continuity

The Funeral of Padmé Amidala

Who in their right mind would spend their time thinking about Padmé Amidala’s funeral with some many other awesomely cool Star Warsie things happening???

It’s a rhetorical question — I would spend the time thinking about it.

Sure, this is probably not the most exciting or in-depth post you will ever read from me, but sometimes there are moments when something in the Star Wars universe just keeps pestering me and I can’t get it out of my head. This is one of those moments. I have been thinking about Padmé’s funeral a lot, lately, and decide I had to share the love.

PLUS, to make things even more exciting, the latest issue of the Darth Vader comic (which came out this week) has an incredibly direct reference to the funeral. In fact, it serves as one of the major plot points in the issue. All I can surmise is that this was a sign from the universe that I was supposed to write about Padmé’s funeral this week, especially since I bought the comic AFTER I had written half of this post. Crazy!

Padme's funeral procession passes through the streets of Theed. Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Padme’s funeral procession passes through the streets of Theed.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Of course, before this reference in the 10th issue of Darth Vader, the only canonical reference to Padmé’s funeral was the 45ish seconds at the end of Revenge of the Sith. In the scene, Padmé’s body is transported through the streets of Theed as thousands of onlookers pay their respect. Here is a link so you can re-watch it for yourself: Funeral Procession.

Now, I could sit here and come up with something intelligent to say about the nuances of a royal funeral on Naboo, especially now that Darth Vader provides a little more insight. But I am no expert in the conduction of funerals, and I would rather not try to sound smarter than I really am. Really, the most I could say is that Padmé’s body is most likely heading from the funeral ceremony to its final resting place. Nor am I interested in over-explaining the somber feel of the scene – after all, it is a funeral procession so of course it is somber! You hardly need me to explain why all the people and aliens in the scene look so sad.

So what the heck do I want to talk about? Answer: The little girl who appears in the procession for all of two seconds.

The Little Girl

For the longest time after watching Revenge of the Sith, I was oddly fascinated with the little girl who appears in the funeral procession. Honestly, I just couldn’t figure out who she was or why she was even in the funeral procession. This also means that for the longest time I forgot I could just look up the credits of the film.

Pooja Naberrie Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Pooja Naberrie
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Long story short, she is Padmé’s niece, Pooja Naberrie, and was portrayed by Hayley Mooy. If nothing else, you just learned a fun piece of Star Wars trivia. You’re welcome!

Pooja and her older sister Ryoo (who you can also briefly but barely see in the procession), along with their mother/Padmé’s sister Sola, were originally slated to appear in Attack of the Clones. However, their scenes were cut in the final edits (you should check out the deleted scenes from the film if you get a chance). In what would have been an opportunity for audiences and Anakin alike to meet Padmé’s family, including her parents, the meeting just doesn’t happen.

Well, to be fair, we didn’t get to meet them, but perhaps Anakin did meet them at some point. I don’t know. Anyway, back to Pooja…

Like I said, I have always been fascinated by Pooja’s two-second appearance. Of course, knowing that she is Padmé’s niece gives her screen-time some justification. She is family and is mourning her aunt so what more is there to really say about her? Well, like I said, Padmé’s funeral, and Pooja’s inclusion in the procession, have been pestering me lately. For some reason, my brain just couldn’t drop it. Why is Pooja so important? What about her, besides her relationship to Padmé, makes her so damn interesting?

Oh wait, Pooja and her sister are Luke and Leia’s cousins. Wait, Luke and Leia have cousins!?! What the hell!?!? Are they all going to meet at some point!?!?!

