Padme Amidala

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)

LEGO Star Wars: A Paucity of Female Minifigures

Many moons ago I published a post titled The Brick Side of the Force in which I share a snippet of my collection of Star Wars Lego sets and minifigures. As one can imagine, since publishing the piece in March 2016 I have since added a number of new sets to my collection. However, my Lego collecting has also slowed quite a bit since then for two very specific reasons. Perhaps the most obvious reason is because Lego sets are expensive and buying them, even at sale/clearance prices, adds up over time. But while money is a big reason for my Lego slow down, the other reason is the alarming reality that there is a discouraging paucity of female minifigures being created and accompanying the Star Wars sets that are released every few months.

While a number of female characters from Star Wars, human and alien alike, are certainly represented in minfigure form, The LEGO Group has otherwise not done enough to create equal representation among Star Wars minifigures. There exists an abundance of male Star Wars characters in minifigure form, but a dearth of women. As a collector of Star Wars Lego sets, but even more importantly as a man who strives to highlight and tackle the insidious ways our society and world places greater importance on men over women, I felt compelled to call attention to this issue with the hope that doing so will spark a conversation and some form of change. And, in order to shed light on this problem, it is necessary to provide numbers. It isn’t enough for me to just say “there are more male minifigures than female minifigures.” No, that just wouldn’t do. Numbers are necessary to start this conversation and highlight just how problematic this issue is, and the first set of numbers I want to share are my own.

My Collection

As of the day this post was published, my Lego Star Wars collection consists of ninety-six sets of various sizes. Out of those sets, and not counting any droids, I have a total 267 minifigures. Of those 267 minifigures, the male-to-female breakdown is as follows:

Men: 248
Women: 19

Yeah, you read that right. After buying or being gifted ninety-six Lego Star Wars sets, and out of 267 human and alien minifigures, I only have nineteen women!!! A paltry 7% of my minifigures are women and the other 93% are men!!! Allow me to break these numbers down even further…

Not including Darth Vader, I have six different versions of Anakin Skywalker in my collection but only two renditions of Padmé Amidala. I have four different versions Obi-Wan Kenobi, and two versions of Master Yoda, but two of the exact same Ahsoka Tano. And, while I am happy to have Asajj Ventress, I also have two versions of Clone Commander Gree in his Battle of Kashyyyk camouflaged armor.

I have three varieties of the Mandalorian Sabine Wren from the show Star Wars Rebels, a positive fact for sure but, then again, I also have three versions of the Jedi Knight Kanan Jarrus. While my collection includes two versions of Ezra Bridger, I only have one Hera Syndulla minifigure. I have two versions of Rey from The Force Awakens, and I happily have Maz Kanata as well, but I also have five First Order stormtrooper, all with male faces if their helmets are removed. I’ve got four mini-incarnations of Han Solo, three of Luke Skywalker, two of Chewbacca, but only one Princess Leia. Heck, if I did include droids in these numbers, I have more mini-renditions of R2-D2, C-3PO, and Chopper than of Princess Leia.

Sabine and Kanan
My three Sabine Wren minifigures with my three Kanan Jarrus minifigures.

Of my thirteen Rebel pilots, only one is a female: an A-Wing pilot. This is even more absurd when one realizes that the Rebel U-Wing Fighter (set #75155), which I have in my collection, came with a male minifigure even though the solitary U-Wing pilot we see in Rogue One is a woman! Not counting Jyn Erso, of my seven Rebel soldiers, not a single one is a generic female. I have eight Mandalorians but none are women even though some Mando warriors in The Clone Wars animated series are women. And in my collection of Jedi, the only women I have are Ahsoka Tano (whom I already mentioned), Luminara Unduli, Barris Offee, Stass Allie, and Satele (a character from The Old Republic MMO). 

Before going any farther, I am going to pause and acknowledge that this reality is partially my fault. When I began collecting Star Wars Lego sets in the year 2012, it did not occur to me at the time that the more I added to my collection, the more I was creating an astonishingly male-centric battalion of minifigures. Sets have come and gone with female minifigures that I either didn’t buy or were not gifted to me, minifigures like the Jedi Shaak Ti, the bounty hunter Sugi, and the First Order Captain Phasma. But while I am partially culpable in creating this unequal representation within my own collection, there is an even greater issue at play. Specifically, The LEGO Group just doesn’t create enough minifigures based on female Star Wars characters and there is an overemphasis placed on creating multiple versions of male figures. In the past year, I have sought to only purchase sets that include female minifigures and, to say the least, it has been really tough because Lego simply does not have enough sets that come with women. 

