- "Commander, tear this ship apart until you've found those plans and bring me the passengers. I want them alive!"
- ―Darth Vader
The capture of the Tantive IV by Imperial forces took place in 0 BBY. Following the major Rebel Alliance victory during the Battle of Toprawa, the plans to the Galactic Empire's superweapon, the Death Star I, were beamed to Senator Leia Organa, the adopted daughter of Senator Bail Organa and his wife, Breha Organa. Leia, with her uncle, Captain Raymus Antilles, intended on travelling to the remote desert planet Tatooine in the Outer Rim to pick up the reclusive Jedi survivor of the Great Jedi Purge, Obi-Wan Kenobi, under the guise of a diplomatic mission, before returning to her homeworld of Alderaan.
Upon arrival at Tatooine, the Tantive IV was ambushed in orbit of the planet by an Imperial Star Destroyer named the Devastator. The Devastator pursued the Tantive IV, and the two ships exchanged fire. The Tantive IV was eventually disabled by Imperial fire, and was subsequently captured and dragged into the main hangar of the Devastator. An Imperial boarding party, consisting of stormtroopers part of the 501st Legion led by the Sith Lord Darth Vader, stormed the Tantive IV and ransacked the ship in search of the Death Star plans, killing Captain Raymus Antilles and capturing Leia in the process.
Unbeknownst to Vader, Leia had inserted the stolen plans into a protocol droid codenamed R2-D2, and gave it the mission of finding Obi-Wan Kenobi on the planet. R2-D2, with his companion C-3PO, escaped the battle via an escape pod. As no lifesigns were detected onboard, the Imperials presumed it was malfunctioned and spared the pod. Upon further inspection planetside, the Imperial task force soon realized that a pair of droids managed to escape the ship and conducted a planetwide search to retrieve them.
Darth vader sent a search party down to tatooine to search for the droids C3p0 and r2-d2.