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A data-tape cartridge containing the Death Star plans

"Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data-tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the Rebels' hidden fort—"
Conan Antonio Motti to Darth Vader[src]

Data-tape,[1] also spelled as datatape,[2] or data tape,[3] was a type of physical storage media for different kinds of data. The tape itself, a continuous narrow, flexible strip, was stored on reels inside a protective shell. Monomolecular-switching binary tapes like the ones used by the Galactic Empire on Scarif had a 512-million exanode capacity.[4]


The secret plans for the Galactic Empire's powerful planet-destroying Death Star weapon were stored on data-tapes. These tapes were stolen by members of the Rebel Alliance and spirited to Princess Leia Organa, who copied the data from them in the memory banks of the droid R2-D2 in order to deliver them to Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine.[5]

Behind the scenesEdit

The plans for the Death Star were described as being recorded on data-tapes in the novelization of the original Star Wars film, released in 1976 before the release of the actual film, A New Hope, known at the time only as Star Wars. At the time, tapes were considered a modern means of storing information, though for consumer data storage they later became obsolete. By the early 2000s they had been supplanted almost entirely by other formats and as of 2018 are only used by large enterprises for long-term archiving/backup. The original film contains the first reference in canon to "data-tapes," though the franchise's Expanded Universe contained a number of appearances and mentions of them in works such as Han Solo and the Lost Legacy and Fate of the Jedi: Omen. This content is now considered part of the continuity of Star Wars Legends and not canon. Data-tapes are also briefly mentioned in the canon novel The Rebellion Begins.



Notes and referencesEdit

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