Shopping for Lego Sets

In February 2017, Lego unveiled new Star Wars sets on store shelves in the United States and, as a collector, the male-to-female minifigure disparity was palpable. Of the fourteen sets that arrived (not counting large-scale buildable figures), only one came with a woman: Battle of Scarif (set #75171) which includes Jyn Erso wearing her Imperial Ground Crew disguise from Rogue One. Otherwise, not a single set that arrived in stores had a female Star Wars character. Adding insult to injury, the Micro-Fighter U-Wing (set #75160) came with a male minifigure even though, again, the U-Wing pilot we encounter in Rogue One is a woman. Talk about discouraging.

But wait, it gets even worse! Of the thirty-four Star Wars Lego sets that hit store shelves in 2016, there was a total of thirteen women in minifigure form. The set Assault on Hoth (set #75098) alone comes with twelve men, Toryn Farr being the lone woman in the set and 1/13 of 2016’s female minifigures.  Additionally, it is worth mentioning that of the nine large-scale buildable figures Lego introduced in 2016, three were of female characters: Rey (#75113), Captain Phasma (#75118), and Jyn Erso (#75119).

The year 2015 gave Star Wars fans thirty-five Lego sets but only nine minifigures were women. Coming with the First Order Transport (set # 75103), Captain Phasma is intimidating in her unique chrome stormtrooper armor; however, remove her helmet and one will be disappointed to discover a solid black head without any facial features. As well, six large-scale buildable figures were also introduced in 2015 but none were of female characters from the saga. 

In 2014, thirty-two sets with minifigures were available for purchase but only two of the minifigures in 2014 were women. Two!!! Plus, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the Sandcrawler (set #75059) that arrived in 2014 includes Uncle Owen but DOES NOT include Aunt Beru. In fact, this is no different than the previous version  of the Sandcrawler (the 2005 set #10144) which also included Uncle Owen but not Aunt Beru. 

Hera and Ahsoka
2014 female minifigures: Hera Syndulla (green) and Ahsoka Tano (orange). Syndulla came with The Ghost (set #75053) and Tano with Coruscant Police Gunship (set #75046).

Twenty-nine Lego Star Wars sets hit store shelves in 2013 but just six minifigures were women. Additionally, a female Jedi padawan was included with a promotional set given to journalists at the premier of The Yoda Chronicles in May 2013.

In the year I began collecting Star Wars sets, 2012, Lego sold twenty-six different sets that contained minfigures. Yet, there were only seven women scattered among all sets. For comparisons sake, the set titled Palpatine’s Arrest (set #9526) comes with six male minifigures alone.

2011 offered nineteen Lego Star Wars sets with eight female minifigures distributed among them.

Store shelves in 2010 were stocked with seventeen Lego Star Wars sets, and out of those there were three women in minifigure form. Two of those women – Aayla Secura and Ahsoka Tano – were included with the 2010 Clone Turbo Tank (set #8098). Again, in comparison, Luke Skywalker was included in four different sets in 2010. 

Eighteen Star Wars sets were sold in 2009 with a total of five female minifigures distributed among them. It is also important to note that in 2009 Lego released six limited edition Collectible Display Sets available at San Diego Comic-Con. Each Display Set came with three minifigures apiece. Two of those Collectible Sets came with a single female each: Ahsoka Tano in one and Asajj Ventress in another.

In 2008, the year The Clone Wars movie and television series debuted there were sixteen Lego sets and five minifigures that were women. Of those five female minifigures, one was Juno Eclipse, a character from The Force Unleashed, a popular video game which also debuted in 2008.

And before 2008, from 1999 when Lego first introduced Star Wars sets up to 2007, there was, so far as I can tell, ninety-seven sets sold in the United States that contained minifigures. Yet, out of those ninety-seven Star Wars sets, there were only twelve female minifigures spread among twelve different sets. Once again, by way of comparison, over that same eight year span, Han Solo was included in nine sets, Anakin Skywalker in eleven sets, Obi-Wan Kenobi in twelve sets, and Luke Skywalker in twenty sets.

