One of the more unexplained elements of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” was that of Princess Leia. Her brief appearance is a fun bit for the fans but, aside from a line of dialogue from Jimmy Smits’ Bail Organa, there’s no real context to her being at the Battle of Scarif beyond tying back to the original film.
Today, Pablo Hidalgo from the Lucasfilm Story Group appeared on a recent episode of The Star Wars Show and was asked why Leia’s consular ship, Tantive IV, appeared at the end of the film. Turns out she and Mon Calamari Admiral Raddus were sidetracked during their already scheduled trip to Tatooine to pick up Obi-Wan Kenobi.
“The plan was always that Leia was going to go to Tatooine to pick up Obi-Wan and Raddus was going to escort her. Then the news of Scarif came in, and that was deemed more important … [because] it’s the one warship that they have at this point.”
Hidalgo adds that Raddus was accompanying Leia because she was the “public face of the cause”. Tantive IV remained on Raddus’ warship as opposed to taking off directly from Yavin was because it was undergoing repairs.
Hidalgo confirms Leia was actually on Yavin the whole time the Tatooine trip and Jyn Erso’s rebellion were being planned but they kept Leia’s presence a secret because the movie wanted to ‘save the reveal’.