This Padmé Line in ‘Revenge of the Sith’ Is a Perfect Parallel To The Current Political Climate, According to George Lucas
It’s easy to get caught up in the title Star Wars and forget that the movies aren’t actually about war. Well, they are, but from an anti-war perspective. The films always had a clear social commentary about them, thanks to George Lucas. Star Wars is more about the warning of an imperial, colonial state rather than the battles that take place in starfighters and with lightsabers. And one line spoken by Senator Padmé Amidala in Revenge of the Sith perfectly sums up how.
‘Star Wars’ has always been a commentary on anti-imperialism
In an interview for AMC with fellow filmmaker James Cameron in 2018, Lucas talked about the societal and political origins of Star Wars. Lucas explained how he came out of anthropology and focused mainly on social systems. In addition to loving the more 1984 type of science fiction, he was more interested in how people react to living in a world that is dominated by space travel and high tech equipment rather than having stories focused on those things.
Lucas also shared that Star Wars is innately anti-authoritarian with the good guys being the Rebels. Or, as Cameron points out, in modern-day they’d be known as terrorists. The first film came out in 1977 in the heat of the Vietnam War, and the Rebels were the Viet Cong.
The Rebels were fighting the largest empire in the galaxy, which the parallel would be America. “The irony of that one is in both of those, the little guys won,” Lucas said about the films and the real-life counterparts. “And the big highly technical, English Empire, the American Empire, lost. That was the whole point.”
During the interview, he said that it’s an interesting look for Americans, considering they were once the little guys fighting a massive Imperial power in the English. But now that the situation’s reversed, the history is forgotten. Even though they were the Empire in the Vietnam War.
Senator Padmé Amidala gives one of the most important lines in ‘Revenge of the Sith,’ and it parallels into real life
Lucas went on to say that even after witnessing the fall of the British and Roman Empires, and even more, America doesn’t really grasp where they currently stand. “We never got it,” Lucas said. “We never said, ‘Wait this isn’t the right thing to do.’ And we’re still struggling with it.”
When the prequels came out, the Gulf War had just ended years prior. Then the Iraq War started a year after Attack of the Clones premiered, although the writing was on the wall before then. So it’s no surprise at all that these messages against too much power were still engrained in the material.
The best example of this is when Chancellor Palpatine is making a massive speech in the Senate in Revenge of the Sith, and he’s telling the lies that the Jedi tried to stage a coup. Because of this, Palpatine says that there’s no other thing to do than create the first-ever Galactic Empire, with him as Emperor and dictator.
Senator Padmé Amidala said, “So this is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause,” as the whole Senate erupts in cheers. It’s quite haunting in that moment, and rather powerful. But it’s even more moving when you look at today’s current political climate. This isn’t far from what we had in 2018 during this interview too, which Lucas acknowledged. “We’re in the middle of it right now,” he said about the line.
Padmé’s big role in the creation of the Rebel Alliance wasn’t shown in the final film
Padmé gets a bad reputation for how her character’s role lessens with each film. While that is true, and it’s a shame that more of her political prowess isn’t shown, it is important to note that she was still a major power. Off-screen and during Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Senator Amidala was one of the best at her job.
She’s often kidnapped or at the receiving end of multiple assassination attempts, but that’s just because she was so good at getting stuff done. She was also one of the only people Palpatine was truly scared of because of her influence in the Senate and her great speaking skills.
In fact, she was one of the founding members of what would become the Rebel Alliance, along with senators Bail Organa and Mon Mothma. In deleted scenes for Revenge of the Sith, she was constantly making speeches and leading a petition of 2,000 Senators to fight for peace.
Preserving democracy was her main goal. Which is part of the reason why she brings up to Anakin that they could be on the wrong side of things if war and gaining power were all the Republic wanted. Even though Palpatine was one of her oldest mentors since he started as a Senator on his “home planet” of Naboo, she was starting to distrust him more and more. If she had survived, she would have definitely been a major part of the Rebel Alliance, which makes Leia’s involvement all the more significant.
With this line in Revenge of the Sith, Padmé not only mourns the loss of democracy within the Republic, but she also states a sobering sentiment about the current state of affairs.