Now, to arrive at these numbers, I relied on two websites, Lego.com and Brickset.com, while also falling back upon my many long hours of shopping for Lego Star Wars sets. This being said, I readily admit that I may have miscounted in some way, shape, or form as I calculated these numbers. And, if so, I am happy to fix any miscalculation. Plus, I should also mention that I kept my count strictly focused on the sets that reflect a scene or vehicle from Star Wars, and which also come with minifigures. In short, I did not consider any of minifigure key chains or magnets, or count any of the Lego Star Wars books/video games that may come with minifigures. Nor did I include any of the polybags that only include a minifigure (none of the minifigure polybags have ever, so far as I can tell, come with a female character anyway). I did, however, include the annual Lego Star Wars Advent Calendars in my count. The first arriving in 2011, each Advent Calendar comes with a handful of minifigures; however, through 2016, not a single female minifigure has been included in any Advent Calendar.  

Clarifications being stated, it is safe to say that The LEGO Group has done an outstandingly terrible job of offering female minifigures in Lego sets. With Star Wars popularity growing by leaps and bounds thanks to Disney’s 2012 takeover of the franchise, Lego stands to profit even more in the years ahead from the sale of Star Wars sets. Yet, the utter lack of female representation in the form of minifigures, dating back to 1999 when Star Wars sets were first offered, is an egregious reality that absolutely needs to change going forward. While Lego has certainly offered a handful of more women in the past couple of years, the lack of women should stunt any applause The Lego Group deserves. Even more must be done to fix this gender imbalance, and as a fan of Star Wars and of Lego, I am prepared to stop purchasing Lego Star Wars sets and spend my money elsewhere if the imbalance is not adequately corrected.

Fixing the Problem: Part I

So what could be done to rectify the gender disparity? Well, for starters, The LEGO Group should stop thinking about the Lego Star Wars brand being made solely for young and growing boys. In a response to my inquiry about the imbalance of male-to-female minifigures in their Star Wars sets, a customer service agent with Lego replied by stating:

Our research and experience shows that girls and boys experiment with their gender identity while they play, and they often tend to express themselves differently. Statistically, play themes like LEGO® Star Wars™ have more fans among boys and LEGO Friends is more popular with girls. Based on this research, we tailor our advertisements to a target audience of builders, which is reflected in the resulting print or media campaign.

I certainly do not deny that boys and girls express themselves differently when they play with Lego sets, or any toys for that matter. Nor can I speak to the research that The LEGO Group conducts in their product testing as I am not privy to the way their research unfolds, or the data they collect. But I can say this: the notion that “play themes like LEGO® Star Wars™ have more fans among boys” might be verified by research but it is not in any way a reason to exclude minifigures that reflect the multitude of human and alien women in Star Wars. It might be more boys gravitate to Lego Star Wars than girls, but if that is so then Lego should be doing even more, not less, to incorporate female characters in Star Wars sets so that young boys, as they play, can be empowered by, and grow in respect for, the women in their every-day lives. 

And so, the importance of fixing this issue is greater than just ensuring that I, as an adult collector, have more women among my minifigures. No, this issue is truly about values, about the way we teach children, and particularly young boys, to respect and admire women. As well, it is also about showing young girls who enjoy Lego Star Wars that the women they encounter in the saga – all women, not just Princess Leia, Jyn Erso, or Rey – have value and are critical components of the galaxy far, far away. Through the power of play, The Lego Group has the capacity to help boys and girls alike be positively impacted by female Star Wars characters, not at the expense of male characters, but in tandem with them. And, it is my hope, that The LEGO Group considers, and enacts, new ways to incorporate Star Wars women into their popular toy sets.

Fixing the Problem: Part II

So, what are some ways and steps that The Lego Group could start taking to close the gender gap among Star Wars minifigures? One very small but incredibly important step is when a set is created which reflects a scene/vehicle in Star Wars, female characters should never be replaced by a man. That both U-Wings come with a male pilot who replaces the female pilot from Rogue One is not only disappointing, it’s just pathetic. Either someone at Lego didn’t do their homework, not realizing the pilot in the film was a woman, or a conscious decision was made to replace her with a man. Regardless as to how it happened, it shouldn’t have happened, period.

Lego Soldiers
In Battlefront, the Rodian (green) and Duros (blue) are playable characters, both of which are male. The female alien one can play as is a Twi’lek.

