What I’m deeming as ‘my youthful obsession’ has been rearing it’s ugly head lately. I’ve become re-obsessed with all things Star Wars but as I am now 23, I am able to look at my feelings, feelings that I had as a kid, in a more mature and analytical approach to defend one of my favourite characters and my favourite ship. Oh yes, guys, another one of these posts.
Today I want to talk about Padmé Amidala, child queen, turned Senator turned wife turned (very briefly) mother. Badass turned naive turned fearful.
Because, let’s face it. Padmé was a fucking badass in the first two movies. She sassed a fucking Jedi Knight, constantly; hid her true identity from everyone, bar a select few; made peace between two Naboo natives; devised a battleplan to gain back control of her planet and disrupt the separatists who were trying to take over; saved her people and did so by avoiding war. And that’s just The Phantom Menace…
Padmé’s sass towards the Jedi never stopped. Even in episode 2 she was so cool towards her Jedi protectors, rebuffed the advances of Anakin (until she thought she was going to die) for the sake of their careers (personally, I don’t think she truly felt anything for him but I’ll come back to that later),she knew how to deal with Anakin’s temper tantrum on Tatoinne and she was the one who took control of the situation to go and save Obi-Wan when he was on Geonosis.
Oh, and while, Obi-Wan and Anakin are just hanging there waiting to be attacked, Padmé is being Proactive, unchaining herself and kicking creature ass.
Now, Episode III…
When we see Padmé now, she is fearful over her family becoming revealed. That’s all very reasonable. We see her (albeit in the deleted scenes) being a strong political figure in an unwinnable situation. At one point she does turn to Anakin and beg him to help make the galaxy peaceful again (at this stage, Palpatine has more sway over Anakin then Padmé does). It is only when Obi-Wan tells Padmé that Anakin has turned to the dark side that her love infused naivety begins to dissipate and Badass Padmé starts to come back when she sees for herself that Anakin has turned.
However for most of this movie, we see Padmé as an expectant mother to be. Oblivious to her mentor’s manipulation of her husband. Except in the deleted scenes. Why were these scenes deleted? I think because seeing them in the context of the movie, they would have been completely out of character for Padmé in this movie and more in character for her in EP I and II.
Padmé’s character change came from when she got married (although I haven’t seen The Clone Wars series yet) and from when we meet her in RoTS because at the end of the day she is fearful for her marriage and her children. That is understandably her priority. Padmé’s role was always going to be to push ahead the occurrence of Luke and Leia. It’s as if something shifted between EP II and III where the writer’s realised they needed to introduce Luke and Leia and create Vader at the same time. Padmé was unfortunately expendable.
But she could have died fighting.
I don’t remember where I read it but I read somewhere a theory that Padmé’s broken heart wasn’t exclusively for Anakin. Padmé’s broken heart was the result of seeing the democracy and the republic that she had spent so long trying to stabilise die in front of her to ‘thunderous applause’ and that she had been watching the man she loved (I’m using ‘love’ about Anakin and Padmé very loosely) die in front of her for a long time and she only acted when she had already lost him. I like this theory and it fits so well with the deleted scenes as well.
Personally I still love Padmé. RoTS is probably my favourite prequel movie.
Unfortunately, Padmé was sorely, sorely misused…