Leia viewing the portrait of one of Naboo's former queens, Padme Amidala. Photo Credit: MARVEL Comics - Princess Leia Issue # 002

Leia viewing the portrait of one of Naboo’s former queens, Padme Amidala.
Photo Credit: MARVEL Comics – Princess Leia Issue # 002

I have no idea if, by the end of Return of the Jedi, Padmé’s parents or sister would still be alive, but it is entirely likely that Pooja and her sister would be. And here is the thing: it is only a matter of time until the story is written where Luke and Leia learn about Padmé. Heck, in the Princess Leia comic, Leia even stops to reflect on a stained glass portrait of Padmé when she travels to Naboo, having no idea who this woman actually is! Eventually the the twins are going to discover who their mother was, so why not let Pooja be the one to break the news to them?

Personally, I think this wouldn’t just be a cool way of approaching the revelation, but it would essentially build new meaning into Pooja’s very brief on-screen appearance. No longer would she just be an obscure little girl walking in a funeral procession. Instead, we would see her in a new light, knowing that this child will one day reveal the truth to Luke and Leia about who their real mother was. As her niece, Pooja could provide insight about Padmé that the twins could otherwise not gather from a non-familial source. Plus, in what would be the ultimate connection to her on-screen appearance, Pooja would be able to share details about being at the funeral, explaining that Padmé was so loved that the streets were packed with mourners, human and Gungan alike, who came to pay their respect.

Like I said, eventually Luke and Leia WILL discover who their mother was, and they will want to learn more about her, so just let Pooja have the honors. Honestly, it would be a damn shame if she just continues to be the obscure little girl who shows up for a couple seconds at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Besides, I think Pooja could end up being a very cool female character in the post-Return of the Jedi era. But I will leave that thought for another post.


Check out these other posts about Padmé Amidala:

Star Wars: Padmé

The Death of Padmé Amidala

Would Princess Leia’s “Real Mother” Please Stand Up…(Part 2)

Spoiler Alert: This piece contains information from the Princess Leia comic series.

My wife and I will take the girl. We’ve always talked of adopting a baby girl. She will be loved with us.” – Bail Organa

In the first part of this two part analysis, I examined the continuity issue between Return of the Jedi, where Leia describes her mother to Luke, and Revenge of the Sith, which shows the death of Leia’s mother when Leia and her brother are only minutes old. I will spare you a full rehashing of the first piece as you can go read it yourself, but I should note that, to date, no fix has come down from the people at Lucasfilm to settle this issue. Given the new commitment to continuity and canon in the form of a Lucasfilm (Star Wars) Story Group, which oversees all aspects of continuity in the Star Wars universe, I feel it is necessary for continuity issues like this be patched up for the sake of minimizing confusion.

That being said, the question then is how can this particular continuity error be fixed? I noted a few solutions in the previous post, but also explained why these knee-jerk fixes would not adequately hold up. For this second piece, then, I want to present a possible solution that I think could work based off of how I personally interpret the scene in Return of the Jedi. Of course, I will hardly suggest that this solution will make everyone happy. Instead, I hope that by presenting it, and those of you who add to it or provide your own solutions in the comment section, will inspire the Story Group to act in the future to reconcile this confusion.

So, without further ado, here is what I propose…

Bail Organa has deceived his adopted daughter for her own safety.

I am led to believe that the woman whom Leia is describing to Luke in Return of the Jedi is a real person Leia actually knew in the flesh. To me, this makes sense given the intimacy of the scene and what Luke is asking of Leia, wanting to know something about the mother they share but whom he never knew. However, if she is describing a real person, then the question becomes who exactly is this woman she is describing? I will come back to this in a moment, but first, let’s talk Revenge of the Sith for a second.

After Luke and Leia are born, and once Padmé dies, Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Bail Organa make the decision to split up the twins lest the new Emperor discover them. Ultimately, the danger the twins faced was too great to keep them together.

Baby Luke being given to Aunt Beru Photo Caption - Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Baby Luke being given to Aunt Beru
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Luke was taken to Tatooine by Obi-Wan to live with Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, and Kenobi stays to keep a watchful but distant eye on the boy. In turn, Bail Organa agrees to adopt Leia, noting that he and his wife had considered adopting a baby girl. In one of the final scenes of Revenge of the Sith, the viewer sees Leia being presented to the Bail’s wife Breha, the Queen of Alderaan, who holds the child and then the scene ends. But it is what happens immediately after this scene ends where the lie to protect Leia is instituted.

