in the Death Star. It took almost 40 years in real life for that particular type of droid to have a role in the franchise.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: See the Star Wars page, which comes almost completely from this film. Lucas had no reason to believe this film would become a smash hit, let alone that it would launch a decades-long franchise.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Alderaan is destroyed by the Empire using the Death Star as part of the final effort to crush rebellion and dissent across the galaxy.
  • Easy Evangelism: Luke pretty much accepts everything that Obi-Wan tells him about his father, the Jedi and the Force without question, even though he's hearing about these details just now. This does help speed the story along of course. Luke's belief only starts stretching during Yoda's lessons in the next movie. Also downplayed in that Obi-Wan only starts training Luke on how to use the Force in any real detail after Luke has already seen a Jedi Mind Trick.

    Luke also chews out Han for not believing in the Force, similar to how a religious person would chew out an atheist in real life for not having a faith in God, even though on Han's defense, there's no way an outlaw and smuggler like him who had more life experience without any direct involvement of the Force would've had a reason to believe it. Not to mention Han's not Force-sensitive himself.
  • Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age: Trope Namer, with Kenobi gushing about the lightsaber.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • The TIE fighter pilots that attack the Rebels in the finale are the personal squadron of Darth Vader, the Magic Knight who leads the villain's military efforts from the frontlines.
    • Darth Vader's stormtroopers during the opening scene. At least they manage to hit someone and arrest the remaining rebels.
  • Epic Fail: Greedo misses Han Solo at point blank range in the Special Editions, only to be immediately killed by the smuggler.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Han shooting first when threatened by Greedo. One of the reasons why the change to that scene evoked such a backlash.
    • Luke's Binary Sunset scene; gazing wistfully into the distance like he was looking at the future.
    • Vader walking emotionlessly past his dead troops and then strangling Captain Antilles to death while interrogating him. He also provides the first introduction of what the Force is capable of; an Imperial officer starts mouthing off about how his "sorcerer's ways" are nothing compared to the Death Star, to which Vader casually lifts a hand and chokes the guy from across the room.
      Vader: I find your lack of faith disturbing.
    • Leia's first appearance is being caught in a firefight by Stormtroopers, shooting at the Stormtroopers while trying to get a message off the ship. Her first speaking scene is cool defiance in the face of Darth Vader (who, as mentioned, just strangled her captain), and her second is being brought to the deck of an Imperial vessel, just after being put through an enhanced interrogation session, and happily taking the time to insult the commander to his face. She then attempts to guilt Darth freakin' Vader, and lies about the location of the Rebel base to throw off the Empire and save her planet from destruction. The lie fails, miserably, but this woman is Silk Hiding Steel all the way.
  • Establishing Character Music:
    • Darth Vader is first seen on the Tantive VI accompanied by an ominous trumpet chord which, combined with his black, skull-like mask and helmet, marks him as the villain.
    • Later, when we first see Luke, the main theme is heard briefly, marking him as The Hero.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The first scene does this for the saga, though in ways that are difficult for modern audiences to appreciate. First, it gives the setting as "A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away...", establishing this as a modern-day fairy tale in space. Next, it introduces the plot via an Opening Scroll as an homage to the Flash Gordon serials of the 1930's, complete with a bombastic opening theme. Then, just seconds later, we get that famous tracking shot of the underside of an Imperial Star Destroyer, showing off every lovingly crafted inch of the thing—and showing that, unlike Flash Gordon, this was a big-budget Epic Film in a painstakingly detailed fictional world. Moviegoers in 1977 had never seen a science-fiction film with production values that high, but that tracking shot gave them a taste of the spectacle that awaited them.
  • Evil Is Not Well-Lit: The interior of the Death Star, the villains' secret base, is drab and monotone.
  • Exact Words: Captain Antilles tells Darth Vader that their ship intercepted no transmissions of the Death Star plans. Rogue One shows this is accurate, as the plans were transmitted to the Profundity and then downloaded and carried by hand onto the Tantive IV.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: After Luke and Obi-Wan find the remains of the Jawas that sold them R2-D2 and C-3PO, he realizes that the Stormtroopers search for the droids would end up leading them back to his relatives homestead.
    Luke: But that would lead them back... home!
  • Exposition:
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The movie seems to take place in the span of at least three days.
  • Eye on a Stalk: The Dianoga has an eye on a stalk, which lets it see above the surface while the rest of its body remains submerged.
  • Failsafe Failure: Including one of the most famous in all media:
    • The Death Star, a battle station the size of a small moon, can be completely destroyed by a small fighter firing a couple of torpedoes down a thermal exhaust shaft that leads directly to the main reactor. Imperial designers apparently recognized the problem to the extent of ray shielding the shaft to protect it from blaster fire, but for some reason cannot stop projectiles. (Of course, the Empire can be forgiven for this, since you would have to be some kind of space wizard who is also a fighter pilot to actually hit a target that small.) The film Rogue One addresses the weakness as being purposefully put in by the Death Star's unwilling designer in order to specifically give it a glaring weakness for the Rebels to use.
    • Basically all the doors on the Death Star. If you shoot out the control panels for them on one side, the controls on the other side no longer work either. This proves to be both a feature and a bug for Luke and Leia during their escape.
    • Further demonstrating the Death Star's shoddy design, the tractor beam system has seven separate power junctions feeding it. This is apparently not for backup and failsafe purposes, as the disconnection of any one of the junctions will disable the entire system.
  • Faint in Shock: A bit of an homage. While he probably didn't actually faint (being a droid and all), Threepio topples backwards when he first sees the Tusken Raider. He is found some time later just recovering the droid equivalent of consciousness. He seems to have slipped in surprise at the Raider, tumbled down a rough incline, and took damage that knocked him offline for a time. In presentation, it very much captures the feel of "weak character fainting when confronted with sudden, surprising danger."
  • Faking the Dead: To avoid the political consequences of arresting Princess Leia, Vader orders his men to send out a fake Distress Call, then send a message to the Senate saying everyone on board was killed. Once the Death Star is operational however, the Empire soon drops the façade of needing the Senate at all.
  • False False Alarm: When attacking the prison section of the Death Star to recuse Leia, one of the guards trips the alarm. Solo tries to play it off as a false alarm but fails completely.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Although generally considered a family movie, with a large fanbase of kids, the film includes several unexpectedly gory moments that remain unique in the original trilogy: the smoldering skeletons of Owen and Beru that Luke sees when he returns home; and the close-up of a bloody dismembered arm of the thug who finds himself on the wrong end of Obi-Wan's lightsaber (owing to the editing of the scene, coupled with the appearance — possibly due to Special Effects Failure — of the arm being hollow, and the fact we hear no more about the man Obi-Wan attacks, the impression is given that the man is actually vaporized by the lightsaber). The novelization also features a few unusual for the series graphic descriptions of gore and violence during some of the battles.
  • Fantastic Racism: Wookiees are not well-respected. An Imperial derisively refers to Chewbacca as a "thing," and later Leia snaps, "Will somebody get this big walking carpet out of my way?"
  • Feeling Their Age: Obi-Wan, when asking Luke to join him, lamented that he was getting too old to go on these sort of adventures. A big part of his duel with Vader was being mocked that he was old and out of practice.
  • Fighter-Launching Sequence: The ships launching for the battle of Yavin.
  • Final Girl: Done retroactively in the Disney EU, with Gold Squadron's sole survivor being a woman who just so happens to come from Alderaan and wasn't among the victims of the Disaster.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: The first appearance of the Force-choke used by Vader.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie, R2 and 3PO become True Companions through their shared experience of escaping from the Death Star, a character dynamic that continues through the rest of this trilogy and sets the original trilogy apart from both the prequels and sequels.
  • Fix It in Post: Go watch the climax again, and note that every reference to the Death Star being about to blow up the Rebel base is delivered via anonymous voice-over and computer displays. Evidently in the original cut, the Rebels just intercepted the Death Star at some random point in space and destroyed it. This YouTube video discusses at length how much editor Marcia Lucas changed the entire movie for the better.
  • Flat "What": Darth Vader, when the Millennium Falcon appears out of nowhere at the last possible minute and blows up one of the ships flanking his.
  • Force-Choke: This is the first bad-guy Force power introduced in the series, and establishes in a big way that Darth Vader is much more than a brutal Imperial enforcer.
  • The Force Is Strong with This One: Trope Namer. Vader seeing Luke's X-Wing wasn't so easy to hit.
  • Forced to Watch: Leia is forced to watch Alderaan's destruction with all her friends and family still on the planet.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • As Luke introduces himself to R2-D2 and C-3PO, 3PO calls him "Sir Luke", hinting at Luke's eventual Jedi Knighthood.
    • Uncle Owen expressing his fear to his wife Beru that Luke will turn out like his father.
    • Ben Kenobi telling Luke that Obi-Wan is not dead... not yet.
    • Darth Vader foretells to Tarkin that it will be a day long remembered, hinting at the Death Star's destruction.
    • Darth Vader tells the Imperial council to not get too overconfident in the Death Star, stating "the ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force." Sure enough, it's the Force that allows Luke to make the one-in-a-million shot that destroys the battle station.
    • When Vader talks about Obi-Wan to Tarkin, the latter says he must not be allowed to escape. Vader replies that escape is not his plan. He's right -- Obi-Wan intended to die on the Death Star, and even signaled why he intended to die during their final duel.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Although many of the X-wing models were reused throughout the final battle sequence (sometimes without respect to which ships are actually supposed to be on screen), if one looks closely they'll find that ILM built at least six unique models: Red Leader (Dreis), Red Two (Wedge), Red Three (Biggs), Red Four (John D.), Red Five (Luke), and Red Six (Porkins) all had unique markings.note 
    • If you look closely in some shots, you can see David Prowse's eyes through the Vader mask.

