The Unfortunate Decline of Padme

In the last three Star Wars movies there have been four new incredible women that have been added to the unfortunately small list of major Star Wars heroines. And while I have celebrated the women of Star Wars Padme has always never been a part of those conversations and that’s kind of strange. She’s the leading lady of the prequel trilogy, she’s the mother of Leia and Luke, and yet I never talk about her? How could this be? It’s simple. She’s one of my least favorite characters in Star Wars and it’s not even her fault.

In The Phantom Menace she was everything I’d expect Leia’s mother to be. She was strong-willed, she was a queen (one of the youngest Naboo queens in history, I might add,) she was a warrior, and she simply was a perfect character. I absolutely loved Padme’s introduction into the Star Wars universe and I couldn’t ask for a better mother of the iconic Princess Leia. You would think George Lucas would keep her awesome momentum going right? Wrong!

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The next time we see her in Attack of the Clones it’s like she’s a completely different person! Her voice has changed and become lighter. Her look is more flirtatious and not that of the queen she used to be. Her countenance does not emit the strength that it once did. It’s like as if another actress is playing the character of Padme Amidala, that’s how much the writers changed her.

She should’ve come back even stronger than she was before considering that she had aged ten years and experienced more in life but she became victim to the famed love interest bubble that so many women in movies are reduced to.

I get that the story of the prequel trilogy is frankly the story of Anakin Skywalker’s fall to the dark side but that doesn’t mean you should take such a remarkable heroine and sit her to the side as if she doesn’t even matter? Did they turn Obi-Wan into a corny sidekick/master? No. Padme was the only one whose story was mistreated so terribly.

Can you imagine what the movie would’ve been like if Padme had been a stronger character? The movie, in fact the trilogy, would have been so much better. Imagine if she had the tenacity of Jyn Erso, the strength of her daughter, Leia, the emotional prowess of Rey, the authority of Admiral Holdo, and the problem solving of Rose? She would’ve made it very difficult for Anakin to get her to be his future wife.

Instead of allowing Anakin to badmouth her plan for safety in Naboo in a meeting with the Naboo council she would’ve dismissed him from the room for his disobedience. Instead of allowing herself to share that fateful first kiss with Anakin at their gorgeous Naboo hideout she would’ve slapped him for his foolishness. (That would’ve been entertaining. :)) Instead of rolling around in the grass with Anakin after he pretended to get run over by a Naboo beast she would’ve told him off, then maybe laughed at his trick. (Remember, she is still supposed to fall for him.)

Instead of having a sappy conversation in a firelit room about whether they should love each other or not this should’ve been the first scene where she actually allows herself to kiss him for the first time. It’s halfway through the movie, she’s set up enough boundaries around herself to earn his respect, and this scene with its very romantic setting would’ve been the perfect plot for their accidental smooch.

The next scene with her that should have also changed was her overwhelmingly quick willingness to go with Anakin to his home planet of Tatooine to save his mother. This is, I believe, the beginning of her transition from being a “strong-minded” senator into an infatuated love interest. She should’ve been upset about his request considering that it jeopardized her safety, but of course she would oblige after he begs (you see the emphasis on beg) her to let him go save his mother.

The next sequence of her story is okay. I mean not much could be changed. She could’ve, of course, told him off for badmouthing the Jedi Order and his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi but beyond that there’s nothing more that could be done.

During the scene where she finally tells Anakin that she loves him I wouldn’t exactly change anything about that scene except maybe the words that were spoken. It’s so sappy and corny (there were a lot of corny romantic moments in Attack of the Clones) and the script definitely needed some revising.

I also would’ve made her tougher during the battle sequence, not that she wasn’t tough. She fought off that cat creature like a pro and she definitely held her own in the battle but she didn’t need to kiss Anakin on the cheek because he “rescued her” and she didn’t have to have that annoying banter with him in the midst of the fight.

I also think they should’ve let her shine as a strategic leader in the battle on Geonosis. She literally led a Naboo rebellion in The Phantom Menace to the liberation of her planet! Isn’t that enough battle experience to allow you to become part of to become one of the leaders of the Battle of Geonosis? No, she was just standing around listening to Jedi bark orders and falling off of ships.

Natalie Portman in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)

And then we come to her in Revenge of the Sith and oh my goodness, her story is worse. In Attack of the Clones at least she was able to run around and fight a little. In Episode III she was reduced into a worried mother-to-be. George Lucas didn’t give us the interesting side of her story which was her involvement in creating the Rebel Alliance, the organization that her daughter would one day help lead. No, we had to endure watching her console her husband and fold clothes like a Star Wars housewife.

Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)

And get this. When she went to talk to Anakin on Mustafar after learning the horrible truth from her friend, Obi-Wan Kenobi, that he had turned to the dark side that scenario was originally going to be much different. In an earlier version of the draft she was going to Mustafar to kill Anakin. Remember, she was one of the pioneers of the Rebel Alliance at this time, and so she was going to end the reign of terror Anakin was spreading by getting rid of him once and for all. She had a hidden dagger in her hand but at the last moment her love for him stopped her from killing him. And then the rest is history.

That sounds so awesome! When I discovered that in an earlier draft that was the original version of the fateful last meeting between Anakin and Padme I was so angry. That’s so much better than the actual version. Why George Lucas, why?

All in all, Padme’s story is the most underutilized story in Star Wars. Here was this amazing character that could’ve ended up becoming more awesome than her own daughter, Princess Leia, but because George Lucas decided to turn her into a damsel in distress we’ll never fully understand what her story should’ve been. I mean she’s the mother of Leia and Luke, two incredibly strong characters. Shouldn’t that mean she should be just as awesome? Yes! Unfortunately, she isn’t.

Padme is a fantastic character that wasn’t given the chance to shine and I’m just glad that the new women of Star Wars have not fallen under the same disregard from the writers as poor Padme Amidala did.

I thank you for reading my feelings on the unfortunate story of Padme and I hope you have a glorious day. May the Force Be With You.

3 thoughts on “The Unfortunate Decline of Padme”

  1. Some good points here. I agree, Padme started very strong, probably one of my favorite characters when I first saw The Phantom Menace (also giving me a bit of a crush on Natalie Portman). But in the later films she seemed to have been demoted from strong lead, to plot device for Anakin Skywalker. Meh. Now that characters like Leia, Han, and Tarkin have their own books, maybe Padme will get her book too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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