Immediately after the scene cuts out, an unknown woman enters, walks up to Bail and Breha, and the child is handed to her. This woman is a close and loyal confidant of House Organa, and she will raise the baby for only a short time, until Leia is old enough to form an image of this woman in her mind as her “real mother.” This is precisely what Bail wants and expects to happen, that Leia will believe this woman is her mother. When Leia is still very young, a situation will arise that causes this woman to leave Leia. Perhaps, fully committed to the deception, this woman actually does die. This would line up with what Leia says to Luke. Or, perhaps the woman’s death is a ruse, and instead, the woman goes into exile, far away, into the Outer Rim or even into Wild Space, living in solitude where Leia will never find her or encounter her again. If Obi-Wan Kenobi can hide from Darth Vader, surely this woman can hide from her pretend daughter.

With the woman’s “death,” Bail and Breha Organa step back into the picture, officially adopting the young, orphaned Leia as their own. She will be raised and loved as though she were their daughter. As she grows, the memory of the other woman in will begin to fade, and she will only recall images and feelings. Leia will see herself first and foremost as an Organa, as the Crown Princess of Alderaan, the child of Bail and Breha Organa. Yet, Leia will still know that she was adopted, and that she only knew for a short time was her “real mother,” as she would have no other reason to believe otherwise. Perhaps, even Bail and Breha reinforce this from time to time, speaking about her “real mother,” describing her to the child.

But why is this even necessary, why the lie in the first place? Precisely because Leia is in danger from the moment she is born.

Darth Sidious and Darth Vader would know that Kenobi left Mustafar with Padmé. What they would not know, though, is that Kenobi, Yoda, and Bail Organa were present when Luke AND Leia are born. Recall that the Sith Lords knew Padmé was pregnant, but they did not know that Padmé was pregnant with twins.[i] After the children are born, in order to protect them, the two Jedi and the Alderaanian Senator decide how best to protect each child. What is presented at the end of Revenge of the Sith, then, is an elaborate series of deceptions in order to throw Sidious and Vader off the trail. Whereas Luke is hidden remotely on Tatooine in the Outer Rim far from Coruscant, Leia is essentially hidden in plain view on Alderaan and will become not only the Crown Princess of House Organa but Alderaan’s Senator. What I am suggesting, then, is simply one more layer to the deception, one that Bail Organa concocted as a fail-safe, one that protects Leia even from herself.

Put yourself into Bail Organa’s mind for a second as he traveled with the child back to Alderaan after Padmé’s death. Knowing that he would have to tell the child one day about her mother, Bail knew he could never tell her about Padmé Amidala. If he was to do so, and Leia slipped up and spoke about Padmé publically as her mother, the result could be devastating…Vader could find out. Yet, Bail would also know that he had to ensure no questions would be asked about the child who is suddenly in his care. Remember that Bail was present at the Jedi Temple when the Jedi Purge began, and was also a close confidant of Padmé’s in the Senate. Certainly, the new Empire would be watching him closely and may inquire about the identity of his new daughter who just happened to appear right after the late-Senator Amidala was laid to rest.

To throw them off the trail, then, Bail had to create the ruse to ensure that Leia would never speak of Padmé publicly, and to guarantee that the Empire would not discover Leia’s true origins. This was why the woman was necessary, to act as a temporary buffer against watching eyes, and as a long-term deception to ensure Leia would never be questioned about her ACTUAL mother. In short, what Leia never knew could never hurt her.

