Naboo

Haikuesday: Queen Amidala

Unique Politics:
Young, female monarch and an
old, male Senator.


Queen Amidala.
Elected at age fourteen.
Leader of Naboo.


Her first name: Padmé.
Comes from Sanskrit origin.
Its meaning: lotus.

Hindu Religion –
Padma, the sacred lotus,
symbol of beauty.

Vibrant and lovely,
rich with color, the flower
and Queen Padmé’s gowns.

“Queenliest flower”
wrote poet Toru Dutt in
Sonnet: The Lotus.

Growing in ponds, lakes.
Untouched by water or mud.
The lotus is pure.

We literally watch
Padmé blossom as Queen in
The Phantom Menace.

Goddess Shri-Lakshmi,
depicted with the lotus.
Shri-Lakshmi…shmi…shmi.

I’m not gonna lie:
teaching Hinduism in
haiku form is tough.


Trade Federation.
Blockade of peaceful Naboo.
Iron-willed Padmé.


Not wanting a war
but war is forced on the world.
What will the Queen do?


Inquisitive Queen.
“You’re a Gungan…” she asks Binks.
She’s never met one?

Haiku Addendum:
One would think that Naboo’s Queen
has met with Gungans.


Bodyguards, decoys.
Like their highness, they are brave.
The Queen’s handmaidens.


A clever disguise!
The Queen dresses as one of
her own handmaidens.


Sandy, sun scorched world.
The Queen wishes to learn more…
…by sending herself.

I have to be frank:
I’m sure Qui-Gon Jinn knew that 
Padmé was the Queen.


“You’re a slave,” she asks.
“I’m a person,” he declares.
Someday they will kiss.


Fate in a boy’s hands.
Handmaiden Queen admits that
she does not approve.


Jedi are reckless,
the handy Queen tells Qui-Gon.
Yeah, sometimes they are.


Boonta Eve Podrace.
Fly real fast, go left sometimes.
She cheers for Ani.


The Queen is worried.
Her people are suffering.
Will the Senate help?


Speaking to Senate,
Queen Amidala calls for
no confidence vote.


Begging for their help,
Amidala bows to the
greatness of Gungans.


Queen of the Naboo.
Military strategist.
Fourteen but gifted.


Leading from the front,
Amidala risks her life
to save her people.


Viceroy Nute Gunray
deceived by Keira Knightley!
Decoy “Queen” Sabé


Here is a fun fact:
I am two days older than
Ms. Keira Knightley.


The Royal Decoy
orders the real Queen to clean
astromech R2.

Haiku Addendum:
I can’t help but wonder if
that made Padmé mad.


At last, there is peace!
Amidala and Boss Nass
commit to friendship.


Haikuesday is a monthly series on The Imperial Talker, a new post with poetic creations coming on the first Tuesday of each month. The haiku topic is chosen by voters on Twitter so be sure to follow @ImperialTalker so you can participate in the voting. Now, check out these past Haikuesday posts:

Droids (February 2017)

Ahsoka Tano (March 2017)

Darth Vader (April 2017)

The Battle of Scarif (May 2017)

The Truce at Bakura (June 2017)

Ryloth (July 2017)

Star Wars: Padmé

Since writing my post on The Funeral of Padmé Amidala a while back, Padmé has continued to pop into my brain from time to time. But recently, it has been more than sporadic episodes – I’ve just not been able to stop thinking about her. This hardly means I haven’t been contemplating other awesome Star Warsie things, but for some reason my brain would just loop things back to her. Admittedly, it was a bit perplexing, but don’t take that to mean I dislike thinking about Padmé because I think she totally rocks. It’s just that lately she has been taking over my brain waves more than usual and I couldn’t figure out why.

Well, I couldn’t figure out why until just the other day when I was sitting on the couch and realized that Padmé is nowhere to be found these days. Sure, she lives on vicariously through Leia (and perhaps Rey?), but otherwise, Padmé feels like a distant memory, having been relegated to the sidelines of the Star Wars universe. In fact, the more I’ve thought about it, the more I have come to realize that Padmé is getting shafted. Consider this  – as of right now, the stories of the main characters from both the Original and Prequel Trilogies are being continued with the obvious exclusion of Padmé.