    Tropes G to H 
  • Gambit Roulette: Darth Vader's ultimate plan to get the Rebel base's location, which Tarkin agreed to on the grounds that it demonstrated that Leia was of more use than he had anticipated, hinged on Luke and Han rescuing Leia and the tractor beam being disabled by the time they got back to the Millennium Falcon. He sent a pair of Stormtroopers into the Falcon to search for occupants, and the whole thing—Luke and Han attacking the Stormtroopers and Dressing as the Enemy, Chewie being the Trojan Prisoner, Obi-wan evading the Stormtroopers until the tractor beam was disabled, etc.—was improvised from there. Subverted in that from the perspective of a Force sensitive, there is no such thing as luck.
  • Game Night Fight: Han implies Chewbacca handles it pretty poorly when he loses in games. It's shown when R2-D2 and C-3PO play dejarik with Chewie, with the droids making a move that beats one of Chewie's piece, making him growl in anger. 3PO protests that R2 made a fair move, but Han warns him it's best to just let him win.
    C-3PO: But, sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid.
    Han: That's because a droid don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookies are known to do that.
    C-3PO: I see your point, sir. I suggest a new strategy, R2 — let the wookiee win.
  • Garbage Hideout: When Imperial troops cut off their escape route, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo and Chewbacca are stuck shooting it out in the Death Star's cell bay. Leia takes a blaster from Luke, and obliterates a waste grate. "Into the garbage chute, flyboy." This move gets the party out of harm's way for a while. Then the Imperials start the trash compactor. Uh-oh.
  • Genocide Survivor: The Empire uses the Death Star to blow up the planet of Alderaan, with Princess Leia being Forced to Watch as her home is instantaneously destroyed.
  • Genre-Busting: Hoo boy, we have an adventure story with fairy tale and mythological elements, samurai melodrama, space fantasy, war movie, western and old fashioned science fiction elements all mashed up into one movie. By the way, the visual design evokes Putting on the Reich, cowboys in space, Ray Gun Gothic, and a dab of Crystal Spires and Togas, all while being the Trope Codifier for Used Future. The space combat scenes were created to evoke WWII dogfighting footage at its most heroic and the score hearkens back to much older war movies with bright, powerful orchestral music. Heck, The Dragon is in a costume that mixes samurai silhouettes with those of a Ray Gun Gothic villain.
  • Genre Throwback: The whole movie is a big 70's love letter to Flash Gordon, war movies, westerns and B-movie serials of the old days of Hollywood.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: In addition to making Han return fire on Greedo instead of shooting first, they added in a deleted scene of Han conversing with Jabba by the Falcon (who was originally portrayed as humanoid, making some awkward CG putting in the now famous giant slug, and Han calling Jabba a "wonderful human being") note . There is also a grand establishing shot of Mos Eisley as they drive in, a scene of Luke meeting his old friend Biggs Darklighter (though the early scene in which Biggs is introduced remains on the cutting room floor), an Epic Tracking Shot for the X-Wings as they prepare to engage the Death Star, and the Shistavanen Lak Sivrak as well as the Defel Arleil Schous were both replaced by Ketwol and Melas, a Pacithhip and a Sarkan respectively, for the Cantina scene.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Obi-Wan sees that Luke, Han, and Leia have the perfect opportunity to sneak aboard the Millenium Falcon and escape since all the stormtroopers who were guarding the ship are now watching the duel between himself and Vader. Obi-Wan then gives Vader a small grin before throwing the fight and letting Vader cut him down.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Everything in this movie. Blue lightsabers are good, red is bad. The Imperial ships are black or white while the Rebel ships are grey and red. Even the laser bolts are different colors, with Rebels firing red and Imperials green (except small arms, which all shoot red bolts). The showdown between Vader and Obi-Wan also introduced the Jedi and Sith color scheme of black vs. brown robes which was maintained throughout all the films.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The goal with the Death Star was to destroy the will of the people of the galaxy and prevent them from fighting back. However, having no hope of victory also means that there is nothing to lose by fighting back, which served to reinvigorate the Rebellion and inspire other worlds to defect.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Clone Wars, first mentioned in this movie and promptly never explained for the next twenty-five years. Beyond the fact that Obi-Wan and Luke's father both fought in it, we learn nothing about it in this film. Keep in mind that at the time, there was no plan for Star Wars to be a big franchise like it is today, so it was very likely that almost nobody among the crews and actors had any slightest idea what the Clone Wars was like. It didn't help that it never even got any more mention in the rest of the Original Trilogy, making it nothing more than a big fat Noodle Incident at the time.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Emperor is a background figure who never appears nor does he intervene in the decisions taken. He's only mentioned almost in passing a couple of times through the film.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Subverted, if not averted. The commander of the prison guards didn't buy the Trojan Prisoner plot Luke and Han tried to do with Chewbacca while they were Dressing as the Enemy. Not that it helped much....
  • Guile Hero: If you think about it, pretty much every major character save for Chewbacca uses guile to screw somebody else over.
    • R2: Tricks Luke into removing his restraining bolt so he can find Obi-Wan.
    • Obi-Wan: Uses the Force to confuse Stormtroopers, and distracts Vader long enough for Luke and co to escape.
    • Leia: Lies to Tarkin about where the Rebel base is.
    • Luke: Convinces Han to rescue Leia because "she's rich". It turns out the Rebellion can pay Han, but Luke wouldn't have known that.
    • Han: Shoots Greedo, pretends to be a Stormtrooper on the radio to buy them time ("We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?")
    • C-3PO: Pretends he and R2 are helpless Imperial droids victimized by Luke and co.
    • Vader and Tarkin: Put a homing beacon on the Millennium Falcon to track it to the Rebel base.
  • Guy in Back: R2-D2 during the final battle. To add to the drama, he is badly damaged during the final trench run.
  • Hard Truth Aesop:
    • You can't convince a person to do the right thing unless they truly want to do it, no matter the nobility of your case. Luke wants to travel the stars, but knows his aunt and uncle need him on the farm and hesitates when Ben invites him to come to Alderaan. Han only rescues Princess Leia for the promise of enough money to pay his debt to Jabba and refuses to die for her cause. He comes back to save Luke because he likes the kid.
    • The term "let the wookie win" comes from C-3PO and R2-D2 throwing their holographic chess match with Chewbacca, after Han Solo instructs them not "to upset a wookie". This scene suggests that it isn't worth winning — even fairly — against a Sore Loser that could inflict Disproportionate Retribution upon Rage Quitting, particularly if the stakes are as low as an inconsequential chess match.
  • Hero Killer: Darth Vader is infamous for killing numerous Jedi when the Empire began to rule, including Luke's father. Onscreen, he cements his status when he kills Obi-wan in a lightsaber duel and shoots down half-a-dozen pilots during the Battle of Yavin, including two squad leaders and Luke's childhood friend Biggs, while giving R2-D2 serious damage and nearly shooting down Luke before Han arrives in a Big Damn Heroes.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Obi-Wan allows Vader to kill him so Luke will leave the Death Star. Since Obi-Wan knows he'll live on in the universe's afterlife, he decides to Go Out with a Smile.
  • Heroism Incentive: Luke telling Han he could get a handsome reward for saving Princess Leia. It even got played with in various ways.
    Han: No reward is worth this.
  • The Hero's Journey: Hits pretty much every note, and Joseph Campbell was one of Lucas's many inspirations in developing the story.
  • Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: A retroactive example; Obi-Wan hesitates for a few seconds before telling Luke that Vader betrayed and murdered his father. He was intended to be telling the truth at the time the film was made, but The Reveal about Luke's parentage in The Empire Strikes Back makes it this trope. The hesitation was also quite a fortunate touch, as it makes the later Retcon work more smoothly.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Essentially the Rebel plan during the Battle of Yavin. The X-Wings would distract the turrets while the slower Y-Wings, unnoticed in the confusion of the X-Wing attack, made their way to the Trench to attack the exhaust port. Unfortunately, Darth Vader is wise to that maneuver, ordering all TIE Fighters to take out the X-Wings, while his own squadron goes after the Y-Wings.
  • Hollywood Tactics: The entire purpose of wingmen is to attack any enemies that try to engage your lead fighter. The enemy can't line up a shot to take out your leader if they're too busy dodging your own shots. Instead of sitting there as useless meat shields, Wedge and Biggs and the rest should have immediately dropped back to engage Vader's fighters. Notably, when Han shows up and does exactly this, it immediately breaks up Vader's formation and leaves Luke free to take his shot, precisely what wingman tactics are supposed to do.
  • Homage:
    • To Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, with the droids being the focus for much of the film, and also to Yojimbo, with the scene of the two braggarts at the cantina. Lucas' heavy use of frame wipes is also indebted to Kurosawa.
      Admiral Motti: [to Vader] [Your belief in the force hasn't] given you clairvoyance enough to find the rebels' hidden fortre[Vader silences him with a Force-Choke]
    • The heart-wrenching scene where Luke rushes to the farm, only to find it already raided and his relatives dead harkens to an equally distressing scene in The Searchers.
    • The confrontation between Kenobi against Ponda Baba and Cornelius Evazan in the cantina is straight out of Yojimbo, complete with the lingering shot on a severed arm.
    • Much of the Death Star attack at the climax comes from The Dam Busters, down to the dialogue in places. In fact, some footage from The Dam Busters was actually used in early cuts as a stand-in for the Death Star trench run.
    • The medal ceremony scene at the end is almost frame-for-frame out of the infamous Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will.
    • A couple of the characters are homages bordering on Expy. Classical Hollywood aficionados will recognize Greedo's silky voice and bugged-out eyes, and Jabba moves smoothly like Sidney Greenstreet and has his placid expression. Harrison Ford's Han Solo has elements of Humphrey Bogart note  as well.
  • Honest John's Dealership: The droids sold by the Jawas are what they find around Tatooine, so defective droids like the R5 unit with the malfunctioning motivator end up getting sold to unsuspecting consumers.
  • Hypocrite: After learning that Dantooine isn't the location of the current rebel base, Tarkin has the nerve to get upset that Leia lied to him, just after he had went back on his word to her and blew up her home planet. Although his anger could be more directed at the fact that, having destroyed Alderaan, he now has no leverage over her.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • When Luke rescues Leia from her cell, she remarks that Luke's rather short for a Stormtrooper. In real life, Mark Hamill is 5'9", while Carrie Fisher was a petite 5'1" in height.
    • Even more amusing in that Temeura Morrison, who played Jango Fett and was the base for the clone army that became stormtroopers, is only 5'7". Luke is actually tall for a stormtrooper.
    • After Luke boasts that he just blasted a TIE fighter, Han Solo, who tends to be a bit on the smug, overconfident side at times, tells him not to get cocky about it.

