Luke Skywalker sitting the cockpit of his X-wing during the Battle of Yavin in "Star Wars: A New Hope"

Battle of Yavin, Explained by Someone Who Was There

What was the battle of Yavin? You mean you seriously don’t know? It was only the WILDEST thing to happen in the galaxy since like … its formation??? Wayyyyy more “out there” than some dusty old dudes riding weird not-dinosaurs things on planet Mandalore. Some people think that the whole Zillow beast attack on Coruscant had it beat, but OBVI they weren’t at the Battle of Yavin. That Yavin biz was on a whole ‘nother level.

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I was a droid back then. I mean, I’m still a droid now, but I was a MILITARY droid. For the rebels. I could NOT have handled being on the Empire’s side after this battle. It would have been SO EMBARRASSING. Fully cringe.

So how did it start anyway?

Okay, the details are fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure that the whole IDEA for the attack began after this girl Jyn Erso stole Imperial plans for a new super weapon called the Death Star. Unless you’ve been living under a rock far, far away, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. After all, Jyn straight up DIED after she got the schematics to the rebels, along with the rest of her team. It was really sad tbh. Pour one out for Jyn—oh, and all of her friends that died helping her out. Oh and her dad. Ugh, it really was such a tragedy. They even made a movie about it in a galaxy far, far away from here. It’s called Rogue One. I haven’t seen it. Sounds like a downer if I’m being real.

So a little while later, this kid named Luke Skywalker was born on this ass-backwards desert planet called Tatooine. Don’t go. The music is good but the locals are pretty sketchy tbh. Anyway, Luke’s aunt and uncle got killed, and he was taken away to become a space-knight-wizard. A Jedi. They made a movie about that, too. You might have heard of it. It’s called Star Wars: A New Hope. The actual battle of Yavin happened in that movie, but settle down; we’ll get to her.

And then what happened?

Okay so the rebel leaders got the schematics from Jyn and they were HYPED. They were like, “Okay slay, we can use this.” They were just waiting for the Death Star to be built … which took like … 20 years. In the meantime, the Empire got up to all sorts of other sketchy things, including kidnapping Luke Skywalker’s sister/gf Princess Leia. Luke ended up rescuing her with the help of this total hottie named Han Solo and this … not so hot wookiee named Chewbacca. Oh and a few droid cuties!

So after Luke scooped Leia out of the Empire’s clutches, they fled to a rebel base on the planet Yavin-4. But the Empire was PISSED and they sent their baddest warrior, Darth Vader, after the rebels to bring Leia back, and blow up the rebels in the process. The rebels knew the Empire was coming, and that they were going to bring out the big guns: The Death Star. Lol oops. Big mistake.


So the rebel commanders told their pilots that the Death Star—which The Empire thought was impenetrable—was actually totally penetrable. The engineers had put this little baby exhaust port onto the Death Star … for like … exhaust to go out of? Even though I literally never saw any. The Empire engineers also built this trench into the side of the Death Star that led to the exhaust port … for aesthetic purposes? I literally have no idea why. Somebody working on the Death Star should have gotten fired. If they weren’t already all dead. Oops. Spoiler.

Anyway, the rebel commanders said that the plan was for a few ace pilots to fly down into that trench and fire proton torpedoes into the exhaust port in order to blow up the Death Star. So that’s exactly what they did. It was NUTS. I heard that to get to the exhaust port, Luke Skywalker switched off his state of the art targeting computer and basically took GPS directions from a GHOST. Anyway, Luke’s space-wizard powers really helped him out, and the Death Star got blown up. It was SO EMBARRASSING for the Empire. Darth Vader tried to stop it, but he got blasted off into space, Team Rocket style.

The Afterparty

So a lot—like A LOT—of rebel pilots died in the Battle of Yavin. But that didn’t stop the afterpartyyyyyyyy from happening! It was absolutely LIT. The Rebels held this big ceremony and gave out medals. So cool. We were just about to crack open the champagne, but then an Imperial Star Destroyer showed up and we had to bounce. It was whack. What WASN’T whack was all the raids that the Rebels started doing against the Empire. The Battle of Yavin was the first-ever win that the rebels ever got. After that, we were on FIRE. We hit the Imperial shipyards on Kuat and a supply base on Imdaar, and to top it off, Luke, Leia, and Han Solo raided and destroyed the Empire’s largest armament factory on Cymoon 1. It was … so hot.

The After-after party

The Empire was NOT happy with the defeat of the Imperial forces on the Death Star. Major military embarrassment. It also seriously shook up the Imperial status-quo. Literally everybody who was anybody in the Empire was on the Death Star when it exploded, including the then Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. A ton of young and inexperienced officers ending up getting promoted, because their superiors were … dead. Why did the Empire put all of its eggs in a Death Star-shaped basket? Because they’re arrogant AF. Grand Moff Tarkin MAJORLY underestimated the rebels and barely had any TIE Fighter support to back up the Death Star during the battle. Like did he straight up forget the rebels stole the Death Star schematics? Did he not see Rogue One?

Because of Tarkin’s failure, Emperor Palpatine got super paranoid—like high on kush grown in the jungles of Dagobah-level paranoid. Palpatine thought that ALL of the high ranking members of the Empire were responsible for the defeat, so he sent Darth Vader to body them all. Imperial officers Moff Coovern and Minister Khemt were both personally merc’d by Vader, and rumor has it that boatloads more were killed in secret. It was not a good time to be in the Empire.

A new way to tell time

So before the Battle of Yavin, there was literally no calendar in the galaxy. Nothing. I don’t know how anyone got anything done. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Don’t know how we remembered them. The Battle of Yavin changed all of that. It was so important that people used it as a way to RECKON TIME. Anything that happened before the of Battle of Yavin (i.e. the formation of the Empire to the formation of the universe) was said to have occurred BBY: Before Battle of Yavin. Anything after … like say … the entire rest of history, is said to have occurred ABY: After the Battle of Yavin.

So to use a comparison from a galaxy far, far away, the Battle of Yavin was basically as important as Jesus.

Guess you had to be there.

(featured image: Lucasfilm)

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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.