In a distant galaxy eons before the creation of the planet known as Earth, vast civilizations have evolved, and ruling the galaxy is an interstellar Empire created from the ruins of an Old Republic that held sway for generations. It is a time of civil war, as solar systems have broken away from the Empire and are waging a war of rebellion. During a recent battle, technical schematics for a gigantic space station, code named the Death Star, have been unearthed by rebel spies, and a young woman who is a dissident member of the Imperial Senate, under the cover of a diplomatic mission to the planet Alderaan, is trying to smuggle these plans to the rebellion. But her spacecraft is attacked by a vast warship of the Empire and seized. The dissident Senator is captured, but the plans for the Death Star are nowhere to be found. While soldiers of the Empire search the nearby planet Tatooine, a series of incidents sweeps up a young desert farmer with dreams of being a fighter pilot in the rebellion, as he winds up with the Death Star plans and also the assistance of an elderly hermit who once served as a warrior of an ancient order whose chosen weapons were powerful energy swords known as light-sabers. The pair recruit a cynical interstellar smuggler and his outsized alien copilot with an ancient freighter heavily modified for combat to help them reach Alderaan, but the planet is obliterated and now the foursome must rescue the young woman held prisoner by the Empire and lead an attack by the rebellion against the Death Star before it can annihilate all hope of restoring freedom to the galaxy.