Battle of Yavin
- "Great shot Master Luke, that was one in fifty-three point two million!"
- ―C-3PO, after the battle
The Battle of Yavin is still, for reasons not completely understood, considered to be the pivotal battle in all of galactic history. It pitted a small number of Rebel Alliance starfighters against the might of the Galactic Empire's first Death Star, and resulted in a massive explosion that everyone could enjoy and dance naked under.
- Motti: "The final checkouts have been completed, we are fully operational."
- Tarkin: "Fan-diddly-tastic, let's go blow something up!"
- — Conan O'Motti and Wilhuff Tarkin
Since the Empire had finished building their Death Star, they were just itching to try it out on an actual target of military importance. As it happened, Darth Vader had just managed to capture Princess Leia over Tatooine, just after she had secured the Death Star Plans, packing them into R2-D2 just before sending him and C-3PO packing in an escape pod. After fruitless hours of torturing his daughter by making her watch the Darth Barney Show, Vader agreed to let Grand Moff Tarkin have a shot at prying the location of the Rebel base out of her. This resulted in the destruction of Alderaan.
Not long thereafter, Han Solo's Millennium Falcon arrived in the system, carrying those selfsame plans, and the ship was conveniently scooped up by the Death Star. After some comical maneuverings on the part of Han, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, the droids and Princess, they all managed to "escape" the battlestation, though not before Tarkin and his cronies had planted a tracking device on board.
- Dodonna: "Of course, this wouldn't have been necessary if a certain princess had bothered to check her ship for tracking devices"
- Leia: "Hey, it wasn't my ship, and it's not like I asked him to come rescue me."
- Han: "Ah, can it, the both of you. I'm outta here while the getting is good."
- — Leia Organa, Han Solo, and Jan Dodonna, before the battle
Having reached the base at Yavin 4, the Rebel High Command, led by Jan Dodonna, had to devise a way of blowing away that big ball of doom before it could blow them up first. Fortunately for them, the Empire were better about building terrorizing weapons than they were at making them indestructible, and General Dodonna was able to find a weak spot. It would be up to the rag-tag group of Rebel pilots to take advantage of this weakness, by stuffing proton torpedoes into the Death Star's anus. Fake Wedge thought it would be impossible, but Luke knew better thanks to his days of varminting on Tatooine.
While the humongous battleball was jockeying for an optimal firing position, the Rebel starfighters, consisting of two squadrons of X-wings and about six Y-wings, began their attack. Displaying yet more brilliance in the design and construction of large death-bringing devices, the Empire had forgotten to install anti-starfighter defenses, meaning that the Rebels could pick the station apart at their leisure. Only Lord Vader had the gumption to dispatch TIE fighters, which he personally led, PWNing several Rebel craft as they desperately attempted to plug their torps in. Luke eventually got his chance, backed up by Wedge Antilles and Biggs Darklighter. Vader PWN3D Biggs, though, and grazed Real Wedge, forcing him to abort the run. He was about to unwittingly destroy his own son when, from out of nowhere, Han and the Millennium Falcon comes to the rescue, PWNing Vader's wingmen and forcing the Sith Lord into a dizzying spin for his life. The death star was ultimately destroyed, along with some fools that were still on it, such as Grand Moff Torkin....but everyone hated him anyway.
The fireball was magnificent...just magnificent...and Dan the Stormtrooper danced naked under the giant revel fire.
- "That's the end of this base..."
- ―Rebel trooper
Despite the fact that the Empire now knew where they were hiding, the Rebels held a grand celebration, complete with punch and pie, during which Leia unknowingly bestowed medals upon her brother and future husband, though for some reason forgetting to congratulate the Wookiee. In the following months, the Empire undertook at least four other attempts to kick the Rebels off the moon, finally succeeding by the end of that year.
Behind the scenes
In what can only be described as a "canon clusterfuck", several works besides Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope attempted to depict the same battle, with different characters performing the fateful insertion of proton torpedoes. Included among them was the highly successful early "space combat sim" Star Wars: X-wing, with its Force-sensitive hero Keyan Farlander apparently being responsible for blowing up the Death Star.