What gives? Are Anakin, Obi-Wan, Leia, Han, and Luke just more interesting than Padmé? Is Padmé just unworthy of having her story continued in a meaningful way? I certainly grant that the stories of all characters must, at some point, come to an end but there is no way her story is finished, right? There is so much we don’t know about Padmé, so many questions that need to be answered! Here are a handful that come to mind:

  • How and why did she become the Queen of Naboo at such a young age?
  • As the Queen of Naboo, how did she handle the aftermath of the Trade Federation’s invasion? Did she have regrets about how she had handled the crisis, about trying and failing to keep Naboo out of a war?
  • What was her relationship like with Palpatine in the years between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones?
  • Were there other attempts on her life, similar to the one we see at the beginning of Attack of the Clones?
  • How did she and Anakin navigate their secret marriage, particularly early on in the weeks after they wed? Did she ever confide in anyone close to her (like Dormé) that she was married to Anakin?
  • Besides the adventures we see her go on in The Clone Wars, did she have any others?
  • What was her feelings/reaction to the discovery that she was pregnant? How did she explain her pregnancy to the people around her (i.e. – other Senators, her family)?
    Padme and Dorme
    Padmé sits with her handmaiden Dormé.
    Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Like I said, these are just a handful of questions that come to mind as I think about Padmé. And while I accept that not all of them will be answered, I certainly hope and anticipate that some, heck even just one, eventually will be. Which brings me to this thought:

At the very least, Padmé deserves her own Five-Part Comic Series.

While I would absolutely love to see Natalie Portman reprise her role as Padmé on the big screen, I am also realistic in knowing she most likely never will unless it is a very minor cameo. In lieu of a film, I really believe Padmé would be a great character for a comic series, even a short one. This is precisely what we saw with the Princess Leia comic, a short, five-part series that allowed us to view Leia in her element, being a leader who isn’t afraid to make decisions and put her life in danger for the greater good. I see no reason why the same couldn’t also be true of Padmé. Heck, it already is true of Padmé, as we’ve seen her time and again step up as a leader, taking charge of situations, putting her life on the line, and doing her duty for the benefit of others. A comic series would be a way to not only add a new layer to Padmé’s story, but could serve as a way to dynamically expand upon her great qualities.  

But one of the other important things about the Princess Leia comic is that while we see Leia take the mantle of leadership, we do so while also getting into her mind. This was particularly important for the series as it takes place in the days/weeks after the destruction of Alderaan and the events of A New Hope. As such, we see first hand that she is struggling with the destruction of her homeworld and family, all of which helped to motivate Leia, as the last royal of her planet, to track down and safeguard any remaining Alderaanians.

Padme2
Padmé tells Anakin that she is pregnant. I wonder what she was thinking before/during/after she told him?
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

I believe the same mix of external and internal would be perfect for Padmé as well. Depending on when/where it took place, the series could serve as a way for us to enter into Padmé’s mind, to really experience her motivations, feelings, and struggles. Padmé would certainly get to shine as the story unfolds, and I hardly think the series should be a case study in the psychology of Padme Amidala, but it would be fascinating to get a more personal glimpse of her thoughts. But only a glimpse – even fictional characters should be allowed their privacy.

Lastly, as a final thought, I should mention that I think Padmé deserves to be the center of attention for a rather simple reason – there are far too many male characters dominating the Star Wars landscape. While I love that there’s an Obi-Wan & Anakin comic series, and that Poe Dameron will be the center of attention in an upcoming series, I can’t help but wonder why Princess Leia is the only female character who has received her own  comic run. Well, that could easily be changed with a step in the right direction if Padmé Amidala were given a chance to standout in a series of her own.


Check out these other posts about Padmé Amidala:

The Funeral of Padmé Amidala

The Death of Padmé Amidala

The Sacrifice of General Tarpals

“Not… die… Sacrifice!” – General Tarpals to General Grievous

It is a moment that should have changed the course of the Clone Wars.

General Tarpals Photo Credit - Star Wars The Clone Wars (Season 4, Episode 4),

General Tarpals
Photo Credit – Star Wars The Clone Wars (Season 4, Episode 4), “Shadow Warrior”

Gungan warriors surround General Grievous, the battle droids in the Separatist general’s army having been deactivated. Grievous, ready for a fight, ignites two lightsabers and a handful of Gungans charge into battle against him. The deadly droid general dispatches the first few warriors easily but then, suddenly, into the fray dashes the commander of the Gungan Grand Army, General Tarpals.