While honoring female characters by not replacing them with men, The LEGO Group can also include more women by identifying when/where female characters show up throughout the series and, in turn, ensuring that they are included with sets. Assault on Hoth could have very easily included Princess Leia in her Hoth outfit, and Aunt Beru should have accompanied Uncle Owen with the Lego Sandcrawler(s). Or, consider the two smaller sets that reflect the popular Battlefront video game: Rebel Alliance Battle Pack (set #75133) and Galactic Empire Battle Pack (set #75134). In Battlefront, one can play as a male OR female character, changing at random whenever one chooses. This being the case, there was absolutely no reason for female soldiers to be excluded from either battle pack. A female trooper could have easily replaced one of the four Rebel soldiers, while the Imperial technician in the Empire pack could have been a woman. When Battlefront II arrives, and if Lego plans on creating new Battle Packs or sets based on the upcoming game, I hope that the Imperial protagonist of the game not only receives her own figure, but that more women are included as minifigures as well to honor the games gender diversity. 

Seventh-Sister
The Seventh-Sister.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Rebels Season 2, Episode 5: “Always Two There Are”

My hope is also that Lego not only finds ways to include more generic females in sets – pilots, soldiers, cantina patrons, etc. – but that they additionally create minifigures based on female characters who appear in the two popular animated series. While Duchess Satine of Mandalore and Mother Talzin were, at times, critical to the plot of The Clone Wars animated series, neither have ever been given minifigure treatment. Nor has Bo-Katan, the female Mandalorian warrior who was part of the Death Watch terrorist group, although Pre Vizsla, leader of the Death Watch, has been rendered in minifigure form. Additionally, Jedi Master Adi Gallia, a member of the Jedi High Council, and Jedi Librarian Jocasta Nu, are great female characters from The Clone Wars who could become minifigures. As for the show Star Wars Rebels, while the Imperial Inquistor known as the Fifth Brother is included in Captain Rex’s AT-TE (set #75157), his popular counterpart, the Seventh Sister, is nowhere to be found. Likewise, while the popular Grand Admiral Thrawn accompanies The Phantom (set #75170), Governor Arindha Pryce, who appears in Rebels Season Three, has yet to become a minifigure but would be perfect addition in a set based on the show.

The designers at Lego could easily create minifigures for Duchess Satine, Mother Talzin, Bo-Katan, Adi Gallia, Jocasta Nu, the Seventh Sister, and Governor Arindha Pryce, including them with sets that reflect their canonical endeavors. In turn, as Mother Talzin is the leader of the Nightsisters, it would be equally appropriate for a Nightsister Battle Pack to be sold that contains a handful of the Dathomiri witches. It would also be appropriate for The LEGO Group to branch out into other mediums of Star Wars storytelling, such as novels and comics, to create more female minifigures. Women such as Grand Admiral Rae Sloane, Norra Wexley, Everi Chalis, the Jedi Depa Billapa, Dr. Aphra, Sana Starros, Ciena Ree, Evaan Verlaine, and the Zabrak Jas Emari, and many more could be rendered as minifigures to be sold individually in polybags or with new sets based on these other storytelling mediums.

AuntBeru
Aunt Beru deserves a Lego Minifigure
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Of course, the foundation of Star Wars are the array of movies that fans of all ages have grown to love, and while the franchise needs to continue to do a better job of promoting female characters on screen, The Lego Group should never-the-less continue to find ways to incorporate women from the movies in sets and polybags far more often. Main characters like Princess Leia, Padme Amidala, Rey, and Jyn Erso will undoubtedly continue to given minifigure treatment, although my hope is they will appear with more frequency. Yet, I also want to see other women from the films, supporting and/or minor characters being given minifigure treatment more often or for the first time. Mon Mothma, Captain Phasma, Maz Kanata, Shmi Skywalker, Bazine Netal, Sy Snootles, Jessika Pava, and, of course, Aunt Beru are just a handful of female characters who could be included in Lego sets that reflect the canon of Star Wars films.

Finally, in wanting The Lego Group to create more minifigures based on the human and alien women in Star Wars, I also want more Star Wars stories to incorporate women in leading, secondary, and background roles. Certainly, the franchise has done a good job at this in a number of ways, but more work still needs to be done. As a lifelong fan of Star Wars, I will continue to advocate for women to shine within the Star Wars canon, something that all Star Wars fans should demand. At the same time, as an avid consumer of Lego Star Wars, I will continue to advocate for Star Wars women to be given greater treatment as minifigures. 


If you are passionate about this topic, and wish to see more female Star Wars characters turned into Lego minifigures, then follow the link below and contact The Lego Group.

