It might seem obvious when Star Wars: Rogue One ends, and A New Hope begins. But there’s some disagreement as to when exactly both films run into each other. Or if they do at all.
But A New Hope Starts Right After Rogue One Ends…Right?
Traveling anywhere in hyperspace isn’t instantaneous. It can take minutes, hours, and even days. It’s important to note that there was never time for a tracking device to be placed on the Tantive IV before it fled into hyperspace. There was no way for Vader to know where the ship went. It is possible he could have figured it out relatively quickly, but not realistically within a few minutes or hours. I’m willing to say Episode IV takes place, at most, a few days after Rogue One. But it’s more likely it was longer.
Here’s the best video depicting how both movies flow directly into one another. However, even as one movie ends, and the other begins, there’s no proof of how much time has passed. Episode IV opens with Vader’s ship firing on the Tantive IV, implying Vader had tracked it down, and pick up chase. Both are only assumptions when it comes to how quickly he could have accomplished that.
Grey Area Or Not, Does It Really Matter?
Before Rogue One was released it was said by credible sources that it would “lead right into A New Hope”. I don’t think there being a gap of days or weeks contradicts that fact. Even if a significant amount of time passed between the two events, Rogue One’s story does “lead into” Episode IV, just not from one second to the next.
But does any of this matter? In the end, no, it doesn’t. However, a larger gap between the movies creates space that could be filled with more story. There’s enough time perhaps to show Darth Vader hunting the Tantive IV. Time enough for a short-run comic series, or a novel. Some people don’t like an overabundance of “fill in” material, but I love it. I want every nook and cranny of the Star Wars universe filled, fleshed out, and made into a series, movie, comic book, or novel.
However you see Rogue One leading into A New Hope, May the 4th be with you!