    Tropes I to J 
  • Idiot Ball:
    • The commander of the Star Destroyer doesn't fire on the escape pod leaving Leia's ship because there are no life signs onboard. The Star Wars Lore clearly establishes that droids are very common and perform a wide variety of significant tasks. As such, it is mind-boggling that a senior Imperial officer wouldn't consider the possibility that the pod might have droids onboard that might be important to the rebels. Though he does immediately tell Vader about this.
    • Leia deduces that the Falcon is being tracked by the Empire, but instead of taking precautions (for instance, making a rendezvous with an Alliance ship in deep space), she travels straight to Yavin IV, leading the Death Star right to its target.
    • Even if Admiral Motti genuinely thought that Vader was making up the Force, what did he seriously think that the end result of insulting him to his face was going to be?
  • I Just Want to Be Special: The film begins with Luke saying that he wants to leave home to join the Rebellion, just like some of his friends. It's bittersweet when he gets his wish. He stated that he wanted to join the Imperial Academy (even though Luke said he had a negative opinion of the Empire when talking to Obi-Wan), as he and Owen discussed at their dinner. Owen wouldn't allow him to, due to how much Luke was needed on the moisture farm and because he was a bit nervous that Luke would turn out like his father.
    Beru: Luke's just not a farmer, Owen. He has too much of his father in him.
    Owen: That's what I'm afraid of.
  • I Lied: Tarkin threatens to destroy Alderaan unless Leia gives up the location of the Rebel base. When Leia tells him, he has Alderaan destroyed anyway. For her part, Leia lied about it being on Dantooine, at least currently.
  • Immediate Sequel: This starts presumably not long after Rogue One ends.
  • Imminent Danger Clue: After Han speculates that the TIE fighter harassing the Falcon around the remains of Alderaan either followed them through hyperspace or got separated from a convoy, Obi-wan counters that those fighters don't have hyperspace drives and work from local bases only—of which they both agree there are none around Alderaan. Then they see it heading for what seems to be a small moon ...
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy:
    • Averted and then played straight when the Imperials board the Tantive IV. The stormtroopers quickly mow through the rebels and send the remaining ones packing. But during the shootout, C-3PO and R2 pass through the hallway and narrowly miss the volley of lasers being shot between the imperials and the rebels. While this could be chalked up to them not being the targets of either side, the droids got really lucky they made it out intact.
    • Ironically, an aversion of this is what lets Luke and Kenobi know that the Jawas who sold Luke the droids weren't slaughtered by Tuskens. Unfortunately, this realization is made too late to save Owen and Beru.
    • The Death Star's stormtroopers fire volley after volley of lethal laser rounds and always end up just missing our heroes. This includes when they're standing still five feet in front of them, clinging to a wall, or running down a straight hallway. Leia later rationalizes that Vader intentionally let them escape, but it isn't clear when in the escape Vader got that idea and relayed it to his troops.
    • Greedo, in the Special Edition, clearly is a graduate as he is somehow able to miss Han. At point-blank range. By more than the distance between them. With a laser.
  • Implausible Deniability: Captain Antilles and Leia both try to insist that Tantive IV is on a diplomatic mission. Vader is having none of it and takes the ship captive. The film Rogue One shows it as completely implausible.
  • Imposed Handicap Training: When Obi-Wan is teaching Luke how to use the Force, he has him fight a practice robot blindfolded.
  • Indy Ploy:
    • Played with, as Luke's spur-of-the-moment plan to get into the detention center starts to unravel when they just blindly shoot at the cameras and Han poorly makes an excuse over the intercom.
    • Leia's ploy also works partly. Diving into the garbage chute gets them out of the firefight, but the droids have to save them from the compactor.
  • Informed Ability: This is the film where Obi-Wan Kenobi infamously states, when pointing out blaster marks "Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise." These would be the same Stormtroopers that can't seem to hit the broad side of a barn any time they're shown shooting at the heroes. People do seem to forget however that in this film at least the Stormtroopers were deliberately missing.
  • Insecurity Camera: The cameras in the Death Star's cell block are pretty useless, since Luke and Han shoot them as soon as their cover is blown and a fight breaks out with the Imperial guards.
  • It Began with a Twist of Fate: Don't forget about the time Luke Skywalker's uncle bought a couple of droids.
  • It Was a Gift: Luke's lightsaber was originally his father's. Obi-Wan said his father wanted him to have it when he was old enough. Of course it may have been Metaphorically True...
  • I Warned You: Han was initially against rescuing Leia.
    Han: [about their plan] This is not gonna work.
    Luke: Why didn't you say so before?
    Han: I did say so before!
    [Luke shakes his head]
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Not the Trope Namerinvoked, but this film showed the first example of Star Wars's Jedi Mind Trick, an ability where one uses the mystical energy field known as the Force to fool the weak-minded into doing as one says.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Uncle Owen may be frustrating Luke's dream of going to the Academy terribly, but considering the risk that Luke would surely be discovered by the Sith Lords and corrupted into their minion, you can see why Owen would be determined to prevent that.
    • Vader may well have provoked Motti's outburst by so belittling the Death Star, the focus of all the assembled officers' efforts and hopes for presumably months, in comparison to the Force, but given what we've seen of it in the franchise since then, he has a point.
    • Motti had to know he was tempting fate to say something like "your sad devotion to that ancient religion" to Vader's face, and indeed it took Tarkin's intervention to save his life, but the Force can't keep anyone in the room from agreeing that for all Vader's mastery of it the Empire is still no closer to finding the rebel base or recovering the Death Star plans.
    • Leia seems almost petulant about being rescued, but given that Han and Luke admit that they don't really have much of a plan and the odds are overwhelmingly against them succeeding, can you blame her?
  • Just in Time:
    • Han showing up at the Death Star fight and saving Luke from Vader.
    • And soon afterwards, the Death Star exploding just before it can fire on Yavin IV.

    Tropes K to L 
  • Kick the Dog:
    • The destruction of Alderaan, a peaceful planet full of diplomats, firmly establishes the monstrous nature of Grand Moff Tarkin and the Empire as a whole. In essence, Tarkin and the Empire shot themselves in the foot by enabling neutral worlds to jump to the Rebels' cause.
      Leia: [from a test shot] And you call yourselves humans.
    • The Stormtroopers slaughtering the Jawas and then killing Owen and Beru. The film doesn't give any explanation for the massacres (especially since, unlike the Rebels from the opening, they're all basically no threat to the Empire), and makes it come off as the Empire just being incredibly ruthless.
    • On the Tantive IV we see several rebel soldiers surrendering and being walked offscreen by stormtroopers. As the Imperial forces prepare to leave, we hear Darth Vader tell his lieutenant to report that no one survived, implying they murdered all the soldiers even though they surrendered.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Davish Krail during the Trench Run. His last words are a calm sitrep telling Garven Dreis what he is going to face: "They came... from behind—"
  • Knight, Knave, and Squire: Luke Skywalker is the Squire, with Obi-Wan and Han Solo as the Knight and Knave respectively. A key point in Luke's character development is when he rejects Han's pragmatism, leading to Han second-guessing his own beliefs.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In retaliation against the disturbance caused by the destruction of Alderaan and the slaughter of all of its inhabitants, the Force guides Luke's hands to fire the shots that destroy the Death Star and slaughter its entire crew.
  • Last Day of Normalcy: We're introduced to Luke Skywalker on Tatooine as a bored kid working on his Uncle Owen's moisture farm, who "wastes time with his friends" at Tosche Station and has dreams of leaving. Then his Uncle buys two used droids with a bit of a history, and one with a mission to find Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    • Han makes it clear that he's not fond of stealth and subtlety on the Death Star.
      Luke: You know, between [Chewbacca's] howling and your blasting everything in sight, it's a wonder the whole station doesn't know we're here.
      Han: Bring 'em on. I'd prefer a straight fight to all this sneaking around.
    • He then chases after a group of retreating Stormtroopers. Followed by him running full tilt away from the same group of Stormtroopers when they turn around and start shooting at him again.
  • Leitmotif: All over the place. John Williams held nothing back. The film introduces the themes for the Rebels, the Jedi, Princess Leia, and more. Even the Death Star itself has a cue to represent it. (Notably absent is Vader's theme, the ominous Imperial March, which doesn't appear until the next movie.)
  • Leitmotif upon Death: Downplayed when Obi-wan is dueling with Darth Vader. The Force Theme briefly plays in a few moments before he is killed. Strangely, it is followed by Leia's Theme, where she had little importance in the scene.
  • Let the Bully Win: Trope Namerinvoked. 3PO telling R2 to "let the Wookiee win".
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: At first, Obi-Wan seems to be little more than a wizened old man, who may have once been a warrior of the Clone Wars, but is now an old man who lives in a hovel. Then we get to the cantina scene, where said old man whips out a lightsaber, deflects blaster shots and lops a man's arm off. You can tell from the look on Luke's face, that's the moment when he starts to take the whole 'Jedi' thing seriously.
  • A Light in the Distance: C-3PO, lost on Tatooine, sees light glinting off a Jawa sandcrawler and concludes that he's saved.
  • List-of-Experiences Speech: While talking to young Luke Skywalker, Han Solo lists his experiences to poo-poo the concept of The Force: "Kid, I've flown from one end of this galaxy to the other. Seen a lot of strange stuff. But I've never seen anything to make me believe there's some all-powerful force controlling everything. No mystical energy field controls my destiny." This speech neatly gauges how cynical and faithless Han Solo is at that point.
  • Listing the Forms of Degenerates: Obi-Wan does this when he says "Mos Eisley spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."
  • A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...: Trope Namerinvoked. The introductory line of text before the opening crawl.
  • Low Clearance: In a blooper they left ininvoked a stormtrooper hits his head on a door that didn't open quite enough.