Lego Customer Service

 

The Death of Padmé Amidala

A friend recently shared an article with me which speculates on why Padmé Amidala dies at the end of Revenge of the Sith. In this article, author Joseph Tavano goes to great lengths to argue that Padmé did not die from a “broken heart.” Instead, Tavano presents the thesis that the reason for Padmé’s death is that Darth Sidious was quite literally ripping the Living Force from her. For the sake of brevity, and because I do not want to take it upon myself to rehash the entire article, I suggest you read the piece for yourself to have a fuller appreciation for Mr. Tavano idea. You can find the article here: Padmé Didn’t Die of a Broken Heart. And, in case you want to re-watch the scene in which Padmé dies, here it is:

When my friend – Michael Miller from the blog My Comic Relief – shared the article with me, it was actually the second (or third, or fourth) time I had been presented with this particular answer to Padmé’s curious death at the end of Revenge of the Sith. In fact, I had already read this particular article before and had also engaged in similar conversations about this possibility in the past with other friends. Still, even though I had already read the piece and reflected on this possibility, since Michael was sharing the article with me, I thought I would re-read it and give him my thoughts. And, because I love talking Star Wars (I am the Imperial Talker after all), I figured I would share these same thoughts with y’all.

As I told Miller, I really have no problem with this particular theory regarding Padmé’s death. In fact, I find it entirely plausible and perhaps likely. The thought that Darth Sidious – a powerful Sith Lord with arcane abilities that go beyond reason – could, from a galactic distance, siphon the Force from a living being is a tantalizing thought. After all, in The Clone Wars episode “The Lost One” Sidious is able to Force choke his apprentice, Darth Tyrannus, although they are separated by many light-years. In turn, when one also throws into the conversation the tale of Darth Plagueis the Wise- the Dark Lord of the Sith who we know was Sidious’ Master – and Plagueis’ ability to manipulate the Force to keep individuals from dying, the possibility that Sidious did the same with thing with Vader, at Padmé’s expense, grows stronger. It is true, of course, that Sidious tells Anakin Skywalker (after the young Jedi pledges allegiance to the Sith Lord) that “to cheat death is a power only one [Plagueis] has achieved.” However, it is also perfectly reasonable that this is yet another moment in which Sidious manipulates Anakin, withholding the truth that Sidious, having learned from his own Master, already knows how to keep individuals alive. In this vein, while on the surface Sidious purports to be ignorant of the ability, this would merely serve as misdirection, pointing blame for Padmé’s death away from Sidious and placing it squarely on Anakin/Vader’s shoulders. Sidious does, after all, tell the newly minted Sith Lord that “in your [Vader’s] anger, you killed her,” yet another possible example of Sidious toying with the mind of the already tormented man.

youkilledher
Sidious looks at Vader after telling the new Sith Lord that Vader’s anger killed Padmé.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

I would suggest, though, that alternative possibilities exist regarding Padme’s death, possibilities that stray from Mr. Tavano’s piece. For example, while Tavano adamantly opposes the notion that Padmé died from a broken heart, I actually have no personal qualms with it. Broken heart syndrome is a real medical issue, and while it is often not fatal, it can in some instances lead to complications which might result in death. This is not to suggest that Padmé actually died from broken heart syndrome, merely that it is a possibility I am not opposed to entertaining.

Further, I have also wondered whether Padmé died as a result of her connection with Anakin through the Force, a connection built upon the love the two shared. This is not to suggest Anakin-turned-Vader willingly or knowingly killed Padmé, but instead that as Anakin was on the cusp of death, the Living Force in Padmé flowed away from her to her beloved. While Padmé may not be a “Force-user” in the way Anakin is, she is never-the-less intrinsically connected to the mystical energy field; she is, as Yoda would say, a “luminous being.” And so, I cannot help but wonder if the reason Padmé lost the will to live, as the medical droid explains in the scene, was because in her final moments she was quite literally willing Anakin to live, intentionally passing the Living Force within her to him. In this way, it was Padmé – and not some outside presence like Sidious – who chose to sacrifice herself to sustain Anakin. Like I said, it’s an idea that I have considered, and perhaps it’ll be one I develop as a post down the road. 

In the end, when it comes to Padmé’s death, I am perfectly fine with no official or objective explanation ever being given. While I am sure there is some very clear “Star Warsie” reason for her dying, I find it personally unnecessary to know with any certainty why she died. Honestly, I think it is better this way. Leaving her death unresolved opens the door for the imagination to fill in the gaps, allowing individuals like Tavano – and you and I – to come up ideas and theories about why Padmé died. That being said, leave a comment and tell me what idea(s) and theories you have about Padmé’s curious death in Revenge of the Sith


Check out these other posts about Padmé Amidala:

The Funeral of Padmé Amidala

Star Wars: Padmé

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 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

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?

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.