Electropole in hand, Tarpals lashes out at Grievous, knocking away one of the lightsabers. The droid general replaces the lost saber with an electropole of his own and attacks with it and his other lightsaber.

Twisting out of the way of one of Grievous’ attacks, Tarpals renews his assault right into the path of the electropole Grievous holds and is impaled. Face to face, Grievous asks the Gungan how it feels to die as he pushes the pole further into the Gungan. Tarpals answer is chilling in its heroic tone: “Not… die… Sacrifice!” At this, the dying Gungan jams his electropole up and through the torso of Grievous. As Tarpals falls to the ground, more Gungan warriors assault the incapacitated Separatist general, capturing him in the process.

Tarpals and Grevious battle in the rain Photo Credit - Star Wars The Clone Wars (Season 4, Episode 4),

Tarpals and Grevious battle in the rain
Photo Credit – Star Wars The Clone Wars (Season 4, Episode 4), “Shadow Warrior”

And yet, only a short time later, Grievous is free, exchanged by Senator Padmé Amidala, and two Gungans, Boss Lyonie and Jar Jar Binks, for the Jedi Anakin Skywalker, himself a captive of the Separatists. Certainly, Padmé is torn about the decision at first, aware of what Grevious’ capture means to the war effort. But the three come to a unanimous decision to conduct the exchange because Anakin is their friend and he cannot be abandoned. In the blink of an eye, Tarpals’ sacrifice is nullified, a pointless death for the sake of nothing.

Adding insult to injury, what Tarpals did to secure the capture of Grevious isn’t even mentioned at the end of Shadow Warrior, the name for this episode from Season 4 of The Clone Wars. After the prisoner exchange, Jar Jar Binks is praised  for his role in the events that took place.

True, Jar Jar does play a critical role in the episode. First and foremost, Shadow Warrior is about what Binks does to ensure the Gungans do not march on the city of Theed, the capital of Naboo. But while Jar Jar receives praise for his actions, Tarpals’ sacrifice is flatly ignored in the waning moments of the episode. This raises a question that I simply cannot shake – why would the writers/producers/directors of The Clone Wars not provide some sense of finality for the late-General?

General Binks and Captain Tarpals prior to the Battle of Naboo Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

General Binks and Captain Tarpals prior to the Battle of Naboo
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Really, this is the issue for me, the fact that Tarpals’ sacrifice is handled with such little care. The battle between Tarpals and Grievous is exciting, his death, emotionally wrenching. In a few short seconds, Shadow Warrior offers what is so great about The Clone Wars — it provides an intense situation that hits each one of us in the gut, making us feel something for the character(s) involved. Hell, THIS is why I love Star Wars. When something emotionally upsetting takes place in Star Wars, I am drawn into the event even more. It might hurt, and the hurt might last for a while, but that is what we should expect from difficult moments in our favorite stories.

Of course, in this vein, it might be easy for some people to argue that Tarpals is an otherwise minor character in Star Wars, and I won’t deny that point. Appearing for the first time in The Phantom Menace as a Captain, Tarpals is only present in two episodes of The Clone WarsShadow Warrior and Gungan Attack. He IS a minor character in Star Wars, and his death does not carry the weight of, say, Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace. But then again, that isn’t the point. The point is that this otherwise minor character does something really REALLY big, giving his life so that the leader of the Separatist armies can be captured. Without hesitation, Tarpals does something that no Jedi was even willing to do.

In that moment, when General Tarpals’ life comes to an end as a result of his sacrifice, he becomes a major character within the context of Shadow Warrior, his sacrifice propelling the episode in a new direction. But the thing is, his sacrifice was not necessary for Grevious to be captured. The moment the battle droids are deactivated, the Gungan warriors could have overwhelmed Grevious, taking him down.

Captain Tarpals Photo Credit - Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Captain Tarpals
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Yet, this is not the decision that was reached by those in charge of the animated series and, because this is the case, Tarpals’ action HAD to weigh into the decision that Padmé, Boss Lyonie, and Jar Jar come to. One or two lines was all that was needed, one of those characters saying something, ANYTHING, about what Tarpals did to capture Grevious before deciding to exchange Grevious for Skywalker. Those three needed to deal with the weight of Tarpals’ action, but no one says anything about it.

General Tarpals may have sacrificed himself in Shadow Warrior, a noble act in every form, but that sacrifice was itself sacrificed, completely undercut when it did not factor into the remainder of the episode.

Personally, I think Tarpals deserved better. Don’t you?