    Tropes M to N 
  • MacGuffin Blindness: Four stormtroopers fail to recognize that the droids they're looking for are right in front of them, courtesy of Ben's Jedi Mind Trick.
  • Magical Guide: Before his physical death, Obi-wan Kenobi is a guide and teacher to Luke Skywalker; the novelization strongly implies that Kenobi did something to help awaken Luke's Force powers while training him aboard the Millennium Falcon.
  • Magic Versus Science:
    • Vader lectures Admiral Motti on this when the latter brags that the Death Star is the ultimate power in the universe.
      Darth Vader: Don't be too proud of this technological terror you constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of The Force.
    • And magic wins. Luke destroys the Death Star specifically by discarding his own technology (that is, his X-Wing's targeting computer) in favor of Obi-Wan's first lesson: let the Force guide your senses.
  • Make an Example of Them: Tarkin had a history with his trope, and destroying Alderaan through its planetary shield (that could have resisted bombardment from hundreds of ships) would show the galaxy that opposing the Empire meant complete annihilation. Then the Rebels blew up the Death Star, thus making an example of him.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The Jawas who sold R2-D2 and C-3PO to Owen and Beru Lars get slaughtered by Imperial Stormtroopers, who make it look like the Tusken Raiders were responsible by leaving gaderfii sticks and bantha tracks behind.
  • Match Cut: The shot where R2 uploads the Death Star plans at the rebel base and whistles at the 3D schematics immediately cuts to the real Death Star heading for Yavin, in a similar position to where the plans were displayed on screen.
  • Mentor Archetype: Obi-Wan Kenobi fills this role so well, the Trope was once named after him.
  • Mentor's New Hope: Luke is being taught by Obi-Wan, who also taught Darth Vader before Vader went to the dark side.
  • Metaphorically True
    • Grand Moff Tarkin orders Leia to divulge the location of the Rebel Alliance's base. She does, saying that it's on Dantooine. When Imperial ships arrive at the planet they find out that there was a Rebel base there... and it had just been abandoned. So Leia did divulge the location... just not the right one.
    • Obi-Wan saying that Vader killed Luke's father got the trope its previous name of "Jedi Truth" after the Retcon of Vader being Luke's father.
  • A Million is a Statistic: Averted with Alderaan, and the shock and horror various characters express at its destruction.
  • Mission Briefing: Before the attack on the Death Star. Luke speaks up about how the impossible-seeming goal isn't really. The briefing also includes a complete Exposition Diagram commented by Mr. Exposition himself, projecting the plans of an Air-Vent Passageway out of R2-D2's memory on The Big Board.
  • Mistaken for Dying: A brief played for laughs scene. After R2 and 3PO manage to shut down the garbage compactor in time, Luke and the others begin screaming in relief, which 3PO mistakes for dying screams and believes he wasn't fast enough to save them, until Luke calls out that they're okay.
  • Motivational Kiss: Leia gives Luke a peck on the cheek "for luck" before he tries to swing over a precarious gap.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Imperial Stormtroopers TK-421 and TK-422 are lured onto the Millennium Falcon, where Han stuns them in order to steal their uniforms.
  • Mythology Gag: The Special Edition remasters added an Early-Bird Cameo of the Outrider, Dash Rendar's ship in Shadows of the Empire, to the establishing shots of Mos Eisley.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Darth Vader, a name not very different from Dark Invader. It's a miracle nobody questioned him not being seduced by the dark side of the force. This was later retconned in the next movie and following material, where it's revealed that's not his birth name, but rather a Sith title.
    • Their starships also invoke fear and force just by their names. The Star Destroyers, and their superweapon, the Death Star.
  • Narrative Filigree: The encounter with Dr. Evazan (who isn't even given a name here). He just comes up and picks a fight with Luke for no apparent reason, along with mentioning that he's wanted in several systems for (unspecified) crimes. When he and his friend get violent, Obi-Wan lops off his arm. While he was eventually fleshed out in Star Wars Legends, here he just seems like a Random Encounter to show the Cantina is dangerous, and is never brought up again for the whole trilogy.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Empire is clearly patterned after the Nazis. Their foot soldiers are called "stormtroopers", originally a Nazi term for the SA. Tarkin makes a comment about the "regional governors" governing the Empire directly; the German word for "regional governor" is Gauleiter, and this was in fact the Nazi system of government, with Germany divided into regions governed by Gauleiters appointed by Hitler. See also Putting on the Reich below.
  • Near-Villain Victory: The Empire comes within seconds of destroying the Rebel base on Yavin IV before Luke Skywalker blows up the Death Star. Darth Vader also comes extremely close to shooting Luke down, and probably would have had Han not intervened.
  • Neck Lift: Darth Vader grabs Raymus Antilles' neck and lifts him off his feet while interrogating him.
  • Neck Snap: Darth Vader snaps the neck of Raymus Antilles when he refuses to cooperate.
  • The Needs of the Many: Leia is forced into this situation, throwing the planet of Dantooine (which the Expanded Universe has established is an inhabited world, albeit a sparsely populated one) under the proverbial bus in hopes of it being destroyed by the Death Star instead of Alderaan when forced by Tarkin to choose between giving up the rebel base location or seeing her homeworld destroyed. She's far too trusting.
  • Never My Fault:
    • C-3PO while lost in the desert after refusing to take R2's route:
      C-3PO: That malfunctioning little twerp! This is all his fault! He tricked me into going this way. But he'll do no better.
    • Later, after getting tangled up by wires following an attack from the TIE Fighters.
      C-3PO: Help! I think I'm melting! [to R2] This is all your fault.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Leia to Han. To Leia it's Han's first impression.
      Han: We can't get out that way.
      Leia: Looks like you've managed to cut off our only escape route.
      Han: Maybe you'd like it back in your cell, your highness.
    • Luke, while he and Leia are trying to escape the stormtroopers aboard the Death Star.
      Leia: Quick, we've got to get across! Find the controls that extend the bridge.
      Luke: [sighs] I think I just blasted it...
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The TIE pilot who knocks Darth Vader off course, thereby saving Luke and allowing him to destroy the Death Star. Han comes in at the last minute and blasts Vader, right? Nope. Han blasts one of Vader's two wingman, and the other one panics and swerves wildly despite not being fired upon, knocking himself and Vader both off course.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The Clone Wars were mentioned only once in the original trilogy, as Luke learns more about Obi-Wan's past. It wasn't until the prequel trilogy and The Clone Wars animated series that we'd learn more about it.
    • As the Tantive IV comes under attack C-3PO says "They'll be no escape for the princess this time." We find out in Rogue One that the Princess had, in fact, just had the narrowest of escapes.
    • Vader comments early on that there will be "no-one to stop us this time." This was probably when the Rebels stole the plans in the first place, which would be depicted thirty-nine years later in Rogue One.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • The Death Star either fired their safety inspection team or have complete disregard for the safety of their staff, because the inside of the station is a giant death trap. You have massive chasms with very tiny bridges that can be retracted, and they have no railings or support at all. The tractor beam's power is controlled through a panel perched on a tower over a bottomless pit, and the catwalk to access the controls is about a foot wide. There are giant doors that slam shut in the blink of an eye. Their hangar bay has a giant, open elevator pit right next to where the ships would land. Heck, the superlaser cannon has two crew members perched on the itty bitty platform right next to the gigantic superlaser beam!
    • The blast doors. These are quadruple-section doors that close in from the corners, leaving an increasingly-shrinking square in the middle. Yes, in the event of decompression or a firefight, these doors need to close quickly for the safety of the onboard personnel (and to prevent pesky intruders from escaping, natch). But if a body (organic or mechanic) gets caught in the opening and mulched by the doors, that's a whole lotta cleaning up involved, and that's if the doors don't jam from all that matter caught in them.
  • Non-Indicative Name: A mild case. When the film was released, it was simply called Star Wars. The film is not about multiple wars, but instead has one central conflict. This cannot be explained as being part of a franchise, since at the time it was intended to be a standalone work.
  • No Scope: Luke fired the shots that destroyed the Death Star without using his targeting computer (the X-wing's equivalent of a scope).
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • The dianoga in the trash compactor. We only see a couple tentacles and an eyestalk.
    • Leia's session with the torture droid. After zooming in ominously on its wicked-looking syringe, the door shuts and we don't see what happens next.
    • During the trench run, the guns at the end periodically stop firing at the fighters flying towards the exhaust port. This signals Darth Vader's arrival behind the fighters.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Trope Namer. Han just helped save Leia for the reward, and decides to leave the Rebellion to destroy the Death Star without him. While he probably would have left anyway, the fact that he owes a hefty debt to a notorious crimelord certainly doesn't help.
  • Not So Stoic: During the medal ceremony at the end, Leia is apparently trying to appear regal and stoic, but she can't resist breaking a smile after Luke smiles at her. Notably, when Han smiles at her a second later, she apparently doesn't even have to resist. This moment was possibly intended as a Luke/Leia Ship Tease, as they were not planned to be brother and sister at the time.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: The spirit of Obi-Wan reminding Luke to "Use the Force!" (Not to mention, right after his death, getting Luke to run from the stormtroopers instead of battling them.)
  • Not Worth Killing: After Wedge is forced to pull out of the trench run when his X-Wing is damaged, Vader tells his wingmen not to bother wasting their shots on him, since Wedge is no longer a threat and they still have two fighters trying to target the exhaust port to deal with.
    Darth Vader: Let him go. Stay on the leader.