Leia viewing the portrait of one of Naboo's former queens, Padme Amidala. Photo Credit: MARVEL Comics - Princess Leia Issue # 002

Leia viewing the portrait of one of Naboo’s former queens, Padmé Amidala.
Photo Credit: MARVEL Comics – Princess Leia Issue # 002

Furthermore, in the second issue of the Princess Leia comic series, Leia arrives on the planet Naboo only days after the destruction of the First Death Star. There, in the streets of the capital city of Theed, she comes across a portrait of Queen Amidala. Viewing the mural, she is taken aback when she thinks the woman in the mural turns and looks at her, though she dismisses this and continues her journey through the city. Leia is completely unaware who this royal figure is/was, none-the-wiser that she was standing in front of a portrait of her ACTUAL mother. Then again, there is also nothing to indicate in this second issue that Leia even knows that her real mother was from the planet Naboo. Why would she? Leia believed her real mother was a beautiful and kind Alderaanian, and that she died when Leia was very young.

A Final Thought

As modern-day myth, Star Wars lends itself to different experiences and interpretations, and that is why I love it. When I watch the movies, read the books or comics, sit down to watch The Clone Wars or Rebels, and play the video games, I engage IN and WITH the myth-making. The way I experience and interpret Star Wars is meaningful to me in a way that, at times, may line up with the way others interpret it and, at other times, will be entirely my own and fundamentally different than others. So, while my experience leads me to believe Leia was discussing a real woman she was led to believe was her real mother for her safety, others might see something different. As one person noted in a comment on the previous post, perhaps Leia had a connection through the Force with her mother, and she is describing the impression of Padmé that was left there by the Force.[ii] Either way, it is a matter of how one wishes to experience and interpret the scene, and since the Story Group has not provided a definitive fix in the new and official canon, one can believe what they wish: that Leia is describing a flesh/blood woman she thought was her “real mother” OR someone she feels connected to through the Force.

One way or another, though, I hope we can all agree that it would be great to see this continuity error get a fix and, while they are at it, maybe we could also get to experience a story in which Luke and Leia finally learn more about Padmé Amidala, their real and actual mother.


[i] Remember how Vader taunts Luke on the Second Death Star: “So, you have a twin sista…your thoughts betray her, too.” This is the moment Vader realizes he has a daughter.

[ii] Go check out the comment thread from Part I. Lots of great thoughts and ideas!

Would Princess Leia’s “Real Mother” Please Stand Up… (Part I)

Princess Leia: Luke, what’s wrong?

Luke: Leia, do you remember your mother? Your real mother?

Princess Leia: Just a little bit. She died when I was very young. 

Luke: What do you remember?

Princess Leia: Just… images really. Feelings.

Luke: Tell me.

Princess Leia: She was… very beautiful. Kind, but sad. Why are you asking me this?

Luke: I have no memory of my mother. I never knew her.[1]


For the inaugural post on The Imperial Talker, I thought I would dive right in and wrestle with a continuity issue that has bugged me since I first saw Revenge of the Sith – and it relates directly to the exchange between Luke and Leia in Return of the Jedi which I provided above. In fact, as a good Star Wars fan, you probably already know where I am going with this, but for those who are unsure, I will clue you in:

Leia’s (and Luke’s) “real mother,” Padme Amidala, dies at the end of Revenge of the Sith immediately after giving birth to the twins.

Whoops! That is a bit awkward.

Padme dying...how sad :-( Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Padmé dying…how sad 😦
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Things get even more awkward when one remembers that Revenge of the Sith was made 20 years after Return of the Jedi. One would have thought that to make this exchange work, George Lucas would have kept Leia and Padme together long enough for a young Leia to remember her “beautiful,” “kind,” and “sad” mother before she died. But he didn’t, and we are subsequently stuck with a pretty glaring continuity error, one that to my knowledge has yet to be fixed, let alone adequately addressed.

Now, at this point, one might argue that this error doesn’t matter, that the exchange about Leia’s mother is only one detail in the larger exchange between the siblings. On the surface, you wouldn’t be wrong.

