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In the 1977 movie release of Star Wars Episode IV, Why was the princess rescued in the first place?

As the required information was with the droid and a lot of time had passed since she was captured, there was a high probablity that she was already dead.

Even if she was to be rescued, why not do both the missions - rescuing the princess and destroying the weapon at the same time?

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If I remember correctly, there was no particular plan to save the princess (the plotline seems a bit confused). They ended up on the death star because of a tractor beam. Their goal was to deliver the schematics to Aleraan. When they discover that she is aboard and still alive, they then move to rescue her. –  Dan Dec 24 '12 at 14:20
    
Add this as an answer, Dan, as you have it right. Just change the spelling to Alderaan. The plotline isn't confused - they were on their way to Alderaan, their destination was gone, they chase the TIE fighter, get pulled into the Death Star and then Artoo alerts them to the fact that Leia is being held on board - that's when Luke coerces Han into rescuing her with the lure of reward. –  Nobby Dec 24 '12 at 15:51

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If I remember correctly, there was no particular plan to save the princess. They ended up on the death star because of a tractor beam when they came out of hyperspace. Their goal was to deliver the schematics to Alderaan which has been destroyed by the death star. When, after being dragged onto the death star, they discover that she is aboard and still alive, they then move to rescue her in order to collect some cash (in Han's case).

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+1 To add to this. Luke wants to save the princess, but Han has no interest. So Luke explains that she is very rich and there would be a reward. Han changes his mind. –  Mathew Foscarini Dec 24 '12 at 18:46

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