    Tropes O to R 
  • Obstacle Exposition: We have the briefing before the attack against the Death Star that clearly outlines their mission of hitting the exhaust port and everything that can possible stop them. This includes the need for tactical computers to make such a shot, and for good measure there was an unsuccessful attempt mid-way through the battle just so we know just how necessary a precise shot with the targeting computer is. Cue Luke turning off the targeting computer.
  • Obviously Evil: The Empire. Right from the opening shot you can tell they're the bad guys, what with their cold, angular looking starships, the Stormtroopers with their perpetually frowning helmets, their ruthless leader who dresses entirely in black, and so on.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: The film had so many production problems, that many corners were cut to make the props and effects. The results made Star Wars one of the tentpole films for how kitbashing can be used to effectively add visual depth;
    • All of the ships and the surface of the Death Star were made by kitbashing numerous model kits together to give a feeling of detail and grit the film's Used Future tone warranted. For example, the gap between the upper and lower shells of the Millennium Falcon is filled with the undersides of various trucks. This page gives a good idea towards the specifics of how kitbashing (greebling) was done regarding Star Wars props.
    • The blasters in the film are real firearms (or models/props thereof) decorated with model part kits and whatnot, both for ease of editing (adding the energy bolts to the scenes, timed with the effects of the blank cartridges) and so the blasters actually looked like real weapons. Another reason was simple cost and supply. Even by the mid-1970s when the first movie was filmed, WWII-era weapons were still common and easily procured. Even more so, there were tons and tons of realistic plastic props of WWII weapons (particularly Nazi weapons) left over from '60s-era films or contemporary films (such as The Great Escape and The Dirty Dozen). This is why a vast majority of the weapons in the Star Wars universe are modeled closely after German firearms, even down to those used by the heroes such as Han's iconic blaster (modeled after a Mauser pistol). The most iconic Imperial weapon is modeled after a British firearm of the '60s and '70s, the Sterling sub-machine gun, likely as a result of needing large numbers of actually functioning weapons as described previously. It just so happened that at the time A New Hope was being filmed, the British Army was getting rid of most of its stock of Sterlings because sub-machine guns were falling out of favor as infantry weapons, and the rest is history. Also, using "previous generation" weapons added to the Used Future feel of the series.
    • The Lightsabers are built out of the flash from old cameras.
    • In the faraway shots of Luke's landspeeder in the pre-Special Edition cuts, "Luke" and "Obi-Wan" were actually dolls from The Six Million Dollar Man.
    • In the pre-1997 Star Wars Cantina scene, there is a wolf-like Shistavanen named Lak Sivrak, whose face is quite obviously a Halloween mask from a store. Sivrak was replaced with Ketwol, a member of the elephant-like Pacithhip species, for the Special Edition and subsequent cuts of the film.
  • Offstage Villainy: The Empire as a whole. They do some remarkable nefarious acts with the Death Star, but we never hear much of how they affect the rest of the Galaxy. A deleted scene between Luke and Biggs explores this somewhat. The most that they do is burning Luke's farm, and killing his uncle and aunt.
  • Off with His Head!: Vader's lightsaber cleaves through Obi-Wan's neck. Played With since Obi-Wan disappears instead of being decapitated.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Luke realizes that the Empire knows who the Jawas have been selling droids to:
      Luke: But that would lead them back... home...
    • Han's getting the Falcon ready for takeoff from Mos Eisley when he suddenly hears "Stop that ship! Blast them!"
    • "That's no moon... That's a space station." "It's too big to be a space station."
    • In the finale of the film, Motti is utterly shocked when he realizes that the Rebels are going to destroy the Death Star. However, it's averted by Tarkin since he doesn't even realize the Death Star is about to blow up.
    • When Vader is about to shoot Luke's X-wing.
      Vader: I have you now. [wingman goes boom] What?!
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: During the first half of the film, Carrie Fisher uses a British accent, which eventually disappears for no reason. It is particularly noticeable in the scene where Tarkin is threatening to blow up Alderaan. (This is explained in the novel Star Wars: Bloodline; she is mocking Tarkin by adopting his aristocratic accent.)
  • Open the Door and See All the People: Han Solo running towards a room full of stormtroopers in the Special Edition.
  • Orwellian Retcon:
    • Since the 1997 Special Edition, each re-release has featured ever-more-extensive changes, such as Han's shooting of Greedo being changed to self-defense.
    • A very subtle one: a few frames have been removed from almost every single blaster hit on a stormtrooper throughout the film in order to tone down the violence. A frame-by-frame comparison makes the difference very obvious — the frames where the bolt is shown hitting are removed in editing, less than a half-second of footage per hit. It is especially noticeable in the bridge-swinging sequence, where it happens frequently enough to noticeably rush the pacing of the scene. In the other films, very few stormtroopers are actually shot on-screen.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Vader shows great anger and urgency on board the Tantive IV, lashing out and physically choking Captain Antilles. This is in contrast to his calm demeanor and Tranquil Fury seen in the rest of the series. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story explains the circumstances.
  • Out of the Frying Pan: Twice during the escape from the Death Star. First, the heroes escape from a shootout with stormtroopers by diving into a chute, realizing too late that it leads to the interior of a garbage compactor—which not only has the squidlike dianoga monster, but also begins compacting with them inside. Later, Luke shoots a control panel to lock a door between him and some stormtroopers, then realizes immediately afterwards that this same panel controlled the extendable bridge. Thus, he's traded death by stormtrooper for death by bottomless chasm.
  • Palette-Swapped Alien Food: While talking to his aunt and uncle about his future, Luke casually pours himself a glass of blue milk.
  • The Paralyzer: The Imperials' stun weapons knock out Leia instantly.
  • Paying for the Action Scene: After Han Solo kills Greedo in the cantina, he pays the bartender for the mess.
  • Physical Religion: Motti sneers at Vader's devotion to an "ancient religion", only to feel said religion's very real presence around his windpipe.
  • Platonic Kissing: Leia kisses Luke on the cheek before he heads off to battle.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: Invoked by Tarkin when he targets Alderaan with the Death Star to motivate Leia to give up the location of the rebel base. Of course, then he blows up Alderaan anyway. And Leia was lying anyway. The base she gives up had long-since been abandoned.
    Governor Tarkin: You would prefer another target, a military target? Then name the system! I grow tired of asking this so it will be the last time: Where is the rebel base?
  • Point Defenseless: Justified in that the Empire didn't think that fighters could possibly threaten the Death Star on their own, so their static defenses were designed to fight off capital ships. In fact, Tarkin is so arrogant about his station's invincibility that he doesn't bother scrambling the vast fighter fleet available to deal with the Rebels' fighters. On the other hand, Darth Vader is not so stupid and had his personal squadron launch on his own authority, with himself in the lead, to deal with them.
  • The Power of Legacy: Uncle Owen led Luke to believe Anakin was a navigator on a spice freighter, painting him as neither a hero nor a villain. Obi-Wan refrains from telling Luke about his father's true nature but tells him that his father was the "best star pilot in the galaxy".
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Darth Vader lets Wedge fly away after his X-Wing gets crippled. Not out of mercy, but because they have a more important matter at hand: preventing the other X-Wings from reaching the weak spot.
  • Precision F-Strike: During the following conversation between Han Solo and Obi-Wan Kenobi, which Obi-Wan handles pretty hilariously:
    Han: Even if I could take off, I'd never get past the tractor beam.
    Obi-Wan: Leave that to me.
    Han: Damn fool, I knew you'd say that.
    Obi-Wan: Who's the more foolish? The fool or the fool who follows him?
  • Psychic Strangle: Vader gets the first on-screen use of the Force, and he uses it to make Admiral Motti choke on his words about Vader's supposed "ancient religion".
  • Punny Name: The sole visibly overweight Rebel pilot is named Porkins. Allegedly, he was supposed to be a Pig Man but the prosthetics didn't work out.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Trope Namer. Obi-Wan describing Vader's past with him, although he doesn't tell the whole story.
  • Pursued Protagonist: In the opening, Leia attempts to escape the evil Stormtroopers as they board her vessel. Unfortunately, their aim is too precise and they capture her.
  • Putting on the Reich: The Empire is pattered after the Nazis, with officers dressed in a manner that recalls the SS. Interestingly, the Rebel ceremony that closes the film is also this, being a direct lift from a scene in Triumph of the Will.
  • Race Against the Clock: The Rebel pilots have 15 minutes to destroy the Death Star before it opens fire on their base. This aspect of the climax wasn't in the original script, but was instead conceived by Marcia Lucas through judiciously editing the footage and recording new PA announcements for the Rebel and Imperial control rooms.
  • Raster Vision: Used here for the holograms. This is an early use of Raster Vision as an aesthetic — the crummy holograms fit in with the worn-out nature of the tech.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: This occurs when the Sandpeople, Jawas, R2-D2, and almost everyone in the cantina talks in their alien languages and robotic sound effects.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Part of the reason why Tarkin refuses to employ the Death Star's full contingent of fighters (leaving it to Darth Vader to send out his personal squadron) despite the fact that it would have crushed the Rebel attack in about five minutes is because they simply didn't have the time, money or visual effects expertise to depict large squadrons of fighters. By Return of the Jedi, however, that little problem had been taken care of.
  • Reckless Gun Usage:
    • Watch very closely as Luke Skywalker first ignites his lightsaber — he doesn't know how long the beam is and yet is pointing it at Obi-Wan.