As a whole, the entire dialogue between Luke and Leia works very well to establish the two as siblings and is rather moving, particularly when considered in conjunction with a number of other scenes.[2] Yet, the exchange about Leia’s mother begins this exchange and, as such, sets the tone for it. By asking about Leia’s mother, Luke does something that at no other point has he done before: he actually wants to discover something about his mom.

Think about it, when has Luke ever cared to find something out about the woman who gave birth to him? He has obsessed about his father, but his mom has been absent from his conversations with his uncle, his aunt, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda. But here, in this intimate moment with the girl he just recently learned is his sister, he asks a question about his mother, gleaning anything he can from Leia about this woman he never knew.

In turn, Leia provides a glimpse of her mother: that she died when Leia was young; that she can only recall images of her mother; and that her mother was “kind” and “beautiful” but “sad.”

Then, Leia asks a question of Luke: “Why are you asking me this?”

As a viewer, we know why Luke is asking, even though Leia does not: because Leia’s mother is Luke’s mother and we get to learn about this mystery woman along with Luke. It is unfortunate, then, that Luke, along with viewer, has been deceived…

When George Lucas made Revenge of the Sith, and showed Padme Amidala’s death immediately after Luke and Leia were born, this intimate exchange in Return of the Jedi was effectively watered down thanks to the creation of unnecessary confusion. Now, Star Wars fans and casual movie goer were left wondering: How does Leia know anything about her mother since her mother died only moments after Leia was born? Given the that the new and improved Star Wars universe is being carefully created, edited, and maintained by the powers at Lucasfilm/Disney, fixing continuity issues should be just as important as ensuring future continuity. As such, two initial solutions, albeit inadequate ones come to mind immediately:

Inadequate Solution # 1 – As a baby, only minutes old, Leia was able to form a complex physical and emotional understanding of her mother. I feel I do not need to explain why this answer is inadequate in relation to basic issues of early childhood cognitive development. Rather, I would argue that this answer falls flat because if Leia could form these thoughts, why couldn’t Luke?

Inadequate Solution # 2 – Leia is actually talking about her stepmother, Breha Organa. Let’s recall for a moment that Luke asks Leia if she remembers her “real mother” and that Leia explains to Luke that her mother “died when I was very young.” The implication here is that Luke and Leia both know Leia was adopted at a very young age by the Organa’s. Given that Leia was a member of the Imperial Senate and a ranking leader within the Rebellion, it would be unlikely that, all of a sudden, she is mistaking her stepmother as her real mother. In turn, if she were describing Breha Organa, then, this creates a weird contradiction in and of itself: that Breha died when Leia was young, something that the new Princess Leia comic series shows did NOT happen.

Inadequate Solution # 3 – Leia is knowingly lying to Luke. Besides the silliness of this possible answer, this solution falls short because the entirety of the exchange between Luke and Leia does not hint at any possibility of false information being presented. On the contrary, their dialogue is intimate, and as they continue talking – about Vader being Luke’s father, about the Force being strong in Luke’s family, and about Leia being Luke’s sister – they are actually drawn closer as siblings. If Leia is lying, then the scene would be watered down in a different way: by undermining the connection Luke and Leia establish as siblings, which is precisely why I call this solution silly.

Again, these are just initial solutions that pop into mind to make sense out of what Leia says to Luke. I am sure that other inadequate solutions could be thought up pretty easily, but I would rather move on to a more positive look at this topic.

Rather than continue to dwell on the confusing nature of this continuity issue, or the inadequate possibilities to solve it, I want to present my own fix for this continuity issue. So, in Part II, I will do just that – make sure to check back in a few days.

In the meantime, leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on this issue and if you have any other continuity issues you would like to see me address in the future.

Thanks for reading and May the Fourth be with you!!!


[1] Dialogue taken from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

[2] Two in particular of note: 1) When Luke discovers Leia is his sister when talking with ghost Kenobi and; 2) When Vader taunts Luke about turning his “sista” to the Dark Side.