Anakin and Padmé’s Relationship Was George Lucas’ Weak Point in ‘Star Wars,’ and He Was Very Aware of That
With a franchise like Star Wars, there are so many things to pack into a trilogy. From character development to conflict and storylines that make sense, some things can get left to the wayside. And Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala’s relationship in the prequels was one of those aspects.
While it’s set up enough for fans to understand their feelings for one another and their love, the actual execution of their relationship wasn’t the best. Or, at least, it wasn’t as descriptive as it needed to be for some viewers to grasp their immense bond. And George Lucas was definitely aware.
Anakin and Padmé’s love story couldn’t be as developed as it needed to be in the prequels
Anakin was just a nine-year-old boy when Padmé met him in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. He was enslaved and living on a desert planet he absolutely despised, while she was 14 and the youngest ever Queen of Naboo. Their lives were completely different, yet they had a connection to each other right away. From the start, it wasn’t romantic, even though Anakin did have a crush. But they still had a tiny bond that deepened in Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
A main part of the storyline in Attack of the Clones is their love story. By now, Anakin is 19 and Padmé is going on 25. She still sees him as that little boy, but soon finds she’s falling in love with him too. It’s all very dramatic and, of course, their love is part of Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side. But Lucas knew it was also one of the shakiest parts of his script.
“Showing how much Anakin and Padmé care for each other is one of my weak points. Expressing that is hard to do,” Lucas said in The Making of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith by J.W. Rinzler.
Lucas said that Anakin’s love for Padmé is so strong: it’s very much an “I’m so in love with you that I would do anything to save you; I’d give up everything – friends, my whole life – for you,” type of love.
“It’s really hard, in the end, to express the idea… and make that real – make that stick – and say it in two minutes, which is all the time this film has for it,” Lucas said about Episode III.
Anakin’s downfall is tragic, and Padmé falls with him
Now, the groundwork is there. As Lucas showed in the movies and said in this book, Anakin is very “emotionally attached” to people. There’s his mother and then Padmé. And then, having brutally lost his mother, he can’t bear the idea of losing his wife as well.
A lot of fans can read in between those lines, and see their progression from Episode I to Episode II. But because of the time-jump into Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and there being zero time for their relationship in that third film, it’s not as obvious to many. So while Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side is evident, that connection to Padmé just couldn’t get the treatment it deserved.
This also causes some viewers to question why Padmé couldn’t see his rising anger and pull from the Light Side. It’s obvious to the audience, but Padmé’s love and faith in her husband are so strong, she’s blindsided.
“You have a person who began so naive and idealistic. And here she is at the end of her life still idealistic,” Iain McCaig, concept artist, said in the book. “She believes her love can redeem Anakin – even at the end, she believes it.”
Their relationship is just another reason why ‘The Clone Wars’ is so important
It’s been said before, but this just proves even further why Star Wars: The Clone Wars is vital to the overall canon of the franchise. Other than the fact that the writing is excellent and the stories are important, The Clone Wars has one thing that the prequels — and every other trilogy — didn’t: time.
Over seven seasons, the series was able to unlock parts of these beloved characters that Lucas could not have done in even six movies. There were so many arcs where Padmé’s strength and political power were shown that the movies completely skimmed over. Even in The Phantom Menace, Lucas couldn’t have given the Queen of Naboo as much screentime as the several arcs The Clone Wars gave her.
Finally, fans were able to see her strong speeches and her devotion to her people and anyone suffering from injustice. And they were able to see how Anakin’s relationship with her deeply impacted them both.
There was even an arc in Season 6 where Padmé woke up a bit and saw Anakin’s rising anger and Dark Side. She pulled away and even discussed separation.
These two characters were very much a well-developed couple that had problems and could see each other’s faults. But they loved each other despite them and worked through their issues. It’s through The Clone Wars that Padmé and Anakin get their well-deserved love story.