    • Han casually tries to blow open the door to the trash compactor, only for the laser to bounce all around the compactor with no cover for anyone.
      Luke: Will you forget it?! I already tried, it's magnetically sealed!
      Leia: Put that thing away, you're going to get us all killed!
  • Recycled IN SPACE!:
    • Was conceived as Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress in space.
    • Lucas says in the commentary that the scenes where Luke is at home with his aunt and uncle are American Graffiti in space. Both deal with small-town teenage boys on the night before they leave on a big adventure.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The restored Jabba sequence from the Special Edition and beyond uses portions of the track "Bounty for a Wookiee" from Return of the Jedi.
  • Refuge in Audacity: As it turns out, Leia's statements about a "diplomatic mission" becomes this in light of Rogue One. Given that Vader had literally witnessed the Tantive IV flee Scariff a few hours before, it took serious balls to lie to his face. It doesn't work.
  • Refusal of the Call: Both Luke and Han. The former when asked by Obi-Wan to come with him to Alderaan and the latter when plead to by Luke to help the Rebels destroy the Death Star.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: Luke's gun jams when the dianoga attacks him.
  • Rescue Introduction: Luke meets Leia by taking off his helmet and telling her he's going to rescue her. Subverted in that she ends up leading her own escape.
  • Retcon: When the film became a huge success, Lucas reimagined it as a series and a lot of things introduced here later underwent significant changes. In fact, the series became one of the more infamous examples of retconning, and even became the Trope Namer for From a Certain Point of View due to changes made over the course of the franchise's decades of development.
  • Retronym: When he made Star Wars, Lucas imagined that it would be Episode I in a series of films with the overall title The Adventures of Luke Skywalker. But while making The Empire Strikes Back (which was at first going to be Episode II of the series), he decided that he also wanted to do three prequel films. Since Luke obviously wouldn't be the hero of the prequels, Lucas needed a new name for the overall series. His solution? Star Wars, once just the chapter title of the first film, became the title of the entire saga. As a result, the subtitle A New Hope was retroactively tacked on to the first film, and it was now numbered Episode IV.
  • Revolting Rescue: After rescuing Princess Leia, the group is forced to escape into a garbage compactor on the Death Star to avoid the Imperials.
  • Rewind, Replay, Repeat: R2-D2 starts to play Leia's holographic message for Kenobi and the short message loops as Luke asks his droids what it means.
    Leia's hologram: Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi! You're my only hope!
  • Ribcage Ridge: The Krayt dragon bones when C-3P0 and R2-D2 are walking through the desert.
  • Ridiculously Potent Explosive: By the numbers, the Earth-Shattering Kaboom that wipes out the planet Alderaan would require more energy than the sun produces in two years and is definitely more than the relatively puny pulse shown should be capable of outputting. Supplemental materials Hand Wave this by explaining that the Death Star's "hypermatter reactor" uses exotic particles from hyperspace to cheat the laws of physics.
  • Right Man in the Wrong Place: Luke is not initially meant to be the one who destroys the Death Star, but as the battle goes on, every one of the Rebels' pilots is killed or disarmed, leaving first-time soldier Luke to save the day. Thankfully, Luke is attuned to the Force, which lets him make the one in a million shot at the Death Star's weak point.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • The Empire is an Obviously Evil organization of Card-Carrying Villains. While it's obvious that the Empire represents evil, it can be less obvious what the Star Wars universe specifically considers evil. The audience receives its first clue regarding the Empire's brand of evil in the film's establishing shot. As the shot pans down over Tatooine, we see a Rebel cruiser fly overhead, immediately followed by an Imperial star destroyer. The differences between the ships are immense, and this shot tells us everything we need to know about the Empire. The Imperial ship is much larger than the cruiser, so it takes longer to pass by, its presence dominating the screen as it does so. The audience feels the power and the size of the Empire wrapped up in the imagery of the ship. As the story progresses, we see how that power and size becomes a source of fear throughout the galaxy. The Empire uses both to make people obey and, like the cruiser, it destroys those who resist. Also, considering the Empire's an oppressive regime supported by a military complex that uses power and fear to force people to follow them and kill any who resist, they're pretty much space Nazis or fascists. There's even imagery to support the claim: The stormtroopers' marching is similar to that out of the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will; the design of the Imperial officer's uniforms was based on Prussian and German military uniforms from the Nazi era; Darth Vader serves as a type of Imperial Gestapo, or Nazi secret police; and they even have their own Final Solution via Alderaan's destruction.
    • Contrasting the "Space Nazi" Empire are The Rebels who naturally symbolize forces of goodness and all of its various forms. For starters, the Rebels value individuality over conformity and the state. This is evident even down to the uniforms worn by their foot soldiers. Whereas stormtroopers wear identical uniforms and helmets that make them all look the same, the Rebels all sport helmets that allow the audience to see their faces and recognize them as individuals. Their value of individuality ultimately leads them to victory. In the climactic battle, the Empire's favoring of conformity results in the TIE fighter pilots being very interchangeable and they can't be told them apart. Meanwhile, the X-Wing fighters have individual names and distinct personalities. Ultimately, it is one of these individuals, Luke Skywalker, that manages to take down the behemoth battle station and save the day. The Rebels also value diversity. The Empire only accepts humans into its ranks — specifically white men. The Rebels, however, accept people from all backgrounds, including nonhuman species like Chewbacca. And finally, the Rebels accept religion. They literally couldn't be more different from the Empire.
    • The Force possibly represents religion broadly rather than a specific one — that it has boiled away the imagery, tenets, and hierarchies to focus on the core of religious beliefs. And it is true that the Force isn't a one-to-one analogy for a real-world religion. For example, the Force isn't this universe's equivalent of Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or Taoism or any of the existing religions. The force is religion, not a religion. As Grand Moff Tarkin says to Vader: "You, my friend, are all that's left of their religion." The implication is that the Jedi were a religion organized by a creed and not a movement of vagabond priests bound by a loose central philosophy. We don't get a clear sense of the religion's structure, but Obi-Wan tells Luke, "the Jedi knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the old Republic". This conjures images of crusading knights of yore, so you may picture a council of Jedi making decisions, warrior Jedi on the front lines, and squire Jedi learning the trade. It's unclear whether the Jedi worship the Force. The Jedi's relationship with the energy field seems a bit more equitable than that. Obi-Wan tells Luke that the Force "obeys your commands," making it something he can use like a talent or tool. Yet Obi-Wan also puts his faith in the Force. He believes that it'll control his actions in a beneficial way and that the Light Side of the Force will ultimately lead Luke to his proper destiny.
    • Much like the Empire represents fascist ideology, but can be read as being a specific fascist group (such as the Nazis), the Death Star (which is really the size of a moon) represents the dangers of military technology in general, but it can be read as specifically the dangers of an advanced military technology... like the atom bomb. Despite its sci-fi veneer, Star Wars has a rather "ancient" vibe to it and technology is mostly frowned upon — ironic given the then-advanced technology that went into making the film. One example of this is Obi-Wan calling blasters "random" and "clumsy" and preferring the more dated technology of the lightsaber. To the average viewer, it's sci-fi awesomeness, but in their universe, it's like preferring a sword to a gun. Another example is Luke trusting his faith in the Force, and switching off his targeting computer. The message is clear: It's better to put your faith in instinct rather than scientific know-how. The Death Star takes this anti-technology bent and gives it a great big villainous symbol. Unlike the shots of Luke's home world or the Rebel base, there is no nature to be found on the Death Star. Its denizens don't even act naturally. Everything about it is artificial. Basically, the Death Star represents the evils of military technology, specifically the atomic bomb. Like the bomb, the Death Star has been designed with the purposes of deterring retaliation with the promise of mass destruction. When Tarkin orders Princess Leia to name the Rebel base, she lies, saying it is on Dantooine. Tarkin decides not to make Dantooine his target, saying the planet is "too remote to make an effective demonstration." It's been argued that one of the reasons America decided to drop the atomic bomb was to demonstrate its military power to the Soviets, reasoning with eerily parallels to Tarkin's. Obi-Wan's haunting account of the destruction of Alderaan — "I felt a great disturbance in the Force as if a million voices suddenly cried in terror and were suddenly silence" — could as easily describe the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    • According to Obi-Wan, a lightsaber is "the weapon of a Jedi knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon for a more civilized age. For over a thousand generations, the Jedi knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire". Obi-Wan yearns for the good old days when things were simpler and world made sense to him. And it's not just Obi-Wan; Star Wars has waves of nostalgia running throughout it. The present is considered the dark time and the past is looked up as a better time to be alive. As such, the Jedi and lightsabers take the place of knights and swords and represent the good old days. Audiences look back on the age of errant knights and think of it as a time of chivalry, courage, and decorum (although that couldn't be further from the truth). By co-opting the imagery of knights, Star Wars creates a symbol that draws us into the nostalgia trip. The Jedi and lightsaber — not to mention Obi-Wans poetic waxing for the snows of yesteryear — don't bring reality to Star Wars. They infuse the film with the luster of myths and legends.

    Tropes S to V 
  • Sacrificial Planet: Grand Moff Tarkin uses the Death Star to destroy Alderaan to demonstrate the power of his station to the galaxy before setting his sights on the planet containing the main rebel base.
  • Satellite Family Member: Luke Skywalker has always lived with his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru on the desert planet Tatooine. Owen doesn't want Luke to leave and become a pilot; he insists that Luke stay and work on the family moisture farm. When Owen and Beru are both killed by Imperial stormtroopers, Luke has all the motivation he needs to go to Alderaan with Obi-Wan Kenobi and become a Jedi, and join the fight against the Empire that murdered his foster parents.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: As pictured above, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker is depicted in one of the posters holding a blaster directly towards the audience.
  • Serendipitous Survival: When R2-D2 runs off, Luke has to chase after him and hopefully get him back before anybody notices so he won't get in trouble. This, and the subsequent meeting with Obi-Wan Kenobi, delay Luke enough that he doesn't get home until long after the Stormtroopers looking for R2 and C-3PO have already raided it and murdered Owen and Beru.
  • Series Continuity Error: Although A New Hope was the first film released, it is the fifth film in terms of chronological ordernote . As a result, the fact Luke and Ben retain their birth surnames goes against Revenge of the Sith which ended with the two going into hiding and taking on new identities — difficult to do when you retain your original surname.
  • Sequel Hook: A shot of Darth Vader escaping the Death Star's destruction in his TIE Fighter just before the final scene, signaling that the Empire has been hurt, but not defeated.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Red Leader during the Death Star run:
    Galactic Standard Basic: "Pick up your visual scanning."
    English: "Look."
  • Sex Sells: One of the original posters features Luke and Leia wearing much more revealing outfits that neither of them actually wear in the movie, as well as making Mark Hamill significantly more muscular, and making Carrie Fisher significantly bustier. The pre-1993 home video releases also use this cover.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: At the end of Vader's and Kenobi's lightsaber duel Kenobi seemingly gives up and lets Vader slice him — but when he does so, we (and Vader) find his clothes empty. He Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence and left his clothes behind. (Vader even probes the robes with his toe, not expecting for it to happen.)
  • Sherlock Scan: When he and Luke encounter the slain Jawas, Obi-Wan deduces from the blast marks and tracks in the sand that the obvious suspects of the crime were not the culprit, and that instead it was Imperial Stormtroopers who killed the Jawas and covered up the scene to make it look like Sand People did it.
    Luke: It looks like the Sandpeople did this, alright. Look, there's gaffi sticks, Bantha tracks. It's just, I never heard of them hit anything this big before.
    Obi-Wan: They didn't, but we are meant to think they did. These tracks are side-by-side. Sandpeople always ride single file to hide their numbers.
    Luke: These are the same Jawas that sold us R2 and 3PO.
    Obi-Wan: And these blast points, too accurate for Sandpeople. Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Threepio conveniently offers to shut himself down for awhile, probably to help himself repair, right before Ben gives Luke his father's lightsaber and talks about Darth Vader.
  • Shoot Out the Lock:
    • Subverted when Han tries this in the trash compactor, only to find that the lock (and the walls) are shielded and thus the laser blast simply bounces off. Luke even says he already tried it.
    • Also inverted later, when Luke shoots a door's control panel to make it harder to open. This unwittingly keeps him and Leia from extending the bridge across. Luke also does this in the Death Star Hangar Bay, shooting a Blast Door control panel to immediately seal it shut, keeping Darth Vader from reaching them.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The design of C-3PO was inspired by robot-Maria from Fritz Lang's Metropolis.
    • An imperial officer almost refers to the Rebel base as a "hidden fortress", though he's interrupted by Vader Force-choking him in the middle of the second word. The Hidden Fortress is a film which had a massive influence on A New Hope and successive Star Wars pictures.
    • Lucas has always been open about 2001: A Space Odyssey being a huge influence on his work due to its revolutionary special effects and visual design, and one of the more direct shout-outs is Docking Bay 327 having a look and frame of bright light at its entrance similar to Space Station V's hangar from 2001.
    • In Alan Dean Foster's novelization, Stormtrooper TK-421 is identified as THX 1138. In the film itself, a disguised Luke claims he's transferring Chewie from Cell Block 1138.
    • The multiple references to an unspecified (but apparently quite valuable) "spice" is likely one to Dune. Later media in both the Legends and Disney continuities would reinforce this by establishing spice is a drug, similar to that of Dune. Tatooine is a desert planet like Arrakis (but with two suns instead of two moons), and the "Jedi mind trick" is a lot like the Voice.
    • To The Wizard of Oz due to Han and Luke disguising themselves in stolen stormtrooper armors while rescuing Leia like Dorothy's friends do when dressing up as Winkies to sneak into the Wicked Witch's castle and save her. Chewbacca and 3PO are also easily identifiable as expies of the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man, while Luke can be seen as a Composite Character of both Dorothy and the Scarecrow for being a farm boy who lives with his aunt and uncle and wishes to leave the dull life on Tatooine, and while resourceful he's often out of his depth compared to his more seasoned companions.
  • Show, Don't Tell:
    • The opening shot, which establishes with visuals alone that the Empire is a massive, aggressive force bearing down on the small, fleeting Rebels.
    • In the DVD commentary for the film, Lucas mentions that he distinguished Star Wars from other space and science-fiction films by intentionally avoiding exposition about the universe it is set in, treating things that would be fantastic in our universe (i.e. Landspeeders, talking robots, spaceships) as mundane and trivial in their world, using this kind of symbolic storytelling as a way of connecting the audience with the galaxy of Star Wars. A good example of this is the scene where the Millennium Falcon is introduced. After a sweeping shot with triumphant music allows the audience to marvel at the Cool Starship, Luke exclaims "What a piece of junk!", conveniently informing us that spaceships of that size and ability are considered common in-universe to the point that even a farmboy in a backwater feels insulted that he'd have to pay so much to hitch a ride in one.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": When Vader snaps Captain Antilles' neck, which the sound crew accomplished by putting walnuts into the peels of an orange and squeezing them.
  • Significant Name Shift: At first, Han Solo dismissively calls Luke Skywalker "kid". He first calls him by name when Luke is dragged into the trash compactor by the dianoga and nearly eaten. As their friendship develops and they become more like peers, Han calls him "kid" less and less — by Return of the Jedi, with Luke a full Jedi Knight, he only does it once, and it's more affectionate than anything.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The film is firmly idealistic in tone.
  • Sliding Scale of Plot Versus Characters: Falls into the "Equal Focus Between Plot and Characters" part of the scale.
  • Sliding Scale of Realistic vs. Fantastic: The movie is squarely on the "Fantastic" end of the scale.
  • Sliding Scale of Visuals Versus Dialogue: The film hits a sweet spot between both. The film is very dialogue heavy, but there's also a lot of strong visual storytelling going on at the same time.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: All the events which unfold in the original Star Wars trilogy were made possible by the gunnery captain on the Star Destroyer at the beginning of the film who gives the order to "hold your fire" on the escape pod that C-3PO and R2-D2 are in because there were no life forms aboard and he concludes it must have just short-circuited.
  • Smart People Play Chess: R2-D2 and Chewbacca's dejarik game during the flight to Alderaan reinforces R2-D2's intelligence as a robot while making it clear that Chewbacca (though losing until the famous "Let the Wookie win" bit) isn't just a brute.
  • Sore Loser: Han mentions that Wookiees have been known to tear arms out of sockets when they lose.
  • Space Is Noisy: Played straight, but given an unusually good justification in the novelization, though it only works for some of the scenes. Fighters like the X-wings (and Han would likely have done this for the Falcon as well) have a speaker system installed that simulates noise as an audible warning of an enemy's position so that the pilot doesn't have to constantly watch his display to see where an enemy fighter is.
  • Spontaneous Crowd Formation: When Darth Vader and Obi-Wan face off, the Stormtroopers leave their posts guarding the Millennium Falcon to watch the duel. Luke's shouting at Obi-Wan's death snaps them out of it.
  • Stab the Sky: One of the film's posters shows Luke holding his Laser Blade up towards the sky.
  • Standard Establishing Spaceship Shot: The Star Destroyer flyby at the beginning. Heck if Star Wars didn't invent the trope, it certainly codified it.
  • Start My Own:
    • George Lucas was turned down as the director of the Flash Gordon movie, so he decided to make his own space adventure film — one that ended up completely pushing Gordon to the side in all forms of media, to the point that he is barely remembered today, while Star Wars is unquestionably the most famous Sci-Fi franchise ever.
    • He also created his own visual effects company... and while Industrial Light & Magic is akin to The Empire now, at first they were their own Rebel Alliance, with a workplace so chaotic that once Lucas returned from England and saw it, he had to be hospitalized in shock.
  • Stock Parodies: It's unlikely that there's a single scene in the movie that hasn't been parodied somewhere.
  • Storming the Castle: The finale sees the main character and a ragtag group of freedom fighter attack on the evil empire's fully armed space station, the Death Star, to stop it from destroying the Rebel planet and everyone on it.
  • Strolling Through the Chaos: R2-D2 and C-3PO walk across a corridor, with Imperial Stormtroopers and Rebel Guards shooting at each other from opposite ends, and somehow aren't hit once.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The destruction of the Death Star is one of the most impressive explosions ever seen in movies. Honorable mention goes to the last TIE fighter pursuing the Millennium Falcon, which blows up with an explosion way out of proportion to its actual function as a ruse for the Empire to discover the location of the Rebel base.
  • Stumbling Upon the Lost Wizard: The movie has Luke "accidentally" meet Obi-Wan Kenobi, samurai space-wizard, while he was out looking for R2-D2. Later it transpires that Kenobi has been keeping a close eye on Luke, and their meeting was no accident.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Upon learning that there's a risk of the Rebels destroying the Death Star, Tarkin balks at the idea of evacuating right before the Empire's moment of triumph, believing the Rebel's chances were being overestimated. Turns out he was underestimating them.
  • Supernatural Aid: Luke receiving the lightsaber from Obi-Wan is a textbook example.
  • Supporting Protagonist: The first third of the movie is through the eyes of the droids.
  • Suspicious Missed Messages: An Imperial officer on the Death Star is suspicious when Stormtrooper TK-421 isn't at his post and doesn't respond to the officer's radio query.
  • Tactical Superweapon Unit: The Death Star is a honking big (the size of the moon), Nigh-Invulnerable battleship (referred to as a "battlestation" in-universe) that carries firepower greater than half the Empire's fleet of lesser ships. It's built to solo-fight an enemy planetary defense force and zap their homeworld with a Planet Destroyer. Its only weakness is a single, wee tiny auxiliary exhaust port that was (according to Rogue One, deliberately because its lead designer was horrified at his work being used for evil; according to Death Star, accidentally because it was built by angry slaves working on cockeyed plans) built in a straight line to its main power plant, which allows a single Space Fighter to blow it up with the kind of ordinance meant for other starfighters — if they can A) find it,B) get there without being shot down by defense guns or fighter squads, and C) actually hit it.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: When Wedge's ship is badly damaged during the trench run, Luke tells him to retreat rather than be a sitting duck. Considering Wedge's key involvement in later battles in the series, it proves to be a move that pays dividends for the Alliance in the long-term.
  • Take That!: When Space: 1999 started airing, Lucas realized that Han Solo's ship would need to be redesigned because its original design looked too similar to the Eagle Transports. He called the redesigned ship the Millennium Falcon because it's better and faster than a "1999 Eagle".
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Grand Moff Tarkin, who had Princess Leia's entire planet obliterated along with everyone inhabiting it, becomes just one of many casualties in the destruction of the Death Star by Leia's brother Luke.
  • Tell Me About My Father: Luke asks his newly found mentor to tell him about his father, Anakin Skywalker. The mentor tells Luke about Anakin's bravery as a Jedi Knight, excellent piloting skill, and deep friendship before informing Luke that the evil Darth Vader betrayed and killed Anakin.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • As Luke takes the restraining bolt off R2, he makes a comment about how R2-D2 is probably too small to escape, only for the robot to do just that overnight.
      Luke: Oh, yeah, well, I guess you're too small to run away on me if I take this off.
    • When he sells his speeder, Luke is confident that he's "never coming back to this planet again." Yeah, about that...
    • Han when he's talking to Jabba the Hutt.
      Han: I got a nice, easy charter. I'll pay you back, plus a little extra, I just need a little more time.
    • Tarkin rejects the opportunity to evacuate the Death Star because he wants to celebrate the Empire's victory.
      Tarkin: Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances.
    • Darth Vader brags as he's about to shoot Luke's X-wing, only to find himself under fire from a spaceship that has just entered the battle.
      Vader: I have you now... [wingman's TIE fighter explodes as Han shoots it] What?!
  • Tentacled Terror: The creature in the Trash Compactor, the Dianoga, is an Octopus-like creature, and is definitely of the threatening variety. You wouldn't know this from just watching the movie, though; its full body is only seen in Expanded Universe materials.
  • Terrifying Rescuer: Inverted: when Luke enters Leia's cell in a Stormtrooper uniform, she calmly starts some banter.
  • Thank the Maker: Trope Namer. C-3PO, happy about having an oil bath.
  • That's No Moon: Trope Namer. While flying through the rubble of a destroyed planet, the heroes see the Death Star, a man-made space station that resembles a planet. Han Solo initially identifies it as a moon, only for the wise old mentor to point out it's not possible (since Alderaan had no moon).
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Par for the course with the series, the main theme and/or Rebel theme plays during the shootout on the Death Star, the TIE fighter attack afterward, and the Battle of Yavin when Luke hears Obi-Wan tell how to destroy the station.
  • There Are No Therapists: Leia and Luke collectively go through way more in this movie than they're given credit for. Leia loses her entire planet, including her family and the only home she's ever known. Luke, too, loses his family, his mentor, and his best friend from childhood in the space of about two days. Arguably Defied, since neither seem worse for wear by the film's end, or in the resultant sequels, but still.
  • Title Drop Chapter: While it was retroactively titled A New Hope in order to distinguish it from the name of the franchise itself, it was originally released and marketed as, and is still often colloquially referred to as, simply Star Wars.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • The guy on the Star Destroyer who didn't think it worth a single laser blast to play it safe and destroy a seemingly unoccupied escape pod, even though the entire reason for boarding the ship was to track down a missing set of Death Star plans that could easily have been stowed away in the pod (as indeed they were). He's technically to blame for the thousands of people presumably killed when Luke later blows the Death Star up.
    • Admiral Motti insults and belittles Darth Vader, the most feared man in the galaxy who is known to kill officers for failure and insolence, and who has a lightsaber capable of cutting people into pieces. If it weren't for Tarkin interfering, Motti's throat would be crushed.
    • Greedo. Despite holding Han at blaster-point, he fails to notice that Han is reaching for his own blaster — the one that he then uses to kill Greedo. The remastered version makes him even worse, as he tries to shoot Han at point-blank range — and misses.
  • Torture Is Ineffective: An Imperial officer tries to warn Darth Vader about this ahead of time — "She'll die before she'll tell you anything!" — but the Sith Lord tries anyway. Leia withstands a session with a torture droid and a Force mind probe by Vader himself, and even when Tarkin threatens to blow up Alderaan she still gives them disinformation. Adding insult to injury, there isn't even any indication after her rescue of Leia suffering any negative after-effects from the so-called torture.
  • Torture Technician: In order to break Princess Leia, the Empire brings in an ominous black droid with all types of needles to torture the princess for information.
  • Tracking Device: The Imperials plant one on board the Millennium Falcon, which allows them to track the heroes to the Rebel base on Yavin IV.
  • Transforming Vehicle: The Rebels' X-Wing starfighters get their name as a result of this when their wings split up to increase their firing spread.
    Red Leader: Lock S-Foils into Attack Position.
  • Trick-and-Follow Ploy:
    Leia: They let us go. It's the only explanation for the ease of our escape.
    Han: Easy? You call that easy?
    Leia: They're tracking us.
  • Tricked into Escaping: Leia deduces that their escape from the Death Star was actually the aforementioned Trick-and-Follow Ploy by Tarkin, who is more interested in the rebel base than in the princess. A certain amount of resistance was provided for the sake of plausibility, but not as much as there should have been. The Rebels make the best of it by planning to make their attack on the Death Star as soon as it arrives.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Getting into the detention center by pretending Chewie is being transferred from another one.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: Which provides some unintentional foreshadowingnote .
    Beru: Luke's just not a farmer, Owen. He has too much of his father in him.
    Owen: That's what I'm afraid of.
  • Uniformity Exception: Luke-disguised-as-a-Stormtrooper is noticeably shorter than the average Stormtrooper — Leia remarks upon it before he takes his helmet off and tries to rescue her.
  • Unit Confusion: A parsec is a unit of distance, not time. Though depending on the source, it may have been invoked.note 
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Averted in the Death Star: The Stormtroopers guarding the Falcon are intrigued by the lightsaber duel going down on the other side of the hangar and vacate their posts to watch it play out.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: An Inverted Trope. The Imperial Officer that refuses to fire upon the escape pod containing the droids is basically what allows the titular "New Hope" to rise in the first place.
    • For the Empire, the Stormtroopers who killed Owen and Beru. Thus setting Luke into the path of joining the Rebellion, and becoming a Jedi.
  • Used Future: The aesthetic of the film is deliberately gritty, reflecting a world in which the Empire has ground the galaxy down. R2-D2 is scuffed up and C-3P0 is what would happen if you left a brass figure unpolished for a year.
  • Villain Has a Point: Vader is completely right when he calls out Leia when she tries to disguise her rebel scheme as a diplomatic mission.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: Vader seems to show some interest in Luke as he's unable to shoot him down. Sure enough, the opening crawl of the next movie mentions that Vader is obsessed with finding him. (Though as the destroyer of the Death Star, he would already be of special interest to the Empire. It's in their best interest to capture or kill the Rebellion's greatest hero, who is no doubt inspiring countless sentient beings to rise up and fight alongside him.)

    Tropes W to Z 
  • Walk and Talk: Vader and Imperial officer Daine Jir have one aboard the captured Tantive IV.
    Daine Jir: Holding her is dangerous. If word of this gets out, it could generate sympathy for the Rebellion in the Senate.
    Vader: I have traced the Rebel spies to her. Now she is my only link to finding their secret base.
    Jir: She'll die before she'll tell you anything.
    Vader: Leave that to me. Send a distress signal, and inform the Senate that all on board were killed.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: The trash compactor scene is a Shout-Out to the Death Traps from cliffhanger serials that George Lucas grew up with.
  • War Comes Home:
    • Exaggerated Trope as well as an Exploited Trope by Grand Moff Tarkin when he threatens to blow up Alderaan, Leia's home planet, with the Death Star's superlaser if she refuses to reveal the location of the Rebel Base. Even as she lies to try to protect her home planet and her adopted parents, Tarkin decides to make an example of Alderaan and inspire fear in the galaxy with the Death Star and blows up Leia's home planet.
    • Conversely, Downplayed Trope with Luke Skywalker when the Galactic Civil War results in R2-D2 and C-3PO arriving on Tatooine after Darth Vader chases down Princess Leia in his hunt for the Death Star plans. The Stormtroopers track the droids to Luke's adoptive uncle and aunt, Owen and Beru, in which they are killed by the Empire. Luke joins Obi-Wan in his quest to deliver the plans to Alderaan as well as become a Jedi and this path eventually leads him to the Rebellion.
  • Watching the Sunset: Luke watches his home planet's two suns set while wondering about his future as his Leitmotif plays.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Tarkin admires as the Death Star's laser destroys the entire planet of Alderaan.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The Death Star's main weapon, which causes an Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
  • Weld the Lock: Luke shoots the control panel lock in order to keep the Stormtroopers from getting in. It turns out that the panel also controls the bridge. His makeshift lock doesn't hold for too long, either.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Pretty much every interaction between Han and Leia is them snarking at each other.
  • We've Got Company: Han yells this at Luke.
    Han: Boring conversation anyway. LUKE, WE'RE GONNA HAVE COMPANY!
  • What a Piece of Junk: Trope Namer. How Luke describes the Millennium Falcon on first seeing it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • From the very beginning, when C-3PO and R2-D2 are seen during the attack on Leia's ship; the silver-plated protocol droid following close behind disappears into an airlock and is not seen again.
    • Two Stormtroopers and the two Imperial technicians are never mentioned again after they're knocked out inside Millennium Falcon (with the two Stormtroopers get Mugged for Disguise). In the old Legends novelization, they were found and freed, but since that book isn't canon anymore, we can only assume the Falcon took off with four unconscious Imperials aboard, two of them in their underwear.
    • It's not revealed whether Han and Chewie ever found that tracking device the Empire planted in the Millennium Falcon.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: After discovering Leia lied to him about the rebel base, Tarkin tells Vader to "terminate her, immediately". Yet she's still alive and well later on when Luke and his companions arrive at the Death Star. Not very immediate, it would seem. Justified in that despite all direct attempts to force her to talk failing, Vader sensed they might be able to succeed in finding the rebel base through more subtle means and suggests letting the occupants of the Millennium Falcon break her out and take her to the base.
  • Widescreen Shot: Plenty, from the opening crawl, to the first Star Destroyer, to the final celebration scene.
  • Wing Man: For Luke's final trench run, Wedge and Biggs cover him against Darth Vader. Wedge's ship is crippled and he's forced to withdraw, and Biggs is killed shortly after.
  • Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": The Empire removes the Senate just before they destroy the populated planet Alderaan. Thus, no-one is able to protest this atrocity. While they don't say outright that the upcoming demonstration of the Death Star's firepower is the reason why they removed the Senate, it sure is convenient timing.
  • Wretched Hive: Trope Namer. Kenobi calls Mos Eisley a "wretched hive of scum and villainy".
  • You Are in Command Now: Twice during the Battle of Yavin.
    • After Tiree and Dutch are shot down, Davish Krail reports their destruction to Garven Dreis, who replies "I copy, Gold Leader," acknowledging that, as the sole survivor, Krail is now squadron leader. Unfortunately, Darth Vader shoots him down too just seconds later.
    • Later, Dreis tells Luke to set up his attack run and once he goes down, there's a huge, meaningful cue in the score representing that Luke is now in command of the mission (or what's left of it).
  • You Are Not Alone: Just when all seems lost during the final trench run with Luke being chased by Darth Vader with R2 out of action, Luke suddenly hears Obi-Wan's voice out of nowhere, "Use the Force, Luke... Trust me."
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Done subtly. When Luke switches off his targeting computer during the attack on the Death Star, Mission Control on Yavin IV briefly breaks military protocol by calling him by his first name instead of his callsign—something that they wouldn't do unless they were very alarmed. It's the only time in the whole sequence that the control officer uses anyone's real name.
    Mission Control: Luke, you've switched off your targeting computer! What's wrong?
    Luke: Nothing. I'm alright.
  • You're Insane!: Chewbacca's opinion of Obi-Wan as he departs to disable the Death Star's tractor beam.
    Chewbacca: [in Shyriiwook, unsubtitled] That old man's mad!
    Han: Boy, you said it, Chewie. [to Luke] Where did you dig up that old fossil?
  • Your Eyes Can Deceive You: Trope Namer. Obi-Wan's advice to Luke when training him is to ignore his physical senses and feel the metaphysical energy of the Force.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Tarkin attempts to force Princess Leia into revealing the main Rebel Base by threatening to use the Death Star's superlaser on Alderaan as a demonstration of its power. She gives them the location (or so it seems). Unfortunately for her, Tarkin never said he would spare Alderaan if she gave up the information.

"Great shot, kid! That was one in a million!"

Alternative Title(s): Star Wars A New Hope, Star Wars Episode IVA New Hope, Star Wars 1977


Great Disturbance in the Force

Obi-Wan senses the moment Alderaan is destroyed.

How well does it match the trope?

4.95 (19 votes)

Example of:

Main / MySignificanceSenseIsTingling

Media sources: